Poetry Forum Areas

Introduce Yourself

New to PoetrySoup? Introduce yourself here. Tell us something about yourself.

Looking for a Poem

Can't find a poem you've read before? Looking for a poem for a special person or an occasion? Ask other member for help.

Writing Poetry

Ways to improve your poetry. Post your techniques, tips, and creative ideas how to write better.

High Critique

For poets who want unrestricted constructive criticism. This is NOT a vanity workshop. If you do not want your poem seriously critiqued, do not post here. Constructive criticism only. PLEASE Only Post One Poem a Day!!!

How do I...?

Ask PoetrySoup Members how to do something or find something on PoetrySoup.


You have an ad blocker! We understand, but...

PoetrySoup is a small privately owned website. Our means of support comes from advertising revenue. We want to keep PoetrySoup alive, make it better, and keep it free. Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on PoetrySoup. See how to enable ads while keeping your ad blocker active. Also, did you know you can become a PoetrySoup Lifetime Premium Member and block ads forever...while getting many more great features. Take a look! Thank you!

An Old Twenty-Third Man

by
 “Is that the Three-and-Twentieth, Strabo mine, 
Marching below, and we still gulping wine?” 
From the sad magic of his fragrant cup 
The red-faced old centurion started up, 
Cursed, battered on the table.
“No,” he said, “Not that! The Three-and-Twentieth Legion’s dead, Dead in the first year of this damned campaign— The Legion’s dead, dead, and won’t rise again.
Pity? Rome pities her brave lads that die, But we need pity also, you and I, Whom Gallic spear and Belgian arrow miss, Who live to see the Legion come to this, Unsoldierlike, slovenly, bent on loot, Grumblers, diseased, unskilled to thrust or shoot.
O, brown cheek, muscled shoulder, sturdy thigh! Where are they now? God! watch it struggle by, The sullen pack of ragged ugly swine.
Is that the Legion, Gracchus? Quick, the wine!” “Strabo,” said Gracchus, “you are strange tonight.
The Legion is the Legion; it’s all right.
If these new men are slovenly, in your thinking, God damn it! you’ll not better them by drinking.
They all try, Strabo; trust their hearts and hands.
The Legion is the Legion while Rome stands, And these same men before the autumn’s fall Shall bang old Vercingetorix out of Gaul.

Poem by
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - An Old Twenty-Third ManEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...


Top Robert Graves Poems

Analysis and Comments on An Old Twenty-Third Man

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem An Old Twenty-Third Man here.