Baylor College Medical School

11. "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke and From "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen

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 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.

Questions:

1. What does Brooke remember about his life in England?

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Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed

through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost

their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame;

all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines (shells)

that dropped behing.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--an ecstasy

of fumbling,

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out

and stumbling

And flound' ring like a man in fire of lime....

Dim, through the misty panes and thick

green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowining.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering,

choking, drowning.

Questions:

2. In Owen's poem, what weapon of war do the soldiers encounter in the second verse? What do they do? What happens to one of them?

Question:

3. Make Comparisons...Please compare the two pictures of war - and of dying in war-that these poets give. If Brooke had lived long enough to serve in trench war, do you think he might have written differently?

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1) He remembers the land, the countryside, the beauty, the peace, and the innocence.

2) Poison gas

3) WWI changed the world. There was nothing glorious about it. This war was the first to use technology causing mass death. It was an ugly, ugly war. Had Brookelived long enough to serve in WWI, his opinions would be far less romantic.