Biography of Rupert Brooke
A man of great physical beauty by reputation, Rupert Brooke was born in Rugby, Warwickshire where he attended the local school. He then gained entry into King's College, Cambridge (1905-11) where he became a Fellow in 1912. He travelled extensively and wrote many travel letters for the 'Westminster Gazette', London (1912-13). At the start of the First World War in 1914, he was assigned to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He saw action at Antwerp which inspired the writing of five passionately patriotic sonnets, the last of them being The Soldier. He was at the height of his fame when he died during the war aged twenty-seven. He had been on his way to serve in the Dardanelles when he died of blood poisoning at Scyros and was buried there.
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Rupert Brooke Poems
1914 V: 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;
1914 I: Peace
Now, God be thanked Who has watched us with His hour, And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping, With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power, To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
1914 IV: The Dead
These hearts were woven of human joys and cares, Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth. The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs, And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
Beauty and Beauty
When Beauty and Beauty meet All naked, fair to fair, The earth is crying-sweet, And scattering-bright the air,
1914 III: The Dead
Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead! There's none of these so lonely and poor of old, But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold. These laid the world away; poured out the red
Out of the nothingness of sleep, The slow dreams of Eternity, There was a thunder on the deep: I came, because you called to me.
A Channel Passage
The damned ship lurched and slithered. Quiet and quick My cold gorge rose; the long sea rolled; I knew I must think hard of something, or be sick; And could think hard of only one thing -- YOU!
1914 II: Safety
Dear! of all happy in the hour, most blest He who has found our hid security, Assured in the dark tides of the world that rest, And heard our word, 'Who is so safe as we?'
And love has changed to kindliness
When love has changed to kindliness -- Oh, love, our hungry lips, that press So tight that Time's an old god's dream Nodding in heaven, and whisper stuff
My restless blood now lies a-quiver, Knowing that always, exquisitely, This April twilight on the river Stirs anguish in the heart of me.
A Memory (From A Sonnet- Sequence)
Somewhile before the dawn I rose, and stept Softly along the dim way to your room, And found you sleeping in the quiet gloom, And holiness about you as you slept.
Some day I shall rise and leave my friends And seek you again through the world's far ends, You whom I found so fair (Touch of your hands and smell of your hair!),
Dead Men's Love
There was a damned successful Poet; There was a Woman like the Sun. And they were dead. They did not know it.
Busy Heart, The
Now that we've done our best and worst, and parted, I would fill my mind with thoughts that will not rend. (O heart, I do not dare go empty-hearted) I'll think of Love in books, Love without end;
When colour goes home into the eyes,
And lights that shine are shut again
With dancing girls and sweet birds’ cries
Behind the gateways of the brain;
And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
The rainbow and the rose:—
Still may Time hold some golden space
Where I’ll unpack that scented store