Chester
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Can anyone help me annotate it? I have done his other four sonnets, but I just can't do this one. Any help much appreciated!

f 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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Forgotmytea
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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.
  • The poem was written in 1915, and so we can expect it to be stereotypically pro-war.
  • This is confirmed in the actual poem - it is idealised, portraying war as a glorious event.
  • "If I should die, think only this of me" - note the word, "if" - not certain! But the death that Brooke describes is still idealised as the earth nurtures him, caring like a maternal figure.
  • Contrast to Siegfried Sassoon's "Glory of women", where the german soldier's "face is trampled deeper into the mud" - here the mud is a destructive, angry entity, claiming the lives of soldiers as it sucks them under.
  • "And laughter ... friends ... gentleness" - all of this are very positive, portraying death as a good experience. Compare to "A dead Boche" and "In FLander's fields" - "We are the Dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, and now we lie in FLander's fields".
  • Patriotic is a good way to describe this poem - everything is "English" and better. Englnd is also portrayed as maternal, "a dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware"

That's all I can think of at the moment - [blatant promotion] there's a good link in my sig ("WWI revision") that leads to a discussion thread, and so posting it there might bring out lots more good ideas - it certainly has for the poems we've already looked at! [/blatant promotion]

-Saruman
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PinkPigeon
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I think it's also worth noting, on a context basis, that Brooke's actual experience of the war was one day of limited military action, so he didn't serve a long time in the trenches or fighting.

Also, the Times glorified this poem as 'an important and patriotic document of national preperation for war.'
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Chester
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Thanks guys! You're both brilliant!
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mrs wellington
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I love Whitbread and Macbeth and crime fiction
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