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.

from "The Soldier"
Rupert Brooke
Rupert Brooke

Millions of people across the English-speaking world are familiar with these poignant words written by Rupert Brooke, widely acclaimed as the leading War Poet of World War One and Rugby's most famous son. While it is "The Chilterns", particularly "The slumbering Midland plain", that resonates with Our Campaign, "The Soldier" is the most widely-known of Rupert Brooke's works with many notable references throughout popular culture and modern history.

Childhood

Rupert Brooke was born in the summer of 1887 and raised at the family home on Hillmorton Road in Rugby, Warwickshire. He was educated locally at Rugby School, later winning a scholarship to King's College, Cambridge.

The young Rupert Brooke would often walk from Hillmorton Road to visit his aunt in Barby, winding up the Drover's Track to ascend high above the Leam Valley. Looking out from Barby towards the Malvern Hills, Brooke would marvel at the beauty of his beloved English countryside, the landscape he describes in part in "The Chilterns".

Literary career

Penning 118 poems in total, the first Brooke poems were published in 1909. Brooke's literary career brought him into frequent contact with contemporaries such as Virginia Woolf and even Winston Churchill, who was no stranger to the arts.

Belonging to several literary circles, including the Bloomsbury Group and the Dymock poets, Brooke was one of the most influential British poets of his day. Brooke is considered to be a Georgian poet and many of his works follow a romantic theme.

The Great War

Already a celebrity in his own right when war broke out in 1914, it is for his war poems that Brooke is best remembered. He took part in the Antwerp expedition of October 1914, having been commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve, before being attached to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in early 1915.

While en-route to Gallipoli Brooke developed sepsis and died on a French hospital ship on 23rd April 2015. He is buried on the Greek island of Skyros.

Legacy

Following The Armistice, the Georgian movement fell out of popularity in the 1920s. Nonetheless, a number of Brooke's poems still attract interest in the twenty-first century including: