Brooke was the son of a teacher at the famous school in Rugby and was also educated there itself. Then he visited the University of Cambridge, where he graduated in 1909.He then travelled through Europe and also in the years 1913-1914 by the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Before the outbreak of the first world war he was back in England and joined the Navy. In 1915, he went on expedition to the Dardanelles, but he would not take part in the military campaign: he died of blood poisoning from an infected mosquito bite and was buried on the island of Skyros.
Brooke began writing poetry when he was still at school in Rugby. His first collection, Poems, was published in 1911. Its poets talent was admired, but also his handsome appearance. The poet William Butler Yeats described him as ' the handsomest young man in England '. The bundle 1914 and Other Poems appeared in 1915. The war sonnets made deep impression.
A bundle with collected work was published in 1918. 1952 edition, however, is the most complete. In 1956 appeared The Prose or Rupert Brooke, with a collection of articles and previously unpublished manuscripts. Letters from America (1916) contains a series of articles from the United States that Brooke wrote for the magazine The Westminster Gazette.
' The Soldier ' is the most famous sonnet on first world war Brookes and the most famous poem in General about the first world war. In the time that it was written, it was seen as the perfect expression of everything that England stood for.
- 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,
- View, 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 is very patriotic. Therefore it was also popular in England. There is not spoken about the horrors of the war. The core of the poem is that if the soldier would die in a country far from England to this position, he at least has taken a piece of homeland, and the Earth is there of them richer.
' The Dead ' is another war sonnets by Brooke. This poem clearly shows that the outbreak of the war heralded a new period of history. Brooke thought sacrificing yourself for a noble cause the highest qualities in the man upstairs could pick up. Frank Bridge made a tone at this poem, he read it otherwise, a call for a senseless slaughter, in his Blow out, you bugles.
- 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
- Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
- Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
- That men call age; and those who would have been,
- Their sons, they view, their immortality.
- Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
- Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
- Honour has come back, as a king, to earth.
- And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
- And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
- And we have come into our heritage.