At Oxford University, he was a brilliant student but failed his final examinations, and he ended up accepting a humdrum job as a civil servant.
Obviously, “To an Athlete Dying Young” is a thought-provoking poem of considerable merit.
But the fame and glory are not forever, they fade away as does the youth.
The phrase ‘silence sounds no worse than cheers after earth has stopped the ears’ implies that the fame of the famous athlete has expired and applaud from the crowd is no longer heard.
The poem challenges the traditional idea of living a long life and disapproves that it is tragic to die young.
A young athletic champion’s death being mourned at his funeral where the poet realizes that this early death is indeed his luck.
He maintains that an athlete dying young will attract more admirers and people will always have fond memories of his feats.
The ‘garland on his curls’ refers to the appreciation for the achievements that he made when he lived.
With the typical detached, observant tone often employed by Housman, the speaker hails the dead youth as a Technically speaking, “To an Athlete Dying Young” is indicative of Housman’s gift of poetic craft.
The even meter and the taut rhyme add to the deliberate, somber, reflective mood established from the first stanza onward.