Talk:Poems by Wilfred Owen/Spring Offensive

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In every other source I have the fifth stanza appears as:


"Of them who running on that last high place

"Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up

"On the hot blast and fury of hell's upsurge,

"Or plunged and fell away past this world's verge,

"Some say God caught them even before they fell."


If the poem exists in more than one version I would like some discussion.

-John Fluker

I emailed Khaldei (talkcontribs) when you first asked the question here, requesting more info regarding provenance of this text, but I havent heard back yet. I suspected that our text came from Project Gutenberg, but that edition matches your text above. I have also checked a few online editions, and they do match your fifth stanza above as well [1][2][3][4][5] , possibly because they have taken the text from the gutenberg etext.
There are also a lot of online sources that contain "Breasted the surf of bullets, or went up", with this one being the most useful, as it provides page scans of the manuscript. The fifth stanza is here, and it shows "Leapt to swift unseen bullets" struck, with something like "Breasted the surf of bullets" written above it. There are also five Google Book matches for the phrase "Breasted the surf of bullets", which might be of use, as they all appear to be related to this work.
I would like to see which edition first went to print, as the manuscript may have been modified after that time. There are a number of digitised books on archive.org that contain the works of Wilfred Owen; I think we need to look at "Poems"[6][7], which is probably the edition used for the gutenberg edition.
One source gives a different date and a bit of either additional material or analysis[8], it is a bit hard to determine what part of that is printed, and what has been added in recent times.
Also of interest, Here the poem is compared to Into Battle, by Julian Grenfell (1888 - 1915 : w:Julian Grenfell). John Vandenberg (chat) 01:19, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Hello. Wow, I really don't remember which text I used when I transcribed this poem. It was a while ago, and my memory has definitely cleared a bit since then. I will say though that whatever the decision comes to, I won't raise a stink. I was just doing my part to get some data in Wikisource in the early days.--Khaldei 21:08, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I have uploaded the djvu for Poems (1920), and as expected, it uses the text that John Fluker has provided above. See p. 40 and 41. John Vandenberg (chat) 07:17, 5 April 2008 (UTC)