Rupert Brooke’s Great War Poetry

Author: Rupert Brooke was born in England, in 1887. Brooke, renowned for his World War I poetry, attended Cambridge University on a scholarship and was eventually commissioned to Britain’s Royal Naval Division. His premature death was the result of a mosquito bite that gave him septicemia on April 23, 1915.

Content: The content of Brooke’s poetry is striking. There is a stark contrast between the majority of Great War poets who lent their prose to engraving our imaginations with repugnant images of trenches, diseases, and death, to Brooke’s stanzas that could make a man or woman leave the comfort of their home to rather charge through no-man’s land with bayonet in hand. He is extremely optimistic about the war.

Language: Poetry of this caliber is difficult to read. The language is flowery, and the line breaks sometimes make it hard to complete the whole image which Brooke’s is trying to portray. Perhaps the language would come more easily had it been read by an Englishman one hundred years ago.

Audience: All of England. This is very romantic, pro-nationalist poem that is written for anyone who is scared of, or willing to help the war effort.

Intent: Brooke’s intent is to motivate. Also, to elicit a sense of national pride and honor which can be achieved through sacrificing yourself for England.

Message: Choose glory over life; for there is nothing greater than fighting for England. “But, dying, has made us greater gifts than gold.” He also implies that death is release from this world, which Brook’s seems to think is somewhat dreaded, and that the manner in which you die on the battlefield makes one “Rich” in a sense that is more significant that monetary wealth. Simply put, Brooke’s message is that dying for England is greater than merely living for England.


One thought on “Rupert Brooke’s Great War Poetry

  1. I like how you pointed out his comparison of a honored death in battle for ones country to gold and richness. It shows how dedicate he was to serving his country and dying for it to gain from it in the term you used, “richness.”

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