“The Soldier” is the fifth and final sonnet in Rupert Brooke’s sequence entitled “1914” (published 1915), which responds to the advent of the First World War, its author having enlisted for active service with the Royal Naval Division in September 1914. It quickly became his most famous poem, and helped to elevate him, after his death on 23 April 1915, into a sort of national hero. Its reputation has suffered in the light of the later and more realistic war poems of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and others, but it memorably captures an English patriotic mood belonging to an early phase of the conflict very different from the trench-war stalemate of 1916-18.
If I should die, think only this of me:
Citation: Baldick, Chris. "The Soldier". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 January 2015 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35549, accessed 29 January 2023.]