The Collected
Poems of
Rupert Brooke


  1. Second Best
  2. Day That I Have Loved
  3. Sleeping Out: Full Moon
  4. In Examination
  5. Pine-Trees and the Sky: Evening
  6. Wagner
  7. The Vision of the Archangels
  8. Seaside
  9. On the Death of Smet-Smet,
    the Hippopotamus-Goddess
  10. The Song of the Pilgrims
  11. The Song of the Beasts
  12. Failure
  13. Ante Aram
  14. Dawn
  15. The Call
  16. The Wayfarers
  17. The Beginning


  18. Sonnet: Oh! Death will find me, long before I tire
  19. Sonnet: I said I splendidly loved you; it's not true.
  20. Success
  21. Dust
  22. Kindliness
  23. Mummia
  24. The Fish
  25. Thoughts on the Shape
    of the Human Body
  26. Flight
  27. The Hill
  28. The One Before the Last
  29. The Jolly Company
  30. The Life Beyond
  31. Lines Written in the Belief That the Ancient Roman Festival of the Dead Was Called Ambarvalia
  32. Dead Men's Love
  33. Town and Country
  34. Paralysis
  35. Menelaus and Helen
  36. Libido
  37. Jealousy
  38. Blue Evening
  39. The Charm
  40. Finding
  41. Song
  42. The Voice
  43. Dining-Room Tea
  44. The Goddess in the Wood
  45. A Channel Passage
  46. Victory
  47. Day and Night


  48. Choriambics -- I
  49. Choriambics -- II
  50. Desertion


  51. I. Peace
  52. II. Safety
  53. III. The Dead
  54. IV. The Dead
  55. V. The Soldier
  56. The Treasure

    The South Seas

  57. Tiare Tahiti
  58. Retrospect
  59. The Great Lover
  60. Heaven
  61. Doubts
  62. There's Wisdom in Women
  63. He Wonders Whether to Praise or to Blame Her
  64. A Memory (From a sonnet-sequence)
  65. One Day
  66. Waikiki
  67. Hauntings
  68. Sonnet (Suggested by some of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research)
  69. Clouds
  70. Mutability

    Other Poems

  71. The Busy Heart
  72. Love
  73. Unfortunate
  74. The Chilterns
  75. Home
  76. The Night Journey
  77. Song
  78. Beauty and Beauty
  79. The Way That Lovers Use
  80. Mary and Gabriel
  81. The Funeral of Youth: Threnody


  82. The Old Vicarage, Grantchester

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Rupert Brooke
The Collected Poems of

Rupert Brooke


Edited for the Web
by Bob Blair

. The Busy Heart

    NOW that we've done our best and worst, and parted,
          I would fill my mind with thoughts that will not rend.
    (O heart, I do not dare go empty-hearted)
          I'll think of Love in books, Love without end;
    Women with child, content; and old men sleeping;
          And wet strong ploughlands, scarred for certain grain;
    And babes that weep, and so forget their weeping;
          And the young heavens, forgetful after rain;
    And evening hush, broken by homing wings;
          And Song's nobility, and Wisdom holy,
    That live, we dead. I would think of a thousand things,
          Lovely and durable, and taste them slowly,
    One after one, like tasting a sweet food.
    I have need to busy my heart with quietude.

    Rupert Brooke

. Love

    LOVE is a breach in the walls, a broken gate,
          Where that comes in that shall not go again;
    Love sells the proud heart's citadel to Fate.
          They have known shame, who love unloved. Even then,
    When two mouths, thirsty each for each, find slaking,
          And agony's forgot, and hushed the crying
    Of credulous hearts, in heaven -- - such are but taking
          Their own poor dreams within their arms, and lying
    Each in his lonely night, each with a ghost.
          Some share that night. But they know love grows colder,
    Grows false and dull, that was sweet lies at most.
          Astonishment is no more in hand or shoulder,
    But darkens, and dies out from kiss to kiss.
    All this is love; and all love is but this.

    Rupert Brooke

. Unfortunate

    HEART, you are restless as a paper scrap
          That's tossed down dusty pavements by the wind;
          Saying, "She is most wise, patient and kind.
    Between the small hands folded in her lap
    Surely a shamed head may bow down at length,
          And find forgiveness where the shadows stir
    About her lips, and wisdom in her strength,
          Peace in her peace. Come to her, come to her!" . . .

    She will not care. She'll smile to see me come,
          So that I think all Heaven in flower to fold me.
          She'll give me all I ask, kiss me and hold me,
               And open wide upon that holy air
    The gates of peace, and take my tiredness home,
               Kinder than God. But, heart, she will not care.

    Rupert Brooke

. The Chilterns

    YOUR hands, my dear, adorable,
          Your lips of tenderness
    -- Oh, I've loved you faithfully and well,
          Three years, or a bit less.
          It wasn't a success.

    Thank God, that's done! and I'll take the road,
          Quit of my youth and you,
    The Roman road to Wendover
          By Tring and Lilley Hoo,
          As a free man may do.

    For youth goes over, the joys that fly,
          The tears that follow fast;
    And the dirtiest things we do must lie
          Forgotten at the last;
          Even Love goes past.

    What's left behind I shall not find,
          The splendour and the pain;
    The splash of sun, the shouting wind,
          And the brave sting of rain,
          I may not meet again.

    But the years, that take the best away,
          Give something in the end;
    And a better friend than love have they,
          For none to mar or mend,
          That have themselves to friend.

    I shall desire and I shall find
          The best of my desires;
    The autumn road, the mellow wind
          That soothes the darkening shires.
          And laughter, and inn-fires.

    White mist about the black hedgerows,
          The slumbering Midland plain,
    The silence where the clover grows,
          And the dead leaves in the lane,
          Certainly, these remain.

    And I shall find some girl perhaps,
          And a better one than you,
    With eyes as wise, but kindlier,
          And lips as soft, but true.
          And I daresay she will do.

    Rupert Brooke

. Home

    I CAME back late and tired last night
          Into my little room,
    To the long chair and the firelight
          And comfortable gloom.

    But as I entered softly in
          I saw a woman there,
    The line of neck and cheek and chin,
          The darkness of her hair,
    The form of one I did not know
          Sitting in my chair.

    I stood a moment fierce and still,
          Watching her neck and hair.
    I made a step to her; and saw
          That there was no one there.

    It was some trick of the firelight
          That made me see her there.
    It was a chance of shade and light
          And the cushion in the chair.

    Oh, all you happy over the earth,
          That night, how could I sleep?
    I lay and watched the lonely gloom;
          And watched the moonlight creep
    From wall to basin, round the room,
          All night I could not sleep.

    Rupert Brooke

. The Night Journey

    HANDS and lit faces eddy to a line;
          The dazed last minutes click; the clamour dies.
    Beyond the great-swung arc o' the roof, divine,
          Night, smoky-scarv'd, with thousand coloured eyes

    Glares the imperious mystery of the way.
          Thirsty for dark, you feel the long-limbed train
    Throb, stretch, thrill motion, slide, pull out and sway,
          Strain for the far, pause, draw to strength again. . . .

    As a man, caught by some great hour, will rise,
          Slow-limbed, to meet the light or find his love;
    And, breathing long, with staring sightless eyes,
          Hands out, head back, agape and silent, move

    Sure as a flood, smooth as a vast wind blowing;
          And, gathering power and purpose as he goes,
    Unstumbling, unreluctant, strong, unknowing,
          Borne by a will not his, that lifts, that grows,

    Sweep out to darkness, triumphing in his goal,
          Out of the fire, out of the little room. . . .
    -- There is an end appointed, O my soul!
          Crimson and green the signals burn; the gloom

    Is hung with steam's far-blowing livid streamers.
          Lost into God, as lights in light, we fly,
    Grown one with will, end-drunken huddled dreamers.
          The white lights roar. The sounds of the world die.

    And lips and laughter are forgotten things.
          Speed sharpens; grows. Into the night, and on,
    The strength and splendour of our purpose swings.
          The lamps fade; and the stars. We are alone.

    Rupert Brooke

. Song

    ALL suddenly the wind comes soft,
          And Spring is here again;
    And the hawthorn quickens with buds of green,
          And my heart with buds of pain.

    My heart all Winter lay so numb,
          The earth so dead and frore,
    That I never thought the Spring would come,
          Or my heart wake any more.

    But Winter's broken and earth has woken,
          And the small birds cry again;
    And the hawthorn hedge puts forth its buds,
          And my heart puts forth its pain.

    Rupert Brooke

. Beauty and Beauty

    WHEN Beauty and Beauty meet
          All naked, fair to fair,
    The earth is crying-sweet,
          And scattering-bright the air,
    Eddying, dizzying, closing round,
          With soft and drunken laughter;
    Veiling all that may befall
          After -- - after -- -

    Where Beauty and Beauty met,
          Earth's still a-tremble there,
    And winds are scented yet,
          And memory-soft the air,
    Bosoming, folding glints of light,
          And shreds of shadowy laughter;
    Not the tears that fill the years
          After -- - after -- -

    Rupert Brooke

. The Way That Lovers Use

    THE way that lovers use is this;
          They bow, catch hands, with never a word,
    And their lips meet, and they do kiss,
          -- - So I have heard.

    They queerly find some healing so,
          And strange attainment in the touch;
    There is a secret lovers know,
          -- - I have read as much.

    And theirs no longer joy nor smart,
          Changing or ending, night or day;
    But mouth to mouth, and heart on heart,
          -- - So lovers say.

    Rupert Brooke

. Mary and Gabriel

    YOUNG Mary, loitering once her garden way,
    Felt a warm splendour grow in the April day,
    As wine that blushes water through. And soon,
    Out of the gold air of the afternoon,
    One knelt before her: hair he had, or fire,
    Bound back above his ears with golden wire,
    Baring the eager marble of his face.
    Not man's nor woman's was the immortal grace
    Rounding the limbs beneath that robe of white,
    And lighting the proud eyes with changeless light,
    Incurious. Calm as his wings, and fair,
    That presence filled the garden.
                                              She stood there,
    Saying, "What would you, Sir?"
                                              He told his word,
    "Blessed art thou of women!" Half she heard,
    Hands folded and face bowed, half long had known,
    The message of that clear and holy tone,
    That fluttered hot sweet sobs about her heart;
    Such serene tidings moved such human smart.
    Her breath came quick as little flakes of snow.
    Her hands crept up her breast. She did but know
    It was not hers. She felt a trembling stir
    Within her body, a will too strong for her
    That held and filled and mastered all. With eyes
    Closed, and a thousand soft short broken sighs,
    She gave submission; fearful, meek, and glad. . . .

    She wished to speak. Under her breasts she had
    Such multitudinous burnings, to and fro,
    And throbs not understood; she did not know
    If they were hurt or joy for her; but only
    That she was grown strange to herself, half lonely,
    All wonderful, filled full of pains to come
    And thoughts she dare not think, swift thoughts and dumb,
    Human, and quaint, her own, yet very far,
    Divine, dear, terrible, familiar . . .
    Her heart was faint for telling; to relate
    Her limbs' sweet treachery, her strange high estate,
    Over and over, whispering, half revealing,
    Weeping; and so find kindness to her healing.
    'Twixt tears and laughter, panic hurrying her,
    She raised her eyes to that fair messenger.
    He knelt unmoved, immortal; with his eyes
    Gazing beyond her, calm to the calm skies;
    Radiant, untroubled in his wisdom, kind.
    His sheaf of lilies stirred not in the wind.
    How should she, pitiful with mortality,
    Try the wide peace of that felicity
    With ripples of her perplexed shaken heart,
    And hints of human ecstasy, human smart,
    And whispers of the lonely weight she bore,
    And how her womb within was hers no more
    And at length hers?
                                Being tired, she bowed her head;
    And said, "So be it!"
                                              The great wings were spread
    Showering glory on the fields, and fire.
    The whole air, singing, bore him up, and higher,
    Unswerving, unreluctant. Soon he shone
    A gold speck in the gold skies; then was gone.

    The air was colder, and grey. She stood alone.

Rupert Brooke

. The Funeral of Youth: Threnody

    THE day that youth had died,
    There came to his grave-side,
    In decent mourning, from the country's ends,
    Those scatter'd friends
    Who had lived the boon companions of his prime,
    And laughed with him and sung with him and wasted,
    In feast and wine and many-crown'd carouse,
    The days and nights and dawnings of the time
    When youth kept open house,
    Nor left untasted
    Aught of his high emprise and ventures dear,
    No quest of his unshar'd -- -
    All these, with loitering feet and sad head bar'd,
    Followed their old friend's bier.
    Folly went first,
    With muffled bells and coxcomb still revers'd;
    And after trod the bearers, hat in hand -- -
    Laughter, most hoarse, and Captain Pride with tanned
    And martial face all grim, and fussy Joy,
    Who had to catch a train, and Lust, poor, snivelling boy;
    These bore the dear departed.
    Behind them, broken-hearted,
    Came Grief, so noisy a widow, that all said,
    "Had he but wed
    Her elder sister Sorrow, in her stead!"
    And by her, trying to soothe her all the time,
    The fatherless children, Colour, Tune,, and Rhyme
    (The sweet lad Rhyme), ran all-uncomprehending.
    Then, at the way's sad ending,
    Round the raw grave they stay'd. Old Wisdom read,
    In mumbling tone, the Service for the Dead.
    There stood Romance,
    The furrowing tears had mark'd her rouged cheek;
    Poor old Conceit, his wonder unassuaged;
    Dead Innocency's daughter, Ignorance;
    And shabby, ill-dress'd Generosity;
    And Argument, too full of woe to speak;
    Passion, grown portly, something middle-aged;
    And Friendship -- - not a minute older, she;
    Impatience, ever taking out his watch;
    Faith, who was deaf, and had to lean, to catch
    Old Wisdom's endless drone.
    Beauty was there,
    Pale in her black; dry-eyed; she stood alone.
    Poor maz'd Imagination; Fancy wild;
    Ardour, the sunlight on his greying hair;
    Contentment, who had known Youth as a child
    And never seen him since. And Spring came too,
    Dancing over the tombs, and brought him flowers -- -
    She did not stay for long.
    And Truth, and Grace, and all the merry crew,
    The laughing Winds and Rivers, and lithe Hours;
    And Hope, the dewy-eyed; and sorrowing Song; -- -
    Yes, with much woe and mourning general,
    At dead Youth's funeral,
    Even these were met once more together, all,
    Who erst the fair and living Youth did know;
    All, except only Love. Love had died long ago.

    Rupert Brooke

. The Old Vicarage, Grantchester

    (Cafe des Westens, Berlin, May 1912)

    JUST now the lilac is in bloom,
    All before my little room;
    And in my flower-beds, I think,
    Smile the carnation and the pink;
    And down the borders, well I know,
    The poppy and the pansy blow . . .
    Oh! there the chestnuts, summer through,
    Beside the river make for you
    A tunnel of green gloom, and sleep
    Deeply above; and green and deep
    The stream mysterious glides beneath,
    Green as a dream and deep as death.
    -- Oh, damn! I know it! and I know
    How the May fields all golden show,
    And when the day is young and sweet,
    Gild gloriously the bare feet
    That run to bathe . . .
                            `Du lieber Gott!'

    Here am I, sweating, sick, and hot,
    And there the shadowed waters fresh
    Lean up to embrace the naked flesh.
    Temperamentvoll German Jews
    Drink beer around; -- - and there the dews
    Are soft beneath a morn of gold.
    Here tulips bloom as they are told;
    Unkempt about those hedges blows
    An English unofficial rose;
    And there the unregulated sun
    Slopes down to rest when day is done,
    And wakes a vague unpunctual star,
    A slippered Hesper; and there are
    Meads towards Haslingfield and Coton
    Where das Betreten's not verboten.

    Uítu gunoímen . . . would I were
    In Grantchester, in Grantchester! -- -
    Some, it may be, can get in touch
    With Nature there, or Earth, or such.
    And clever modern men have seen
    A Faun a-peeping through the green,
    And felt the Classics were not dead,
    To glimpse a Naiad's reedy head,
    Or hear the Goat-foot piping low: . . .
    But these are things I do not know.
    I only know that you may lie
    Day long and watch the Cambridge sky,
    And, flower-lulled in sleepy grass,
    Hear the cool lapse of hours pass,
    Until the centuries blend and blur
    In Grantchester, in Grantchester. . . .
    Still in the dawnlit waters cool
    His ghostly Lordship swims his pool,
    And tries the strokes, essays the tricks,
    Long learnt on Hellespont, or Styx.
    Dan Chaucer hears his river still
    Chatter beneath a phantom mill.
    Tennyson notes, with studious eye,
    How Cambridge waters hurry by . . .
    And in that garden, black and white,
    Creep whispers through the grass all night;
    And spectral dance, before the dawn,
    A hundred Vicars down the lawn;
    Curates, long dust, will come and go
    On lissom, clerical, printless toe;
    And oft between the boughs is seen
    The sly shade of a Rural Dean . . .
    Till, at a shiver in the skies,
    Vanishing with Satanic cries,
    The prim ecclesiastic rout
    Leaves but a startled sleeper-out,
    Grey heavens, the first bird's drowsy calls,
    The falling house that never falls.

    God! I will pack, and take a train,
    And get me to England once again!
    For England's the one land, I know,
    Where men with Splendid Hearts may go;
    And Cambridgeshire, of all England,
    The shire for Men who Understand;
    And of that district I prefer
    The lovely hamlet Grantchester.
    For Cambridge people rarely smile,
    Being urban, squat, and packed with guile;
    And Royston men in the far South
    Are black and fierce and strange of mouth;
    At Over they fling oaths at one,
    And worse than oaths at Trumpington,
    And Ditton girls are mean and dirty,
    And there's none in Harston under thirty,
    And folks in Shelford and those parts
    Have twisted lips and twisted hearts,
    And Barton men make Cockney rhymes,
    And Coton's full of nameless crimes,
    And things are done you'd not believe
    At Madingley on Christmas Eve.
    Strong men have run for miles and miles,
    When one from Cherry Hinton smiles;
    Strong men have blanched, and shot their wives,
    Rather than send them to St. Ives;
    Strong men have cried like babes, bydam,
    To hear what happened at Babraham.
    But Grantchester! ah, Grantchester!
    There's peace and holy quiet there,
    Great clouds along pacific skies,
    And men and women with straight eyes,
    Lithe children lovelier than a dream,
    A bosky wood, a slumbrous stream,
    And little kindly winds that creep
    Round twilight corners, half asleep.
    In Grantchester their skins are white;
    They bathe by day, they bathe by night;
    The women there do all they ought;
    The men observe the Rules of Thought.
    They love the Good; they worship Truth;
    They laugh uproariously in youth;
    (And when they get to feeling old,
    They up and shoot themselves, I'm told) . . .

    Ah God! to see the branches stir
    Across the moon at Grantchester!
    To smell the thrilling-sweet and rotten
    Unforgettable, unforgotten
    River-smell, and hear the breeze
    Sobbing in the little trees.
    Say, do the elm-clumps greatly stand
    Still guardians of that holy land?
    The chestnuts shade, in reverend dream,
    The yet unacademic stream?
    Is dawn a secret shy and cold
    Anadyomene, silver-gold?
    And sunset still a golden sea
    From Haslingfield to Madingley?
    And after, ere the night is born,
    Do hares come out about the corn?
    Oh, is the water sweet and cool,
    Gentle and brown, above the pool?
    And laughs the immortal river still
    Under the mill, under the mill?
    Say, is there Beauty yet to find?
    And Certainty? and Quiet kind?
    Deep meadows yet, for to forget
    The lies, and truths, and pain? . . . oh! yet
    Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
    And is there honey still for tea?

    Rupert Brooke

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