William Brooke (1887-1915) was born at Rugby, England and studied at the famous Rugby school. He published his first collection of poems in the year 1911, when he was just 24. At the world war, he joined the Royal Naval force and died at the age of 28, of blood poisoning. He became the most popular among the war poets. This poem “The Soldier” was considered as a prophetic sonnet.
Sonnet was the most popular and effective literary form used by the poets to communicate a single idea effectively. Usually a sonnet would be divided into an octave (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines). In the octave part of the poem, the poet began his poem dramatically. Even if he was dead in a foreign land and was buried there, that corner would become forever England.
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England
The place where the British Soldier sacrifice their lives, facing death would become a richer place because it consisted of the dusty remains of love for their soldiers. The soldiers of England who breathed and enjoyed the English air, were washed by the rivers, who were blessed by the Divinely objects like sun.
In the sestet part of the poem, the poet captured the Indian concept of Jeevathman and Paramathman. The heart of these dead soldiers were freed from all the evil, Ideas and became a part and parcel of the universal soul.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind…
Whatever England gave to its sons, they gave to it others.
The dream of Happiness shared with friends in a gentle manner and their hearts fully, immersed with peace was achieved by the soldiers. Thus, the poet aspired of achieving happiness shared in gentle manner with peace.
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness.,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Thus, the poet very effectively summed up in the sonnet form the sacrifices of the Dead English Soldiers.