The time you won your town the race We chaired you through the market-place; Man and boy stood cheering by, And home we brought you shoulder-high.
Enjoy these four lines, Shmoopers. This is the happy part.
The poem starts with the speaker remembering when the athlete won a big race and the townspeople carried the athlete "through the market-place" in celebration. They even carried him home. What nice folks.
You probably noticed something about the end words in stanza 1: "race" and "place," "by" and "high." That's right—they rhyme.
The stanzas follow an AABB rhyme scheme throughout the poem. The rhyme scheme gives the poem a kind of rhythmic feeling, almost like a nursery rhyme.
That nursery rhyme vibe doesn't seem to fit with a poem about death… or does it? Stay tuned. (Or, if you are the impatient type, jump to the "Sound Check" for more.)