Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind

Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind.
Because the lover threw wild hands toward the sky
And the affrighted steed ran on alone,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment,
Little souls who thirst for fight,
These men were born to drill and die.
The unexplained glory flies above them,
Great is the Battle-God, great, and his Kingdom –
A field wher a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button
On the bright splendid shroud of your son,
Do not weep.
War is kind.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind

36 Comments

  1. BNA says:

    For those who are unfamiliar with the historical context of this poem, Crane released it (in a novel with a series of other “lines”) in 1899 after acting as a journalist for the Spanish-American War. Mustard gas was not used in warfare at the time, but yellow fever was prominent. The lines about the father who “tumbled in the yellow trenches, raged at his breast, gulped and died” can also relate to this disease. Because some of its symptoms include arrhythmia, or heart dysfunction, and seizures, yellow fever could easily cause someone to “rage at his breast”. Crane is renowned for his realistic war fiction and poetry, and this satirical piece is, in my opinion, one of his greatest.

  2. Steve says:

    This poem… is what I am studing in class write now. according to the teacher, this poem is about the Civil War, for those who were curious about it.

  3. Joe says:

    With all the secrets the government keeps, mabye mustard gas actually WAS being used but we were kept in the dark about it.

  4. Cynthia says:

    This poem makes good use of the difference between the “speaker” and the “author”. The speech may be irony, rather than sarcasm, since the speaker seems to be trying to comfort the maiden/babe/mother. However, the imagery suggests something different altogether. While the “speaker” is telling them not to cry, the author supplies grotesque imagery that portrays the horrors of war. In stanzas 2 and 4, and a bit in the last stanza, the author also shows some of the archetypal glory of war. This poem displays the initial idea of war, and the “new” idea of war, after people have been able to experience the loss and horror that comes with it.

  5. Astara says:

    The poem is written in a way that is sort of bitter, like he says that war is kind is the same a abused person saying there abuser is kind

  6. Wes Rhodes says:

    Mustard gas was not around yet (or atleast not yet used in war)… Written in 1899

  7. Mr. C says:

    The tone clearly is sarcastic. Of course, ironic and paridoxical poetic devices are employed as well throughout the piece by the poet, but his tone is undoubtedly sarcastic.

    Also, whoever said this poem could be interpreted as a satire is right. It uses sarcasm and irony to deride a traditional belief of war (human folly). Thus, it can be interpreted as satire.

  8. Drake says:

    Come on dude…the comment below… Stephen Crane’s tone is sarcasm duh… he does a great job describing how inglorious war really is by his sarcastic tone… come on be intelligent…just read the poem over to see what I mean…

  9. Ryan Walters says:

    crane really does a poor job of showing his feelings toward war. he says “do not weep, war is kind”, its telling the daughter dont cry, because losing a family member or 2, or 3 is natural in war. but then reading the rest of the poem strickly says war is tragic, frightful, and death is a great fear.

  10. Jplucky says:

    This poem is great, it makes me think of today with the war going on.

  11. Pat says:

    This poem goes back and forth between the view of the civilian and the soldier. The maiden, the soldier, the child, the soldier, and the mother.
    The poem shows the excuses we give to those left behind and what that the soldiers are told. They died for the greater good, they died for glory, they died well – in excellence and virtue. “The unexplained glory flies above them…point for them the virtue of slaughter, make plain to them the excellence of killing…” Soldiers go believing that they are doing what’s best and for glory and to be a hero. But the only kingdom is that of the war god, his subjects a thousand corpses. At the end all this excuses are for naught, they’re still just corpses. All they leave behind are the tears of those who loved them.
    So is war worth it?

  12. kyle says:

    The poem War is Kind, is a great poem, and you could say that the poem is ironic, but I think that you could give a better argument about how the poem is more sarcastic. But overall the poem is a great poem.

  13. Natalie says:

    I agree with those who described Crane’s poem as ironic more than sarcastic, but a paradox seems to much to describe it. Oh, and I’m a sophomore too! Poem of choice for school projects I guess :p. But seriously, I really like this poem and admire Crane greatly for his ability to express his opinions so effectively.

  14. Roland says:

    U Rock War Is Kind! It Builds Empires And Destroys Nations!

  15. Krystle says:

    Why are some calling it a novel?? It’s a poem. I must agree with Wendy. Sarcasim is completely the wrong word to describe what Stephen Crane has done with this poem. Irony and paradox are much more easily supported throughout the poem than sarcasism. OH and just because I can, I’m a sophmore in high school and understood that he didn’t like war before I even read these comments to help me get a deeper meaning of the poem. Thanks Wendy you were alot of help!

  16. Mike says:

    In response to Sanchez, this poem is not simply meant to comfort the loved ones of those that die in war. Crane uses his words to show that there is no comfort for these women because there husbands, sons, and fathers died for something as futile as a war. The only word to describe Crane’s intent is sarcasm. He shows no sympathy for these women but raher mocks their loss, not because he does not care, but because their men died needlessly.

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