An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death Warfare Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
Those that I fight I do not hate
Those that I guard I do not love; (3-4)
These lines are almost identical (with the exception of a few words). Those the speaker fights and those he protects are almost the same thing. This means war is kind of pointless, and there are no good guys or bad guys.
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before. (7-8)
We expect the people of Kiltartan to be affected by the war, even though they're far away from the front lines. Strangely, it doesn't seem like the war will change their lives one bit—"no likely end [to the war, to my life] could bring them loss." Hmm, sounds like some wishful thinking to us. Maybe the speaker is being ironic…
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public man, nor cheering crowds (9-10)
All parts of society are responsible for war: the law, public officials, even citizens themselves (cheering crowds). The speaker is miraculously impervious to their combined influence and, as he will shortly tell us, joined the war for his own reasons. What a strong dude.