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The Soldier by Rupert Brooke

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.

Rupert Brooke, 1914

About the Poem
A writer and poet, Rupert Brooke saw combat in World War One during the fight for Antwerp in 1914. Soon after he wrote a short set of war poems, including one called The Soldier. Soon after he was sent to the Dardanelles, where he refused an offer to be moved away from the front lines - an offer sent because his poetry was so well loved and good for recruiting - but he died of blood poisoning on April 23rd 1915. The Soldier is still in heavy use today, despite complaints that it idealizes and romanticizes war, and perhaps because of this. More on Brooke.
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