• Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour, 
  • And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping, 
  • With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power, 
  • To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping, 
  • Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary, 
  • Leave the sick hearts that honor could not move, 
  • And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary, 
  • And all the little emptiness of love!
  • Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
  • Where there’s no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
  • Naught broken save this body, lost but breath; 
  • Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there 
  • But only agony, and that has ending; 
  • And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

Rupert Brooke (1887–1915) was an English poet most famous for his war sonnets written during World War I (“If I should die, think only this of me:/That there’s some corner of a foreign field/ That is forever England…” etc.). Strikingly handsome, Brooke epitomized the youthful English flower mowed down by the cruelty of the so-called “Great War.” Ironically, although Brooke enlisted in the British Army to fight in the war, he died before seeing action, succumbing to an infected mosquito bite. Brooke was a representative of the Georgian poets and a member of the Bloomsbury group of writers. While some of his poetry is dated, other works have transcended their day — especially those like “Peace,” which appears in his most popular book,
1914 & Other Poems.

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