In the context of the poem After Blenheim by Robert Southey, what special significance do the adjectives ‘young’ and ‘little’ have?
Now tell us what ’twas all about,”
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
In the above lines, the poet has used the adjectives ‘young’ and ‘little’ to describe Peterkin and Wilhelmine respectively. The poet reflects upon the zeal and enthusiasm associated with young age. The curiosity to know everything and ability to question things are peculiar qualities of kids which fade away with growing age. Moreover, their minds are not yet biased with the propaganda of war that was indoctrinated in the common people. So, they can think freely and raise questions against the validity of war, as we can see in the later part of the poem.
The adjectives young and little are important to highlight the innocence and purity of Peterkin and Wilhelmine. It is through their innocence that the poet has condemned the war.