What moral or message does the poet Robert Southey convey in his poem After Blenheim? Or, What is the central theme of the poem?
Southey’s poem After Blenheim is an anti-war poem. He is ironic here to present the fact that people in general glorify war and war-heroes without knowing what good it does to mankind or why a victory is called ‘great’ or ‘famous’.
In the poem we see that Old Kaspar repeatedly mentions the Battle of Blenheim as a great and famous victory but he does not know the reason. He has a romantic view of war even after receiving the sufferings himself during the war and after thousands of killings. This is all about the hollow romantic ideals regarding war that warmongers have created very carefully in people’s minds. Southey’s poem is a protest against the heroic ideals of war.
So, if you want a one-liner as a moral of the poem, here it is — “War can never be great.”
The poem gives a strong message that war is not an option and nothing ever justifies the loss of lives and destruction caused by the war and rather we can say that war doesn’t makes a country to win or lose, it causes destruction between the two.
Horrors Of War:
‘After Blenheim’ uses an ironic structure to bring home the idea that war is horrible. Thousands of persons are killed, wounded or maimed. Houses are burnt down. People become homeless. Ordinary soldiers lay down their lives. War-Heroes are praised. Victories are extolled.
Another theme that the poem seems to project is the difference between the viewpoints of the old and the new generation. The Old men like Kaspar have no fresh thinking over almost everything. They are conventional and undaring. They are mostly guided by blind patriotism.