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ENGLISH SONG: THE SOLDIER
Text: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) Poet.
Music: Gerald Manning
A contemporary of Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen (1893-1918), in a draft preface to his �Complete Poems and Fragments� wrote �My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.� In 1962 the English composer Benjamin Britten combined several of the poems with the Latin mass for the dead in his �War Requiem�. Both Brooke and Owen expressed in their �war sonnets�, a horror of the cruelty and waste of war. Both were killed in action; Owen on the Western Front on his return to France, a week before the armistice, and Brooke a commissioned officer of blood-poisoning on active service en route to the Dardanelles; he was buried on the island of Skyros in Greece.
Shortly before he died his poem �The Soldier� (If I should die, think only this of me��) was published early in 1915. Brooke�s good looks and early death ensured his transformation into a symbol of romantic patriotism, and his verse is characteristically Georgian, colloquial and nostalgic.
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