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Love Through The Ages | The Soldier

Ruth Owen | Wednesday October 12, 2011

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  1. Studying For The Exam
  2. Examples From Literature
  3. About The Exam
  4. Further Reading
  5. The Examination
  6. Symptoms of Love, Graves
  7. On Chesil Beach
  8. The First Tooth, Lamb
  9. The Deserter
  10. A Lady of Letters
  11. Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
  12. Measure for Measure
  13. Hamlet
  14. Othello
  15. King Lear
  16. Equus
  17. Great Expectations
  18. Enduring Love
  19. Mid-Term Break, Heaney
  20. Your Last Drive
  21. The Going
  22. The Waste Land, Elliot

The Soldier

Rupert Brooke 1887-1915

If I should die, think only this of me:
  That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever 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 the 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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Love for one’s country – patriotic love – is conveyed in Rupert Brooke’s famous poem The Soldier. At the beginning of the First World War or ‘The Great War’ as it soon came to be called, there was a huge wave of patriotic – even xenophobic – fervour.

Brooke’s poem is now said to typify a kind of sentiment which pervaded the early months of The Great War.

Many young men were brought by such literature to feel keen to enlist, some even lying about their age and medical status, so determined were they to respond to the then Secretary of State, Lord Kitchener’s famous call ‘Your Country Needs You’.

The early general belief among many was upbeat and that the war would surely be a short one, easily over by Christmas 1914; but within just sixteen months, by 1st July 1916, the first day of the ‘Battle of the Somme’, the war had...


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