The speaker does not refer to themself directly, instead focusing upon the ominous 'them' in the first half of the poem, and the inclusive 'we' in the second half.
The use of 'them' is unsettling, especially in the first two lines. The idea of unknown people coming out of the 'mist' suggests that they are not open or clear about their intentions, but are instead shady characters. Therefore, we could read the 'mist' as a metaphor for the uncertainty that the townsfolk felt.
The use of 'we', on the other hand, appeals to the reader as they are put into the position of the unknown listener. Therefore, we react as the listener would, with uncertainty, worry and pessimism. This pessimism is built up by a knowing tone in lines such as 'We will lose this war'.
- Can you find any other metaphors?
- How else does the writer portray the approaching soldiers in a negative light?