GEORGIAN POETS: RUPERT BROOKE (THE SOLDIER)
The poetry which was popular before the outbreak of war has become known as 'Georgian Poetry', and the main poets are known as 'Georgian Poets'. These were poets named after the reign of King George V who was crowned in 1910. The first volume of Georgian Poetry appeared in 1912, proposed by Rupert Brooke. Four more volumes were published - the last in 1922 - edited by Sir Edward Marsh.
Pre-war Georgian poetry is typified as dreamy and romantic and escapist in comparison with the harshness of war described by the realists. The most enduring Georgian is James Elroy Flecker who introduced orientalism into his verse and died young; though the most famous is, still, probably, Rupert Brooke. The forgotten Georgians are those who continued in the vein of late-Romantic picturesque descriptions of countryside.
Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) was the son of a schoolmaster at Rugby. Brooke was considered extraordinarily handsome as well as clever and he became darling of The Bloomsbury Group, the literary circle that formed around Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, and Virginia Woolf. After studying at Cambridge University he settled in the nearby village of Granchester and his former home, the Old Vicarage, was later purchased by the popular novelist Lord Jeffrey Archer.
Brooke suffered a nervous breakdown in 1913 and travelled first to the United States and then on to Tahiti in order to recuperate. He volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1914 and took part in the expedition to Antwerp that year, which ended in failure. Early in 1915 he sailed for the Dardanelles, where the British intended a landing to advance on Constantinople, but died during the passage from a mosquito bite on the lip. He was buried in an olive grove on Skyros.
One of the most anthologised poems in the language is Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier': Romantic, dreamy, patriotic: even the air has nationality. It's a poem about falling asleep and waking up dead and not feeling a thing except happy. Falling, yes, that word is deliberate - falling and rising. It celebrates memorial resurrection and the suspension of time.
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.
This poem was written as the First World War broke out in 1914, as part of a series of many sonnets written by Rupert Brooke. Brooke himself, being predominantly a pre-World War poet, died the year after “The Soldier” was published. “The Soldier”, being the conclusion and the finale to Brooke’s ‘1914’ war sonnet series, deals with the Written in fourteen line Petrarchan / Italian sonnet form, the poem is divided into an opening octave, and then followed by a concluding sestet. As far as rhyme scheme, the octave is rhymed after the Shakespearean / Elizabethan (abab cdcd) form, while the sestet follows the Petrarchan / Italian (cde cde) form. The volta, the shift or point of dramatic change, occurs after the fourth line where Brooke goes from describing the death of the soldier, to his life accomplishments. This sonnet encompasses the memoirs of a fallen soldier who declares his patriotism to his homeland by declaring that his sacrifice shall be the eternal ownership of England, of a small portion of land he has died upon. The poem appears to not follow the normal purpose of a Petrarchan / Italian sonnet either. It does not truly go into detail about a predicament/resolution, as is customary with this form; rather, the atmosphere remains constantly in the blissful state of the English soldier.
Brooke observes the sonnet form (14 lines of iambic pentameter, divided into an octave and sestet), however the octave is rhymed after the Shakespearean/Elizabethan (ababcdcd) rhyme scheme, while the sestet follows the Petrarchan/Italian (efgefg). Brooke has also deviated somewhat from the traditional thematic divisions associated with the octave and sestet: question/predicament and resolution/solution, respectively. The octave and sestet both enjoin the reader to imagine the blissful state of the fallen soldier.
'The Soldier' is the culmination of Brooke's '1914' sonnet sequence. In 'The Soldier' Brooke invokes the ideas of spiritual cleansing (as found in 'Peace'), inviolable memories of the dead (as in 'Safety'), a hero's immortal legacy ('The Dead' III & IV), but now he combines all these specifically under the overarching framework of English heritage and personal loyalty to it. Although Dean Inge objected to the neo-paganism of Brooke's idea of resurrection,
And think, this heart,
all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind[,]
'The Soldier' touched a nerve and inspired imitations. Some were close and complimentary as they sought a recognizable connection with Brooke's sonnet.
I am analyzing the poem "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke. This poem isabout a man who loves his country dearly. The country is England. He believes that if he should die in a far away battle field that people should remember of him only that he was English. Brookes says in his forth line, "In that rich earth a richer dust concealed." This means that if he is to die in a land other than England that the soil would be made better because there would now be a piece of England within it.
The plot of this poem reinforces it's meaning because it deals with death and love. These are two powerful things that evoke feeling in people.It helps to create an image in the poem of a man who is very brave and would do anything for his country.
The character in the poem reinforces the meaning because he truly believes in his country. He describes England in his ninth line by saying, "And think, this heart, all evil shed away." These are the words of a man who truly believes that his land is the greatest of good.
Images in "The Soldier" are extremely strong and persuading. One image is the line "Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam." This line evokes images of a beautiful woman cherishing and caressing the man who stands at her side.
There are several noticeable image groups in this poem one of which is “ Death & Mortality”. As the idea of the whole poem is based around this topic it was used regularly. The first obvious use of this image group was in the very first line of stanza one: “If I should die, think only this of me”. This sets the scene for the topic of discussion in the poem, the word die has many connotations as it is such a dark and vile word often associated with sadness.
During the course of the poem the author deals with two issues: death and love. Death because the speaker is a soldier, most of them die, and possibly he will die in the war; and love because the speaker shows us the love that he has for his native land, England. It seems that he was a true patriot.
I think that this poem “The soldier” could be divided into two parts, it is by means of its stanzas, but I mean: the first stanza refers to the physical part of people, in this case the soldier; and the second stanza would be the psychological part. In the physical part, the speaker uses words that refer to things that you can touch, more or less, or verbs as for example “bore, shaped, made”. In the second part, the psychological, the speaker refers to feelings or things that you can not touch, using words as for example “mind, thoughts, sounds, dreams”.
The meaning in the poem is straightforward; while you are reading you can understand what Rupert Brooke is talking about and referring to. I mean that “The Soldier” is not a very complex poem when talking about its language. The author of this poem uses clear connotations to refer to what he wants to mean. We can say that Rupert Brooke does not use an elaborate language.
The author dedicates the poem to death and love, as I have said some lines before, and Brooke explains the feelings that the soldier has when he becomes part of a war. The speaker, I mean, the soldier, in my opinion, represents all the soldiers, and what they feel when they are far away of their own country, in this case, England. Rupert Brooke is not, perhaps, glorifying war; he is only explaining what the soldiers, maybe, feel. Although I have to say that the author describes the situation of the soldier as if it was easy and beautiful.
“The Soldier” could be autobiographical since there are first person pronouns. We can observe: I (line 1) and me (line 1). Both pronouns refer to the speaker, he talks in first person and in both the first and the second stanza, the speaker is addressing somebody. For this reason it could be that the author was telling us his own story, a story that maybe could have been real. “His early poetry was classically inspired, with death as its most frequent theme throughout. Later, he wrote more from his personal experience gained in the South Seas and later in his brief military career. The shortness of his life added to his reputation, especially at a time when so many young men were being killed.”
In this poem that I have chosen, “The Soldier”, I think that a lot of people felt identified, especially soldiers and their families, they had their native land over all. Rupert Brooke immerses the reader in the theme and at the same time the poem makes you think about what it is saying, the war, the death for their country, the end of a life. This poem is a little sad, because you know that a lot of families were broken, but it is also beautiful. “The Soldier” is composed by simple words and especially has a simple theme. I think that there is nothing confusing or complex.