Rupert Brooke

Rupert Brooke’s Life

The full name of Rupert Brooke is Rupert Chawner Brooke. His middle name is often pronounced as “Chaucer”. Brooke is a well-known English poet during the World War I. Born on 3rd August, 1887 at 5 Hillmorton Road, Warwickshire, England, Brooke lived a happy and comfortable childhood. He studied at Rugby – a reputable British school where his father was housemaster.

He grew into a handsome young man, a six feet tall sportsman, and a highly intellectual individual. Hence, he captured the attention of both genders. He was interested in the games of cricket and rugby. He was highly creative; in fact he began writing verses when he was only nine years old. In 1905, he won the Rugby School’s poetry prize. In addition to his grandfather, Hillaire Belloc and Robert Browning are the main figures who had influenced him to have great love and passion for poetry.

A year after Brooke won the poetry award, he moved to King’s College, Cambridge where he became more popular and became friends with famous writers such as E.M Forster, Virginia Woolf and Maynard Keynes who were also studying in Cambridge. He broadened his social circle and became President of Fabian Society which was a union in the university. Then, he moved out of Cambridge and entered into an elite circle, lodged in Grantchester. There, he created poems based on his English country life and worked on his thesis. These poems became his first collection. The said collection became known as “Poems 1911”. After which, he went to Germany to study the German language. He also got acquainted with the Georgian Poets, a group of popular poets whose members included John Drinkwater, D. H. Lawrence, and Walter de la Mare.

In 1912, Brooke had to deal with a severe mental crisis due to sexual jealousy and confusion. As a result, his relationship with Katherine Laird Cox was destroyed. He also was involved with Kathleen Nesbitt, who was an actress. He gained more recognition as a poet in 1915 through his two sonnets, “The Dead” and “The Soldier”. He also got commissioned in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve for a short time and died on 28th February 1915 due to sepsis developed from a mosquito bite infection. Winston Churchill wrote Brooke’s obituary in The Times.

Rupert Brooke’s Works

He relocated to Grantchester Village near Cambridge, in 1909. This place was his inspiration in his poem, “The Old Vicarage Grantchester” in 1912. In 1915, he published 1914 &Other Poems. Brooke went to Canada and the United States as part of his mental recovery. He wrote his travel diaries for the Westminster Gazette. He became popular as a poet in 1915 when The Times Literary Supplement had mentioned his two war sonnets – “The Dead” and “The Soldier”. In these poems, he wrote passionately about patriotism, purpose, maturity, and romantic death.

At that time, he was enthusiastic and patriotic and his literary pieces were filled with his belief that God gave him the mission to fight against the Germans and that his previous life of traveling and study was frivolous. Also, he believed that the people of Belgium were wrongly directed by the Germans; thus, they needed enlightenment.

Rupert Brooke’s Style and Popular Poems

Rupert Brooke wrote his poems in neo-Romantic style, inspired by the style of Georgian poets. His famous poems are “The Peace”, “The Dead”, “The Soldier”, “And Love has Changed to Kindliness”, “Blue Evening”, “Retrospect”, “A Channel Passage”, and “Beauty and Beauty”.

More About Rupert Brooke

Brooke’s thesis on “John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama”, which he prepared during his visit to Europe, won him a fellowship in 1906 for King’s College in Cambridge.

Brooke’s popularity is credited to both his creative writing skills and his handsome face. D.H Lawrence praised him for his poetic gift and literary achievements. The great Irish poet and writer W.B Yeats said that Brooke was “the most handsome man in Britain”. He was also famous among his circles as the most handsome poet of his age.