The Soldier By: Rupert Brooke

Analysis by: Paul Chan

Author Bio: Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke was born on August 3, 1887 and fell in to the art of writing early in his life; winning a school poetry prize at the age of nine. As he aged, Brooke followed his passion of writing and other art forms as he attended King's College in Cambridge where he was known for his good looks, charm, and intellect. He eventually published his first poems in 1909 while many appeared in his first book, Poems, which he finished in 1911. Brooke published many works, later in life, during his fellowship at Cambridge and his expansive journeys in North America, which resulted from a mental breakdown in 1993. Rupert returned to England at the beginning of World War One, and he took it upon himself to enlist in the Royal Navy. This was around the time his most famous work, 1914 and Other Poems, appeared at the age of only twenty-eight. After taking part in the Antwerp Expedition in Belgium, he died of blood poisoning on April 23, 1915 from a mosquito bite. Following his death, Brooke became a symbol in England of the tragic loss of youth during the war.

Information found here:

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;

A body of England’s, breathing English air,

Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

A pulse in the eternal mind, no less

Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;

And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,

In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

My Interpretation

First Stanza: Talks of the speaker's possible death but does not focus on the gruesome trench warfare, but instead focuses on the blissful afterlife the speaker will experience. This would be a push toward the idea of dying for one's country as a noble and honorable way to end one's life.

Second Stanza: Seen as more of a love letter to the speaker's loved ones as well as the speaker's idea of him having done no evil in the war as he will be find peace in death.This, also, alludes to God in terms of the "eternal mind" and "an English heaven" that may nod to his acts being with or fighting for God.

Theme: This poem contains a patriotic theme as it acts as a love poem to England as a whole and how the speaker is willing to die for his country

George Johnston 14

'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke by George Johnston 14
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