"Homeland's" Rupert Friend reads WWI poem on gas attack


Rupert Friend

CBS News

Sunday is the Season 6 finale of the award-winning series “Homeland,” which attracts more than 5 million viewers. Emmy-nominated actor Rupert Friend, who stars as former CIA operative Peter Quinn, said the finale would be “all about revealing people’s true characters” and their mettle.

Last season, Friend’s character barely survived a sarin gas poisoning and a serious stroke.

Now with Tuesday’s chemical attack in Syria that killed more than 80 people, as well as President Trump’s missile strike on the Syrian air base believed to be the origin of the plane that dropped the deadly gas, Friend said he was reminded of the famous World War I poem by Wilfred Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est,” that he had read during his research for “Homeland.” 

The actor proceeded to read the ending of the poem, which describes a soldier’s suffering after being poisoned by mustard gas, aloud on “CBS This Morning:”  

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace 

Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; 

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— 

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 

To children ardent for some desperate glory, 

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est 

Pro patria mori.

“I just think that the horrors of war are still with us 100 years after this was written and it makes me incredibly sad,” Friend said.

Watch the season finale Sunday, April 9, on Showtime, a division of CBS.