Everyone Sang

Everyone Sang

By Siegfried Sassoon

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

Summary of Everyone Sang

  • Popularity of “Everyone Sang”: “Everyone Sang” by Siegfried Sassoon, a renowned English soldier-poet, is a descriptive poem about the simultaneity and beauty of music. Published in 1919, the poem expresses the jubilant singing of the people at the end of the First World War. The poem highlights the much-longed joy of the people as well as the sufferings they endured during the war years. The speaker’s realistic stance toward the end of the war, the joyous tone of the poem, and freedom of expression are the major reasons behind the popularity of this poem.
  • “Everyone Sang” As a Representative of Merriment: This poem accounts for the poet’s heartfelt emotions toward the end of World War I as it nears its end. The poem begins as he expresses the joy everyone feels once being out of unjust war. Using powerful diction, he explains how every heart gets filled with delight; he compares their merriment with the satisfaction of the birds having suddenly won freedom from the cages. As the poem progresses, he recalls the horrors and brutalities of war which shake his heart with tears. Fortunately, the trying times have passed, and now, everyone feels relieved and out of misery.
  • Major Themes in “Everyone Sang”: Warfare, satisfaction, and extreme happiness are the major themes of the poem. Throughout the poem, the speaker compares war soldiers to caged birds and expresses the utmost joy they feel at the end of the war. Although they are out of war, the memories of those years seem to have long-lasting effects on the speaker’s memory. He is filled with horror when he plunges back in time. Yet, he tries to forget those torments and joins the chorus that celebrates the end of suffering.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Everyone Sang”

literary devices are necessary strategies to beautify poetic outputs. Siegfried Sassoon has used some literary devices in this poem whose analysis is as follows.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /e/ and /o/ in “Was a bird, and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done” and the sound of /e/ in “And beauty came like the setting sun.”
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /w/ in “Winging wildly” and /f/ sound in “find in freedom.”
  3. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /r/ in “My heart was shaken with tears; and horror” and the sound of /n/ in “Everyone suddenly burst out singing.”
  4. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example;

“My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. Siegfried Sassoon has used imagery in the poem such as “As prisoned birds must find in freedom,” “My heart was shaken with tears; and horror” and “And beauty came like the setting sun.”
  2. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different. The poet compares people with birds at many places in the poem such as; “As prisoned birds must find in freedom” and “but everyone/was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.”
  3. Personification: The poem shows the use of personifications in the first stanza as the writer attributes humanistic qualities to the birds.
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from literal meanings. The expressions like “suddenly burst out singing” and “Winging wildly across the white” symbolize the extreme joy of the speaker.
  5. Simile: It is a device used to compare something with something else to make meanings clear to the readers. Siegfried has used this device in the second stanza as he compares beauty with the setting sun such as” And beauty came like the setting sun.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Everyone Sang”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make poems melodious. Siegfried Sassoon has used end rhyme in this poem such as; “delight/sight” and “sun/done.”
  2. Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not contain patterns of rhyme or meter. This is a free-verse poem with no strict rhyme or meter.
  3. Quintain: Quintain is a five-lined stanza borrowed from Middle English poetry. This poem is composed of two quintains.
  1. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABCBB rhyme scheme, and this pattern continues until the end.
  2. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are two stanzas in this poem with each comprising five lines/verses.

Quotes to be Used

These lines are useful to use while talking about the freedom, satisfaction, and happiness, people enjoy after undergoing suffering and troubles.

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,”