Book 12 Chapter 3 of Tom Jones.

This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones over the course of four years.

We finally rejoin Tom and Partridge in this chapter. Tom is now feeling especially downtrodden that he's been caught in the act by Sophia and that she's forsaken him. After some weeping and gnashing of teeth, Tom decides that he and Partridge are going to give their lives for king and country.

Partridge, however, wants nothing more than to return Tom to Allworthy, whom he imagines misses Tom, not realizing that Tom's been banished. Add to that he's more keen on living to see 80 or 90 years old, rather than dying in a battle. Tom tries to convince him of the glories of dying for one's country by quoting a poem by Horace.

It is, ironically, the same poem that was quoted hundreds of years later by Wilfred Owen, a soldier and poet in World War I to describe the horrors of a chlorine gas attack.

AuthorMark Turetsky