An unexpected gas attack turns the soldiers’ world a peculiar sea green, and a comrade “drowns” when his lungs fill with blood and other body fluids. This wretched scene is designed to counter those who would coax the young into joining a war out of a mixture of desire for excitement and patriotism. The desolate scene explodes the patriotic lie “Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori,” promulgated by the Roman writer Horace in his Odes (23 b.c.e., 13 b.c.e.; English translation, 1621). Death in no-man’s-land is not sweet and fitting but obscene and painful. A nameless no-man’s-land from the battles of World War I provides the depressingly realistic backdrop of Wilfred Owen’s poem which hopes to warn against mindless patriotism unconnected to actual war, which is grim and tragic.