Were the skulls all common? What is its significance? Where could many of them be found and why? Poem After Blenheim by Robert Southey.
In Southey’s poem “After Blenheim”, the skulls of the dead soldiers are presented to bring out the pity of war. Here the skulls are all common — ‘large and smooth and round’ — as the poet repeats it in the second stanza. It has been many years since the battle was fought there and the skulls are worn out by the forces of nature and thus made to look similar. All are now smooth and round.
That was so large, and smooth, and round.
Many of those skulls, as Old Kaspar says it, are to be found in the garden and nearby field. Kaspar finds those when he ploughs the field. This is because thousands of warriors were killed in the Battle of Blenheim and their bodies lay there ‘rotting in the sun’.
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!