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.
About "The Soldier
Rupert Brooke is often considered a "Georgian" poet, referring to the 20th century British movement named in honor of King George V. A soldier during World War I, Brooke died of dysentery and blood poisoning aboard a troop ship. Winston Churchill used the occasion of Brooke's death, as well as his posthumous collection 1914 and Other Poems to reinforce a recruitment drive.
This poem is considered to be an English nationalist poem, written in 1914. It glorifies the heroism of the English soldiers who fought in WWI. This poem is pointing out that war is not always started for the reasons that your government tells you; there is a larger picture to consider. It is often read at the memorial services of soldiers. In WWI, soldiers were not always able to bring back the bodies of their dead comrades. In France, dead soldiers were buried in the national cemetery, if their remains were found. However, there is a huge field dedicated to the unknown soldiers. As far as you can see there are only white crosses with names on them, but the names on the crosses don't necessarily match up with the bodies that are underneath them. "If I should die...forever England" (lines 1-3). He is saying that if he dies in battle he will forever remain in that foreign field and since his dead body is there, it is like that part of the field belongs to England, because he belongs to England. "There shall be...dust concealed" (lines 3-4). The ground that he dies on is made better, because he has died there. It conceals the soul of a great man who died for his country. "A dust...suns of home" (lines 5-8). England was his birth place and it shaped what kind of person he became. It influenced his thoughts and beliefs. England taught him about love, loyalty, and honor. His death will be forever blest by England. His soul will be immortal, because he fought for England. "And think...no less" (lines 9-10). His death is justified, because he died for England. His evil deeds don't matter anymore, because he did what was right; he fought for his country. "Gives somewhere...happy as her day" (lines 11-12). His death allows him to only remember the good things about England. It also allows for someone else to come and take his place. He is passing on all the dreams and thoughts that England taught him onto the next generation of soldier; so that he can fight with as much heart and honor as he did. "And laughter...under an English heaven" (lines 13-14). These final lines are showing the happiness that England has given him. And because he fought for England he will forever be at peace in an English heaven with only good thoughts and laughter in his heart.