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Selected Poetry of Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.
        (Heaven, 31-34)
  1. 1914 I. Peace
  2. 1914 II. Safety
  3. 1914 III. The Dead
  4. 1914 IV. The Dead
  5. 1914 V. The Soldier
  6. Heaven
  7. The Old Vicarage, Grantchester
  8. Sonnet Reversed
  9. Tiare Tahiti


Notes on Life and Works

Rupert Brooke was born August 3, 1887, at Rugby, Warwickshire, and educated there and at King's College, Cambridge, which he left with a degree in 1909. His first book of verse, Poems, came out in 1911. After studying briefly in Munich in 1912, he returned to live in England at the Old Vicarage in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire. The next year he travelled abroad in Canada, the United States, and the south seas, particularly Taihiti, where he loved a native woman named Taata Mata. At the start of War World I, Brooke joined the Hood Battalion of the British Naval Division and served in the attack on Antwerp. Over the winter he trained at Blandford Camp in Dorsetshire. His five famous war sonnets appeared in New Numbers in early 1915. They sold in such great quantity that the journal exhausted its war supply of paper and closed down. Brooke left by sea with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force for the Dandanelles in early 1915. At the rank of sub-lieutenant, he died of blood poisoning at sea near Scyros on April 23, 1915, and was buried there. His book, 1914 and Other Poems, was published posthumously in 1915. The nation canonized Brooke after his death, but history ultimately chose Wilfred Owen's anti-war lyrics over Brooke's patriotic war sonnets. This reaction has obscured his merits in poems such as "Heaven," "Tiare Tahiti," and "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester."

Biographical information

Given name: Rupert Chawner
Family name: Brooke
Birth date: 3 August 1887
Death date: 23 April 1915
Nationality: English
Family relations
          father: William Parker Brooke
          mother: Mary Ruth Brooke
Education
          Rugby School
          King's College, Cambridge (B.A.): 1906 to 1909
          Hillbrow: 1897 to 1901
Honours
          Harness prize
          Fellowship at King's College: 1912
Residences
          Rugby: 1887 to 1906
          Old Vicarage, Grantchester, Cambridgeshire: 1909 to 1913
Cause of death: Blood poisoning
Buried at: Skyros
First RPO edition: 1999