The speaker of this poem is a resident of the town in which the athlete resided. The message of the story is that the only way a person can capture glory and make it last is to die young. It has an even greater affect on people if the person achieves greatness before they die young. This allows the person to live forever in the minds of the people remembering him. They remember him at his highest level of standing. He also receives more sympathy over the fact that he died when he was young and never got to experience everything in life. Housman suggests to the reader that the later years of life are boring and wearisome. In the line "Smart lad, to slip betimes away/ From fields where glory does not stay" (9-10) he praises the young athlete for dying before his glory faded. Eternal life in people's minds seems to be given to those that die at a relatively young age. Housman uses rhyme in his poem to make the poem more likeable to the reader. Many of the lines in the poem appear to be in some form of iambic pentameter as well. This is seen in the first stanza. Alliteration is seen in line one "the time you won your town the race", "road all runners" (5), "townsman of a stiller town" (8), "silence sounds" (15), "runners whom renown outran" (19), and "fleet foot" (22). "Silence sounds" is also an oxymoron. Finally, synecdoche is seen in the line "Fleet foot on the sill of shade" where the foot represents the entire body.
In the process of choosing a poem to write about, I decided to just flip to a page. This round of flipping, I had the choice of either To an Athlete Dying Young or Bredon Hill also by A. E. Housman. I chose the athlete one because I liked the rhyming pattern better then the other poem's. It was more pleasing to the ear along with being more pleasing to the eye. I also like how the poem's message pointed out a true statement about society. It is genuinely true that people who die young receive more praise and attention after their death then those who die old.