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Dulce et Decorum Est

Grades 6-8 | Analysis | Source-Based

Source Lexile®: NP

Learning Standards



Prompt: In “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Who’s for the Game?” each poet presents a strong point of view about war.  Write an essay comparing how each poet develops the point of view and what effect each poem is intended to have on the reader. Use textual evidence from both poems to help develop your response. 


Your response will be scored on how well you: 

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the ideas of the text 
  • Use evidence from the text to help develop and support your ideas
  • Organize your response in a logical manner
  • Demonstrate an appropriate writing style through the use of precise word choice and varied sentences
  • Use standard conventions for writing 




Source 1

“Who’s for the Game?” was written to spur young men to join the war efforts.

"Who's for the Game?" by Jessie Pope 


Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played,

The red crashing game of a fight?

Who’ll grip and tackle the job unafraid?

And who thinks he’d rather sit tight?

Who’ll toe the line for the signal to ‘Go!’?

Who’ll give his country a hand?

Who wants a turn to himself in the show?

And who wants a seat in the stand?

Who knows it won’t be a picnic –not much–

Yet eagerly shoulders a gun?

Who would much rather come back with a crutch

Than lie low and be out of the fun?

Come along, lads –

But you’ll come on all right –

For there’s only one course to pursue,

Your country is up to her neck in a fight,

And she’s looking and calling for you.




Source 2

Dulce et Decorum Est” was written in contrast to “Who’s for the Game?

"Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen 


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we curse through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, 

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling 

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling 

And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. 

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, 

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.


In all my dreams before my helpless sight

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace 

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 

His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est 

Pro patria mori. ¹


1Literal translation: It is sweet and right to die for your country.







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