Siegfried Sassoon is one of the greatest Soldier Poets of the First World War. He wrote his best antiwar poetry while fighting during the Great war. His poetry is a bitter criticism of the barbarous war, rotten naked corpses, the mud and the rats, the foul dug-outs and the mutilated, nerve-shattered survivors. His poetry is a very inspiring plea for peace in our world afflicted with war in Iraq and Afghanistan and several other countries nowadays.
But before entering the war, Sassoon was very romantic by nature and devoted to pursuits like hunting and cricket. Edmund Blunden aptly points out:
The fact is that this “fox-hunting” man in his youth was aware of nothing but the quickening of his impulses, the fitness of his body, the exhilaration of gallops and jumps. It is fully substantiated by his prose “Memoir of a Fox-Hunting Man”, about which Coley Taylor aptly remarks: “It is worth-reading, if only to discover how little an average American knows about horses.”
Even while riding his lusty horse in a point-to-point he was a poet: he lived poetry before he was a writer of it.
None heeded him; he choked
And fought the flapping veils of smothering gloom,
Lost in a blurred confusion of yells and groans
Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned,
Bleeding to death. The counter-attack had failed.
In the Memoirs we don’t find the ironical and flaming individual who wrote “Counter-Attack.” But, surely, it reveals the uneasiness in the poet’s soul which was not consoled by the Easter Sunday, while he was ‘standing in that dismal ditch.” The Spectator reviewer of his “Memoirs of a Fox-hunting Man” has aptly remarked: “We have met no book which exposes more pitilessly the wickedness of warfare.”