Let not young souls be smothered out before
They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.
It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull,
Its poor are ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed.
Not that they starve; but starve so dreamlessly,
Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap,
Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve,
Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Vachel Lindsay's poem The Leaden-Eyed


  1. frank simari says:

    having been an educator and a parent, i have always been one to let the spirit roam, for that is where civilization advances. we must allow free thinking and expression in the young as that is where the foundation for invention comes about. it is sad that so many young people are contained in the world of TV, video games etc., that they fail to grow in their own thoughts. when i was young, a long long time ago, there was no TV and of course, no computers. the youngsters made up their own games with their own rules. they expanded on the rules as was necessary. we had little ditties we used to humm and sing. i do not hear most children doing that sort of thing. i hope i am wrong, but the present world is leading most (not all) into the dullness described by this poem.

  2. Ilene Southworth says:

    This has been one of my favorite poems for a long time…..conjures up so well, the followers, the rear guard, the left behinds and so forth and those who plod along because it has always been that way.

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