By Dr Oliver Tearle
Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) is often considered a war poet, though he died early on in the First World War and never wrote about the gritty realities of fighting which Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, and Isaac Rosenberg described, nor did he subject the mismanagement of the war to the trenchant analysis that later poets did. ‘The Soldier’ belongs to an earlier stage in the War, when people were overall more optimistic and patriotic: the poem was read aloud in St Paul’s Cathedral in Easter 1915, shortly before Brooke’s death. The poem captures the patriotic mood. Here, then, is ‘The Soldier’, with a little analysis of its meaning and its language.