Rupert Brooke –Life and works: “The soldier”
Rupert Brooke was a War Poet. He was born during the 19th century (1887) and he died at the beginning of the 20th century (1915). His most famous poem is “The soldier”
It is a sonnet that is composed of two quatrains and two tercets.
The speaking voice is that of a young English soldier that is going to the war.
He is aware of the fate that might await him, yet the prospect of imminent death is not clouded by fear but has a bitter-sweet, melancholy quality.
His grave will be unmarked in “some corner of a foreign field” that, by preserving his body, will become a part of England as well. His body will enrich the foreign soil by giving somehow back all the good and pleasant things England has bestowed on him: the memory
of her sights, the happy dreams of youth, the warmth of friendship, gentleness, laughter and peace. War is never openly mentioned (only alluded to in the title), nor is there any trace of resentment or hate for the country or the people he will fight against: the ‘foreign field’, for example, is defined as a ‘rich earth’.
In the poem, death is not seen as something violent but is it depicted with a melancholy resignation tinged mildly with regret.
Moreover, the poet recalls with love and regret the beauty of the English countryside and its traditional landscape, to which he associates the human values he identifies with his country: friendship, gentleness, humour and peace.