Talk:Dulce et Decorum est (Stallworthy edition)

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Information about this edition
Edition: Published 1921
Source: The Complete Poems and Fragments of Wilfred Owen edited by Jon Stallworthy as archived at Oxford's First World War Poetry Digital Archive
Level of progress:
Notes: There are many versions of this poem around; the above website seemed to be the most authoritative as they used the scholarly Stallworthy edition. The text has been compared to several other versions, and no mistakes are apparent.

Gas used[edit]

There is some discussion in Chemistry World magazine, April 2006 as to which gas, chlorine or phosgene is referred to by Owen. A correspondent has already noted that Chlorine is greenish, as Owen describes, whereas Phosgene is colourless. Both are choking gases but Chlorine-gas poisoning was particularly noted for its "drowning" effect. That, plus Owen's greenish light leaves little doubt. It was Chlorine.

Version choice[edit]

From previous edit summary I have looked at other versions of this poem and in the second stanza, the second "gas" is in uppercase, which in my opinion makes more sense. Just a suggestion User:

I changed it agained based on the source I listed above. Since it was not published in his own lifetime, it is likely the editor took more liberties than authors generally allow. The above source is based off Owen's own manuscripts. --BirgitteSB 01:51, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I consulted 3 MSS in the latest Oxford on-line archive. Owen is consistent with the second GAS being upper case.( Also, in the latest MS he has changed "began to trudge" to "began the trudge", which to me is much more poignant - but somehow has never found its way into published versions.

This version appears not have the phrase "Obscene as cancer" on the 23rd line. It's present in the above handwritten manuscript and most other published versions of his work. Thoughts?

That fact should at least be mentioned in the article at wikipedia. Getting that version, from an authoritative source, would also be welcome. cygnis insignis 08:01, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
I am doubt that the two manuscripts that are available on the Oxford website are the only manuscripts that exist. The 1983 scholarly edition edited by Jon Stallworthy, as opposed to the 1984 popular edition he edited, was a two volume set; with the second volume consisting entirely of manuscript. A local university has this book, but it is not something I would be able to check out. I am willing to go look for issues of interest, but I would like to collect a list of things to look for before making the trip.--BirgitteSB 18:16, 20 December 2010 (UTC)


"Originally" has been mis-spelled. I would fix it but the article has been protected and I'm not a wikisource administrator. It's all very well protecting an entry but the protector should make very sure that the entry is perfect before doing so. Silly mistakes like this are damaging to the project's reputation, particularly when they can't be fixed by those who notice them. -- Derek Ross 04:54, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Fixed. Thanks for the note. This was proofread by several people (including me), but I imagine everyone focused more on the text than the notes. Actually the mispelling is probably from me as I am a terrible speller and I think I put together the notes here. All the same we probably will always need to keep the main page text corrected and there will be ocassional mistakes that need to be fixed through a note on the talk page like yours.--BirgitteSB 16:03, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Link typo[edit]

Please fix the link to Horace's Quotation in the last line of this poem. 03:10, 27 December 2006 (UTC)


Category:World War I, not Category:Wars plz, much thanks. Sherurcij (talk) (λεμα σαβαχθανει) 07:18, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Done--BirgitteSB 17:51, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Which is incorrect?[edit]

Recently I got a book* with a sizeable amount of poetry and was quite interested in this poem and came here and I noticed that the two were not exactly the same. In the version here on Wikisource, the 8th line is:

Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

This differs from the one I have in my book:

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

I was just wondering if anyone had any information as to which is correct, and why it was changed.
*(The book is called Lines To Time, if anyone is interested.)
Matt 23:30, 4 September 2007 (Central Australian Standard Time)

Since Owen died before his poems were published, alot of different version have been printed depending on what liberties the editor decided to take. I imagine that some editors found "Five-Nines" to be a slang that readers would not understand. The notes up in the green box explain why we choose this version the link to the manuscripts appears to be down and I replaced with a Wayback machine link, so you can check them out. --BirgitteSB 18:30, 5 September 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't the heading follow Owen's original manuscript - Dulce et Decorum est rather than being all upper case?--Ukexpat (talk) 14:55, 14 October 2010 (UTC)