Character of The Happy Warrior: Summary & Analysis

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      Character of The Happy Warrior, was composed in 1805 or early 1806, and published in 1807, was “written soon after tidings had been received of the death of Lord Nelson, which event directed the author’s thought to the subject’ (Wordsworth in a note). But Wordsworth, while writing this poem, also had his brother John in mind. Micheal Beaupy, a French patriot, is also a model of the happy warrior. The poem was classified by Wordsworth among his “Poems of Sentiment and Reflection”.


      The poem Character of The Happy Warrior, begins with the boyhood of the happy warrior and then passes on to his maturity. It closes with his perseverance and progress to the end. The happy warrior combines strength and tenderness, courage and purity. He is a man with faith in good, had high aims, a cultivated intellect, moral rectitude and the power to draw good out of evil. His means are as good as his ends. He has fortitude and is obedient to the law of right reason. Above all, he has fidelity and joy in domestic relations.


      Bernard Groom describes the poem’s mood as one of Christian stoicism”. F.W.H. Myers calls it a “manual of greatness”. Oliver Elton calls it “an Elizabethan poem, with echoes of Spenser’s couplet and of Daniel’s sweet austerity”. The character of the warrior may be regarded as a kind of personification of the ideal of the Ode to Duty. In the context of such an idealization, Wordsworth could not mention Nelson’s name in the poem because of that great soldier’s illicit relationship with Lady Hamilton. As for style, the poem has “a Roman majesty in its simple and weighty speech.”

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