By: Bryan Ricardo Marini Quintana
Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier” is an idealistic poem that serves as an ode to England, remembering why he’s fighting for his country in The Great War. This romantic tone of the sonnet unveils a soldier who misses home, reminiscing on the beauty of his nation by saying: “If I should die, think only this of me: / That there’s some corner of a foreign field / That is for ever England…” (Brooke). Through this verse, Rupert Brooke finds meaning in serving on the front as a bastion of civilization that halts the barbarian aggressor ravaging Europe from reaching his country. When the poet confronts the certainty of death, he doesn’t cowl in fear of facing the shadow that claims the souls of men. Instead, Rupert Brooke is armed with valor to meet his fate, perceiving The Great War as a just cause worth sacrificing his life to defend England’s freedom and well-being.
Further on, the poet describes that “…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;” (Brooke). With this verse, Rupert Brooke portrays his homeland as a civilizing force that nurtured him to become knowledgeable and wise. Thereafter, he evokes an ailing memory of the countryside by reciting: “A body of England’s, breathing English air, / Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.” (Brooke). Palpably, the soldier depicts a lovely landscape to retain the smell, touch, and sight of home. Hence, the sonnet is a celebration of England’s magnificence, that’s been left unscathed by the fumes of The Great War shrouding Europe, with Rupert Brooke recollecting the splendor of his homeland to find purpose in the conflict, longing to return and be “In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.” (Brooke).
Brooke, Rupert. “The Soldier.” 1915. Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/13076/the-soldier