Uploaded on May 15, 2008
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by Rupert Brooke
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On April 4, 1915, Dean Inge of St. Paul's Cathedral read a sonnet from the pulpit as part of his Easter Sunday sermon. The sermon was published in The Times the next day, and the sonnet therein became, as George Parfitt describes, "an important document of national preparation for war." Originally entitled 'The Recruit', Rupert Brooke's sonnet 'The Soldier' was the last in a sonnet sequence entitled '1914'. The five numbered sonnets, preceded by an unnumbered sonnet were first published in the periodical New Numbers (number 4) in January of 1915:
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.
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