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About this Poem 

“Fragment” was published in The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke: With a Memoir (Sidgwick & Jackson, Ltd., 1918). 

Fragment

I strayed about the deck, an hour, to-night
Under a cloudy moonless sky; and peeped
In at the windows, watched my friends at table,
Or playing cards, or standing in the doorway,
Or coming out into the darkness. Still
No one could see me.

                                          I would have thought of them
—Heedless, within a week of battle—in pity,
Pride in their strength and in the weight and firmness
And link’d beauty of bodies, and pity that
This gay machine of splendour ’ld soon be broken,
Thought little of, pashed, scattered. …

                                                                        Only, always,
I could but see them—against the lamplight—pass
Like coloured shadows, thinner than filmy glass,
Slight bubbles, fainter than the wave’s faint light,
That broke to phosphorus out in the night,
Perishing things and strange ghosts—soon to die
To other ghosts—this one, or that, or I.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke

English poet Rupert Brooke wrote in an anti-Victorian style, using rustic themes and subjects such as friendship and love, and his poems reflected the mood in England during the years leading up to World War I. 

by this poet

poem
Hand trembling towards hand; the amazing lights
Of heart and eye. They stood on supreme heights.

Ah, the delirious weeks of honeymoon!
   Soon they returned, and, after strange adventures,
Settled at Balham by the end of June.
   Their money was in Can. Pacs. B. Debentures,
And in Antofagastas. Still he went
poem
All night the ways of Heaven were desolate,
    Long roads across a gleaming empty sky.
    Outcast and doomed and driven, you and I,
Alone, serene beyond all love or hate,
Terror or triumph, were content to wait,
    We, silent and all-knowing. Suddenly
    Swept through the heaven low-crouching from on high,
poem
Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,
    Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
    You said, ‘Through glory and ecstasy we pass;
Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,
When we are old, are old….’ ‘And when we die
    All’s over that is ours; and life burns on
Through other lovers,