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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
Swings the way still by hollow and hill,
    And all the world’s a song;
‘She’s far,’ it sings me, ‘but fair,’ it rings me.
    ‘Quiet,’ it laughs, ‘and strong!’

Oh! spite of the miles and years between us,
    Spite of your chosen part,
I do remember; and I go
    When laughter in my heart.

So above the little
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
If I should die, think only this of me:
   That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England.  There shall be
   In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
   Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English