The Great War

from A Crown of Amaranth, an electronic edition

To the Memory of Rupert Brooke

BUILD his memorial where young flowers and fair,

Not hoary yews, may wreathe the statue's plinth!

Apollo, kissing, killed him unaware,

But with the fate the fragrance he shall share of stricken Hyacinth.

Here, therefore, let the mourning Muses strew

Amaranth and asphodel on his repose:

Above all, let this England which he knew

So well that he could die for her, bring rue

And rosemary and rose.

Waft him, all winds, the scent of English earth!

Let the wood's whisper and the wood-flower's breath

Find, fresh as rain amid the desert's dearth,

The heart that seemed April's appropriate birth;

Sealed April's, too, in death

Deaf to the roar of battle, yet shall he

Hear what the grass says when a light breeze stirs ....

Mothers of men, that men may still be free,

Yield now their sons-Chief Poet, own and see

That Song has spared not hers!


(Who died of sunstroke at Lemnos, on active service with the Royal Naval Division, St. George's Day, 1915.)