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Everyone Sang

About the poet

Siegfried Sassoon is an English poet and soldier. He is well known for his anti-war poetry which expresses his anger for warmonger and compassion for the soldiers. He participated in the First World War. He won the Military Cross in 1916.

About the poem

  • ‘Everyone Sang’ was published in 1919.

  • The poem ‘Everyone Sang’ consists of two stanzas, in which each stanza contains five lines. Each stanza follows the rhyme scheme of abcbb.

  • The poem ‘Everyone Sang’ is an anti-war poem that depicts the joys and sorrows of the soldiers.

  • The poem is full of imagery, symbols, and vivid descriptions of the emotions and feelings of the soldier while fighting in war.


Suddenly the poet hears a song in the trench by all the soldiers after the armistice has been declared. The song makes him so delighted. He finds the joys of prisoned birds in the soldiers. The prisoned birds are extremely happy when they get out of their cage and fly endlessly. The soldiers also taste the same joy after getting relief from the war. The voice of the song became higher than earlier, and simultaneously beauty came. It came similar to the setting sun which symbolizes end, grim, and death as the soldiers have lost many of their friends in the war. The poet’s heart shakes with tears for those who lost their lives in war, but his fear of losing anyone again moves away. So he feels joy and sorrow at the same time. He feels how the soldiers become birds. The soldiers have no choice on the war front, and they are compelled to fight as the birds have no choice in their cage. The song of the soldiers is a manifestation of endless feelings of joy and sorrow that transcend every word and will not be finished.

Answer the following:

1. Whom did the word ‘Everyone’ refer to? Why were they singing suddenly?

Ans: The word ‘Everyone’ referred to all the soldiers on the battlefield.

At the end of the First World War, the Germans were defeated eventually, so they were asked for an armistice. All the soldiers were extremely happy when they felt they would not fight as the First World War came to an end. So they were singing to celebrate the end of the war.

2.”My heart was shaken with tears; and horror

Drifted away…”-Whose heart was shaken with tears and why? What made the horror drift away? What might the ‘horror’ be?

Ans: In the poem ‘Everyone Sang’, the poet’s heart was shaken with tears. At the end of the First World War, the poet felt excited and happy as the war had ended. Again, he felt sad as all his fellow soldiers had died on the battlefield. So, the poet had tears of joy and sorrow which made his heart. Again, he was so overwhelmed that he could not express his delight in conventional language.

The soldiers rediscovered their humanity through the song which was sung themselves. Their communal song had a spiritual and positive effect on the poet’s mind, so it could move the poet from the worst thoughts and memories of the war, and drift his horror away.

The ‘horror’ might be the danger of losing their lives on the battlefield of the First World War.

3. When did the poet hear the song? What did the poet feel then?

Ans: The poet heard the song when the First World War was over.

The poet felt extremely delighted that the war had ended and many of the soldiers got relief from the war. On the other hand, he felt sad that many soldiers had lost their lives on the battlefield.

4. Why does the poet compare the soldiers to the prisoned birds?

Ans: When a caged bird gets freedom, it flies away to orchards and green fields with boundless joy. In ‘Everyone Sang’ the soldiers got released from the war where they were obliged to follow all the restrictions and regulations. So they sing a song to express their joy. According to the poet, the soldiers are bound on the battlefield like birds in a cage. So the poet compares the soldiers to the prisoned birds.

5.“O, but everyone was a bird, and the song was wordless”-Who was a bird and why? What did the poet mean to say by ‘wordless’?

Ans: Every soldier on the battlefield was a bird.

Every soldier felt insecurity and uncertainty while fighting in the war, and wanted to have relief from the war. A bird feels the same in its cage and desires to be free from all the fetters of the cage. So everyone on the battlefield was similar to a bird.

6. Why does the poet say ‘beauty came like the setting sun’ in ‘Everyone Sang’? What do ‘beauty’ and ‘horror’ refer to?

Ans: According to the poet beauty came due to the end of the war, but it came like the setting sun. In ‘Everyone Sang’, many soldiers lost their lives in the First World War, and many soldiers were alive when the war was over. Though the war ended, it snatched life from many soldiers and gave a sense of relief to several soldiers. The setting sun symbolizes death as well as sublime beauty, which the end of the world caused for the soldiers. So the poet says ‘beauty came like the setting sun’.

In this poem ‘beauty’ refers to the loud song of the soldiers, and ‘horror’ refers to the fear of losing life.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. In ‘Everyone Sang’ the singing soldiers are compared to -a)the imprisoned birds who have just found freedom b)children c) the common folk of India d) the Irish spirit

2. In the poem ‘Everyone Sang’, the poet depicts- a)the feelings of the common folk of India b)the feelings of fishermen c)the feelings for the nation d)the feelings of soldiers

3. According to Sassoon, the song which was sung by the soldiers was -a)wordless b)thrilling c)mysterious d)calm

4. Sassoon participated in – a)the Second World War b)the First World War c) the French Revolution d) the Irish War

The soldiers sang the song as a reaction to – a)the Cold War b)the armistice c)the Irish Revolution d)Freedom from the British

6. Beauty came like the-a)setting sun b)rising sun c)prisoned birds d)free birds

7. Sassoon is a _________ poet. a) Indian b)English c)Irish d)French

8. Sasson used to write poems about-a) the brutality of war b) the glory of war c)nature d) the universe

9. According to Sassoon, _________ will never be done.

a) discussion b)Singing c)meeting d)calm

10. Whose heart is shaken with tears?

a)The poet’s heart is shaken with tears. b) The bird’s heart is shaken with tears. c)Isern’s heart is shaken with tears. d)Rahim’s heart is shaken with tears.


1. Answer the following:

a)How do the soldiers react after the end of the war in ‘Everyone Sang’? How is the song described?

b)How did the beauty come in the poem ‘Everyone Sang’?

c)What does the poet describe in his poem ‘Everyone Sang’?

d)Discuss Sassoon’s attitude towards war as depicted in ‘Everyone Sang’.


e)Write briefly how Sassoon portrays war regarding ‘Everyone Sang’.