What is the meaning of the following sentence-----

He rushed into the field, and foremost fighting fell.

Does the bold part follow any grammar rule?


I looked this up, and it turns out to be part of a poem (Byron). The way it is displayed on my screen, the phrase "foremost fighting" is set off by commas: "He rush’d into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell."

With that addition, the passage becomes a lot more understandable. Longman dictionary lists definition 2 of "foremost" as "in a leading position among a group of people or things".

So I think the meaning here is that he rush'd ["rushed", of course] into the field [of battle], and was killed ("fell") at the very forefront of the front line.

The grammar is pretty normal as long as the commas are in place around the adverbial phrase "foremost fighting", which modifies "fell".

One thing about poetry though: as people have noted before here, poems often contain archaic or obscure words and grammar that is creative to the point of being incorrect in most situations. Reading poetry can be very interesting and educational for advanced students of English, but it can also be confusing and not the best place for beginners to pick up idiomatic expressions for everyday use.

  • I think fighting foremost, he fell would be idiomatic. – Kshitij Singh Apr 15 '19 at 15:46
  • @Kshitij Singh , except for the word "foremost", which is not natural to my vocabulary, I agree. Either that or "He fell fighting foremost." – Lorel C. Apr 15 '19 at 16:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.