‘The Drum’ by John Scott and ‘Vitai Lampada’ by Henry Newbolt both focuses on the eve of battle, but differs greatly regarding their attitudes. The poems have greatly contrasting views of war.
“The Drum” has a negative perception of war whereas “Vitai Lampada” portrays a very positive image of war.
‘The Drum’ was written in the Napoleonic war. John Scott is an anti war poet. He uses the first person to describe his angst towards war. He also uses a rhythm to imitate a drum’s beat. From the first few words of the poem, “I hate”, there is no ambiguity about Scott’s stance – it is clear that he is strongly opposed to the devastation of war. His hate is for the ‘drum’s discordant sound’, a symbol of war. As John Scott says he hates the drum he is showing his hatred of the war and slaughter that goes on. As this line is repeated in the second stanza, it emphasises the writer’s hatred of the war. John Scott’s beliefs are displayed within the poem because of the fact that John Scott is a Quaker.
Vitae Lampada is a poem of strength and power. Henry Newbolt was a poet who championed the virtues of chivalry and sportsmanship combined in the service of the British Empire. “Play up! Play up! And play the game!” – Words that have become famous through the years – symbolised Newbolt’s view that war should be fought in the same spirit as school sports. He illustrates war through the use of the imagery of soldiers playing games. The author, Henry Newbolt, writes about war in this way, so that he can get his view of war across in a more defined manner.
John Scott has got a negative perception of war because he was a wealthy Quaker who was opposed to violence and war whereas Henry Newbolt went to a public school where he was taught to rule and led the fight to defend the overseas possessions. Even though Henry Newbolt knew what was going to happen in the war, he thought it was worth it to fight and die for the country in the war.