As a member of the Royal Naval Division Rupert Brooke died on 13.4.1915 of Sepsis after an insect bite, just two days before the military operation at Gallipoli. He was buried on the island of Skyros. This Sonnet was written by John Magee who wrote the poem ‘High Flight. He was himself was killed in a flying accident on 11.121942 aged 19 years.
‘We laid him in a cool and shadowed grove
One evening, in the dreamy scent of time,
Where leaves were green, and whispered high above
– A grave as humble as it was sublime;
There, dreaming in the fading deeps of light –
The hands that thrilled to touch a woman’s hair;
Brown eyes, that loved the Day, and looked on Night,
A soul that found at last its answered prayer…
There daylight, as a dust, slips through the trees,
And drifting, gilds the fern about his grave –
Where even now, perhaps, the evening breeze
Steals shyly past the tomb of him who gave
New sight to blinded eyes; who sometimes wept-
A short time dearly loved; and after, – slept’
Photos of Rupert Brooke, his grave on Skyros and of John Magee.
G&DI thanks Robert Pike for this information.