Once there came a man
Who said,
“Range me all men of the world in rows.”
And instantly
There was terrific clamour among the people
Against being ranged in rows.
There was a loud quarrel, world-wide.
It endured for ages;
And blood was shed
By those who would not stand in rows,
And by those who pined to stand in rows.
Eventually, the man went to death, weeping.
And those who staid in bloody scuffle
Knew not the great simplicity.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem Once there came a man


  1. Kimberly Freel says:

    this poem is about men climbing out of a trent into repeating machine gun fire(a new invention) world war #1

  2. Zoe says:

    This poem is an illustration of not only the rebellious tendencies we tend to show when asked to do the simplest of things, but also the insensitivity that some people have. Even while not having real reason or need for all men of the world to stand in rows, he asked it of them knowing what could possibly come from his asking. He knew that some would object and some would flat-out refuse, and yet still made his demand in spite of what he knew could come of it.

  3. Ethan says:

    Bean and Toes and Beans and Toes

  4. Sally says:

    This poem reminds me of a quote that I heard once. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. That just means that don’t make a huge deal (mountain) out of something that isn’t a big deal at all (molehill).

  5. Joshua says:

    I agree with Chris completely. Such an issue of standing in rows can be solved without such stupidity and bloodshed, yet those who fight do not see this, and continue to fight for years without any kind of enlightenment to found.

  6. chris says:

    In my view i see this as the way and thinking of Hitler

  7. marty fry says:

    To MIKE from Canada: Interesting Observation. I found this site because of his connection to T. Roosevelt. I didn’t realize he was a poet also. Marty

  8. hotbutteredtoast says:

    this poem is terrific as so many of his are. ^_^

  9. Ellen says:

    This poem to me uas about not conforming to what we are told to do…by anything government or even our parents.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with both of you. this is the first time i read this poem and it is very true. Sometimes it sadddens me that we cant just realize the things that aren’t big enough to fight over. Just because we dont agree to something or we dont like it does not mean there needs to be blood shed!

  11. Mike says:

    I agree with Chris…the final line about seeing the simplicity though adds an element to it that Chris excluded. The simplicity is that they have placed themselves in rows by saying that some fight against it and others fight for it.

  12. Chris says:

    This poem shows how man fights over the simplist of things. And how we do not see how stupid it is.

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