p style=”text-align: left”>The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever 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 Brookes uses a soldier in this poem describing his feelings as he leaves home and heads for world war one. The soldier or Rupert glorifies England to be a perfect country to die for. The poem itself has many patriotic ideas behind it, such as dying for the noblest country of England. The poem suggests that all soldiers will go to a peaceful heaven in their afterlife, therefore the love of their lives shouldn’t grieve because he will be in a safe place. Part of the earth will still hold him, and will be rich in his afterlife.

I personally like the perspective that Rupert Brooke gives as it is speaking the words of one soldier for all the soldiers in the world. World War One was a nasty time and leaving the woman you love behind would have always been on your mind. “Think only this of me” is such a romantic addressing line at the start of the poem which makes the reader feel like he’s just on the other side of the piece of paper. The soldiers can’t be right beside their women to protect her, to do that you must be on the other side of the world in a completely foreign country. You have to do anything to die for anyone but also survive for yourself. The soldier’s whole lives have been flipped to an oxymoron, you are either the angel that saves the others and try to keep surviving or the devil that kills for love but is mentally scarred forever. Rupert Brooke deals with a sense of immortality through this poem. “think only this of me: that there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England”, is describing that even when this soldier dies the Earth will caress him and become rich in the afterlife of him; he may not be present with his love but he cannot be considered to have sinned as he fought for England. It is said that Rupert died peacefully and calmly surrounded by the “sun and the cool sea breeze”, so it is ironic that he has written about the death of the soldiers in world war one.

The poem gives the reader an insight into the deep thoughts that soldiers most likely had on the daily. They would have thought about death, their death, how bad it would be, how they would be remembered. It was a consistent flow of unanswered questions. The poem teaches the reader that the war was not just a physically draining effort it was also mentally draining and affecting. The men were once normal, but that word ‘normal’ cannot begin to describe what they felt during and after the war. All of the soldiers are a son to the “mother of England”, they would do anything to save her and dying for her is the best way to earn her respect. I feel that because the men were expendable to the leaders in charge, they were all brainwashed into thinking that dying for England was the most respectable way to die. Potentially Rupert Brooke was trying to save the hearts of many lovers in the world to ease the pain they may feel. Especially because war death was a sacrificial conduct for many.

I believe that the poem read by the youth of the modern world today will begin to understand the pride that the pre-industrial England people had, back in the war time. Propaganda was a huge void that realed many men into the war; they were persuasive and supposedly had good meaning to them. The English population back then would have had a great attitude for the war and made sure that all men were ready to fight. It was a fight or flight option that the men had but fighting gained the ultimate respect. As a reader we can understand that the men would know what honour feels like dying for their country even though it is said to be a lie. I also feel that as a reader we can learn that the mens mental states may not have always been positive. The thought of death would have bounced across their minds everyday. So we can sense that Rupert would have imagined what he could have said to his loved one just before his death, the poem is like his last words written out on paper.

The Soldier by Rupert Brooke is a very romantic poem that sums up the thoughts about death by one soldier. World War One took many lives of men, women and children yet this poem really digs deep into the simplicity of a soldier missing his loved one and saying his last words. The poem itself is very touching and makes the whole scenario of being stuck in war a reality.   


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Madi, there are some mature reflections already in this response – well done.
    – One area that you could strengthen is giving context to the poem and author. I.e What war are you discussing?
    – Also, it may also be beneficial to complete your own research about the author. Remember when we discussed the “role of the author” when we looked at the critical literacy poster? Who the author is, what he has experienced, his values, beliefs and ideals, all influence what is “included”. 🙂


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