“Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind” is Stephen Crane’s poem about war and its aftermath. In twenty-six lines, the persona of the poem addresses the loved ones of the soldiers who died on the battlefield amid mayhem and chaos. Crane’s use of blank verse is well suited for the subject of war because it lacks the harmonious patterns of rhyme and meter. The poem is composed of five stanzas, and the indented beginning of the second and fourth stanzas characterize a change in setting. While the first, third, and fifth stanzas focus on the survivors of dead soldiers, the indented stanzas graphically depict scenes of the battlefield. The refrain gives a structural unity to the entire poem as it consistently appears before and after each stanza: “Do not weep./ War is kind.” This chorus of two lines helps to connect the emotional experience with the actual experience of war.
The poem begins with the pain of separation between a maiden and her lover who died on the battlefield. To heighten the tragic effect, the persona describes the last moment of the dying lover who “threw wild hands toward the sky” in a frantic state as he fell from his horse while “the affrighted steed ran on alone.” A perceptive reader will note the ambivalent tone of the persona: On one hand, there is sympathy for the maiden’s unfulfilled love; on the other hand, there is sympathy for the soldier’s agony whose death marks a moment of escape from the painful state of...
(The entire section is 576 words.)