Lament, by F.S Flint
The young men of the world
are condemned to death.
They have been called up to die
For the crime of their fathers.

The young men of the world,
The growing, ripening fruit,
Have been torn from their branches,
While the memory of the blossom
Is sweet in women's hearts;
They have been cast for a cruel purpose
Into the mashing-press and furnace.

The young men of the world
Look into each other's eyes,
And read there the same words:
"Not yet! Not yet!
But soon perhaps, and perhaps certain."

The young men of the world
No longer possess the road:
The road possesses them.
They no longer inherit the earth:
The earth inherits them.
They are no longer the masters of fire:
Fire is their master;
They serve him, he destroys them.
They no longer rule the waters:
The genius of the air
Has contrived a new terror
That rends them into pieces.

The young men of the world
Are encompassed with death
He is all about them
In a circle of fire and bayonets.

Weep, weep, o women,
And old men break your hearts.

Breakdown of “Lament”, by F.S. Flint


A lament is an expression of grief. A poem or song that expresses grief.

Theme – Flint’s theme is an expression of grief at the waste of the soldiers’ lives. This is a piece filled with deep sadness, at the irony that: no matter how “good” our youth are, how “good” their morals and values are, they will still NOT INHERIT THE EARTH.


Tone – The tone of this poem is one of deep sadness at the waste of human life. The tone of its language has religious allusions/overtones (quality or meaning) to it as it has echoes back to the bible’s Matthew 5.5 eg. It is an expression of grief.
In Mathew 5:5 it says: that if you follow the path of the righteous and the word of God then you will prosper.
It follows the Victorian Era’s view that a benevolent God will look after the righteous people of the world; as the British were doing so well with the growth of their economy and Empire, they considered they represented “the righteous”. This was helped by social Darwinism: the transmission of the theory of evolution “the survival of the fittest” to societies throughout the world that were “rising above others” in the world – the British. So religiously and scientifically they considered themselves to be on the side of “right”.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. …..

But, as Flint points out, this religious belief, or the Victorian belief that the hero will always win, is not true for the young soldiers, even if they are British, righteous, morally upstanding, fit, brave or smart.
Type of diction: romantic, classical and “lofty” (impressively high, showing high ideals or moral principles.)
The young men of the world – all men

Are condemned to death - all facing the gallows

They have been called up to die
For the crime of their fathers – the stupid war brought about by the army, navy, technological and Empire rivalry of the worlds adult political leaders.

The young men of the world
The growing, ripening fruit – Flint uses metaphor to compare the youth going to war to a potential crop of fruit – he does this in order to show the potential of the young men

Have been torn from their branches – Flint uses metaphor to compare the way that the young men have been killed off or cut down by the weapons of war, to fruit being prematurely pulled from a tree and left on the ground to waste. He does this in order to show that these young men had not yet reached their “ripeness” or reached their prime when they could have jobs, make families and homes.

While the memory of the blossom
Is sweet in women’s hearts;
Is sweet in women’s hearts;
- Flint uses metaphor to compare the soldiers’ sweethearts’ memories of them, with blossom. He does this in order to show that their love, relationships and potential for love was just at the beginning stages. Just “promises of things to come.”

They have been cast for a cruel purpose – Flint uses metaphor to compare the way the young men’s lives have been “used” with the way people get “roles” in plays or metal machinery gets “shaped” or “cast” in iron furnaces and moulds to become shapes. He does this order to show that the young men are just being used for cruelty. This is in contrast to how they would have been used for LOVE by their sweethearts. So Flint also uses the FEATURE OF STRUCTURE to show this CONTRAST.

Into the mashing-press and furnace – Flint uses metaphor to compare the action of fighting in Western Front trench warfare to a machine that mashes up things or pulps them. Alternatively he compares the battles to hot fires, used to melt steel.

The young men of the world
Look into each other’s eyes
And read there the same words:
Not yet! Not yet! – these young men read the fear in each others’ eyes and don’t want to die just yet.

But soon perhaps, and perhaps certain – Flint is pointing out through this oxymoron, that they may get their minds ready for dying soon, and that their death is a certainty.

The young men of the world
No longer posses the road
The road possesses them. Flint wants to show that these young men have had their futures taken out of their hands. Others decide the road their future will travel.

They no longer inherit the earth:
The earth inherits them. Flint uses repetition to emphasise the idea that the young men’s futures are out of their control, and that they will no longer go ahead and procreate, use and spread across the land. But they will end up becoming part of the mud.

They are no longer the masters of fire:
Fire is their master:
They serve him, he destroys them. – Flint points out that the soldiers no longer contain fire for their purposes. The fire that they meet in battle tears their flesh apart and burns them.
They no longer rule the waters:
The genius of the air
Has contrived a new terror
That rends them into pieces. Here Flint is referring to the use of fixed wing bi-planes and the men using machine guns out of them. Nowhere was safe from being rent (split or torn) by the machine guns firing from the air. It also refers to the mustard gas used to burn the lungs, throats and eyes of soldiers.

The young men of the world
Are encompassed with death
He is all about them
In a circle of fire and bayonets. –Flint uses personification to give “death” human qualities. It has the ability to surround, crowd and encompass people with its teeth of bayonets and fire.

Weep, weep, o women,
And old men break your hearts. – Flint finishes his poem “Lament” with the full force of pity that the poetry form of a lament, has. He is referring to the mothers, fathers and families of those soldiers who are killed in war. He is expressing THEIR grief and sadness.