The poem, ‘Asleep in the Valley’, was written manuscript form either in October 1870 or a the Franco-Russian War of 1877. There is possibility that Rimbaud, perhaps, watched the scene himself, as he was a soldier. However there are critics who suggest that the scene described by Rimbaud in the poem is a product of his poetic imagination. The poem first appeared in Anthology Lemerre which was published in the year 1888. The themes discussed in the poem are different. It deals with the beauties of nature, the futility of war, the tragic lives of soldiers and the grim inevitability of death in a warfare. The combination of the themes is striking because the poem reveals a sense of anxiety that is caused by the contrast between the beauty of the atmosphere and the horrid image of death. The poem is noted for its change of tone. The tone changes in accordance with the description of the setting. The stretch of the green valley, surrounded by high mountains, where a stream flows softly is described in a picturesque manner. In the middle part of the poem, the tone becomes serious. It almost suggests a disaster as it is apprehended that the soldier’s body is cold and his smile though innocent like a child appears pale. At the end of the poem the tone is sad as the two deep red holes in his side reveal that the soldier has died sometime before and his coldness is a contrast to the warmth of the sun. Al sensitive reader can easily detect the elemento sadness in the unfortunate end of the soldier though the natural setting is happy and beautiful.
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