WW1 Poem 1914 - 18

The War Sonnets: V. The Soldier

By: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

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.

Rupert Brooke actually saw little combat during the war; he contracted blood-poisoning from a small neglected injury and died in April 1915, in the Aegean.

Brooke's reputation, aside from the myth of the fallen "golden warrior" that his friends set about creating almost immediately after his death, rests on the five war sonnets of 1914.
Rupert Brooke
Soldier Leaving