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Best Famous Rupert Brooke Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Rupert Brooke poems. This is a select list of the best famous Rupert Brooke poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Rupert Brooke poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Rupert Brooke poems.

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Written by Rupert Brooke |

A Letter to a Live Poet

 Sir, since the last Elizabethan died,
Or, rather, that more Paradisal muse,
Blind with much light, passed to the light more glorious
Or deeper blindness, no man's hand, as thine,
Has, on the world's most noblest chord of song,
Struck certain magic strains.
Ears satiate With the clamorous, timorous whisperings of to-day, Thrilled to perceive once more the spacious voice And serene unterrance of old.
We heard -- With rapturous breath half-held, as a dreamer dreams Who dares not know it dreaming, lest he wake -- The odorous, amorous style of poetry, The melancholy knocking of those lines, The long, low soughing of pentameters, -- Or the sharp of rhyme as a bird's cry -- And the innumerable truant polysyllables Multitudinously twittering like a bee.
Fulfilled our hearts were with the music then, And all the evenings sighed it to the dawn, And all the lovers heard it from all the trees.
All of the accents upon the all the norms! -- And ah! the stress of the penultimate! We never knew blank verse could have such feet.
Where is it now? Oh, more than ever, now I sometimes think no poetry is read Save where some sepultured C?sura bled, Royally incarnadining all the line.
Is the imperial iamb laid to rest, And the young trochee, having done enough? Ah! turn again! Sing so to us, who are sick Of seeming-simple rhymes, bizarre emotions, Decked in the simple verses of the day, Infinite meaning in a little gloom, Irregular thoughts in stanzas regular, Modern despair in antique metres, myths Incomprehensible at evening, And symbols that mean nothing in the dawn.
The slow lines swell.
The new style sighs.
The Celt Moans round with many voices.
God! to see Gaunt anap?sts stand up out of the verse, Combative accents, stress where no stress should be, Spondee on spondee, iamb on choriamb, The thrill of all the tribrachs in the world, And all the vowels rising to the E! To hear the blessed mutter of those verbs, Conjunctions passionate toward each other's arms, And epithets like amaranthine lovers Stretching luxuriously to the stars, All prouder pronouns than the dawn, and all The thunder of the trumpets of the noun!

Written by Joyce Kilmer |

The Proud Poet

 (For Shaemas O Sheel)

One winter night a Devil came and sat upon my bed,
His eyes were full of laughter for his heart was full of crime.
"Why don't you take up fancy work, or embroidery?" he said, "For a needle is as manly a tool as a pen that makes a rhyme!" "You little ugly Devil," said I, "go back to Hell For the idea you express I will not listen to: I have trouble enough with poetry and poverty as well, Without having to pay attention to orators like you.
"When you say of the making of ballads and songs that it is woman's work You forget all the fighting poets that have been in every land.
There was Byron who left all his lady-loves to fight against the Turk, And David, the Singing King of the Jews, who was born with a sword in his hand.
It was yesterday that Rupert Brooke went out to the Wars and died, And Sir Philip Sidney's lyric voice was as sweet as his arm was strong; And Sir Walter Raleigh met the axe as a lover meets his bride, Because he carried in his soul the courage of his song.
"And there is no consolation so quickening to the heart As the warmth and whiteness that come from the lines of noble poetry.
It is strong joy to read it when the wounds of the spirit smart, It puts the flame in a lonely breast where only ashes be.
It is strong joy to read it, and to make it is a thing That exalts a man with a sacreder pride than any pride on earth.
For it makes him kneel to a broken slave and set his foot on a king, And it shakes the walls of his little soul with the echo of God's mirth.
"There was the poet Homer had the sorrow to be blind, Yet a hundred people with good eyes would listen to him all night; For they took great enjoyment in the heaven of his mind, And were glad when the old blind poet let them share his powers of sight.
And there was Heine lying on his mattress all day long, He had no wealth, he had no friends, he had no joy at all, Except to pour his sorrow into little cups of song, And the world finds in them the magic wine that his broken heart let fall.
"And these are only a couple of names from a list of a thousand score Who have put their glory on the world in poverty and pain.
And the title of poet's a noble thing, worth living and dying for, Though all the devils on earth and in Hell spit at me their disdain.
It is stern work, it is perilous work, to thrust your hand in the sun And pull out a spark of immortal flame to warm the hearts of men: But Prometheus, torn by the claws and beaks whose task is never done, Would be tortured another eternity to go stealing fire again.

Written by 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 roug?d 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.

More great poems below...

Written by Rupert Brooke |


 When I see you, who were so wise and cool,
Gazing with silly sickness on that fool
You've given your love to, your adoring hands
Touch his so intimately that each understands,
I know, most hidden things; and when I know
Your holiest dreams yield to the stupid bow
Of his red lips, and that the empty grace
Of those strong legs and arms, that rosy face,
Has beaten your heart to such a flame of love,
That you have given him every touch and move,
Wrinkle and secret of you, all your life,
-- Oh! then I know I'm waiting, lover-wife,
For the great time when love is at a close,
And all its fruit's to watch the thickening nose
And sweaty neck and dulling face and eye,
That are yours, and you, most surely, till you die!
Day after day you'll sit with him and note
The greasier tie, the dingy wrinkling coat;
As prettiness turns to pomp, and strength to fat,
And love, love, love to habit!
And after that,
When all that's fine in man is at an end,
And you, that loved young life and clean, must tend
A foul sick fumbling dribbling body and old,
When his rare lips hang flabby and can't hold
Slobber, and you're enduring that worst thing,
Senility's queasy furtive love-making,
And searching those dear eyes for human meaning,
Propping the bald and helpless head, and cleaning
A scrap that life's flung by, and love's forgotten, --
Then you'll be tired; and passion dead and rotten;
And he'll be dirty, dirty!
O lithe and free
And lightfoot, that the poor heart cries to see,
That's how I'll see your man and you! --

But you
-- Oh, when THAT time comes, you'll be dirty too!

Written by Rupert Brooke |

A Memory

 (From a sonnet-sequence)

Somewhile before the dawn I rose, and stept 
Softly along the dim way to your room, 
And found you sleeping in the quiet gloom, 
And holiness about you as you slept.
I knelt there; till your waking fingers crept About my head, and held it.
I had rest Unhoped this side of Heaven, beneath your breast.
I knelt a long time, still; nor even wept.
It was great wrong you did me; and for gain Of that poor moment’s kindliness, and ease, And sleepy mother-comfort! Child, you know How easily love leaps out to dreams like these, Who has seen them true.
And love that’s wakened so Takes all too long to lay asleep again.

Written by Rupert Brooke |

The Song of the Pilgrims

 (Halted around the fire by night, after moon-set, they sing this beneath the trees.
) What light of unremembered skies Hast thou relumed within our eyes, Thou whom we seek, whom we shall find? .
A certain odour on the wind, Thy hidden face beyond the west, These things have called us; on a quest Older than any road we trod, More endless than desire.
Far God, Sigh with thy cruel voice, that fills The soul with longing for dim hills And faint horizons! For there come Grey moments of the antient dumb Sickness of travel, when no song Can cheer us; but the way seems long; And one remembers.
Ah! the beat Of weary unreturning feet, And songs of pilgrims unreturning! .
The fires we left are always burning On the old shrines of home.
Our kin Have built them temples, and therein Pray to the Gods we know; and dwell In little houses lovable, Being happy (we remember how!) And peaceful even to death.
O Thou, God of all long desirous roaming, Our hearts are sick of fruitless homing, And crying after lost desire.
Hearten us onward! as with fire Consuming dreams of other bliss.
The best Thou givest, giving this Sufficient thing -- to travel still Over the plain, beyond the hill, Unhesitating through the shade, Amid the silence unafraid, Till, at some sudden turn, one sees Against the black and muttering trees Thine altar, wonderfully white, Among the Forests of the Night.

Written by Rupert Brooke |

Funeral Of Youth The: 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.

Written by Rupert Brooke |

The Fish

 In a cool curving world he lies
And ripples with dark ecstasies.
The kind luxurious lapse and steal Shapes all his universe to feel And know and be; the clinging stream Closes his memory, glooms his dream, Who lips the roots o' the shore, and glides Superb on unreturning tides.
Those silent waters weave for him A fluctuant mutable world and dim, Where wavering masses bulge and gape Mysterious, and shape to shape Dies momently through whorl and hollow, And form and line and solid follow Solid and line and form to dream Fantastic down the eternal stream; An obscure world, a shifting world, Bulbous, or pulled to thin, or curled, Or serpentine, or driving arrows, Or serene slidings, or March narrows.
There slipping wave and shore are one, And weed and mud.
No ray of sun, But glow to glow fades down the deep (As dream to unknown dream in sleep); Shaken translucency illumes The hyaline of drifting glooms; The strange soft-handed depth subdues Drowned colour there, but black to hues, As death to living, decomposes— Red darkness of the heart of roses, Blue brilliant from dead starless skies, And gold that lies behind the eyes, The unknown unnameable sightless white That is the essential flame of night, Lustreless purple, hooded green, The myriad hues that lie between Darkness and darkness!.
And all's one, Gentle, embracing, quiet, dun, The world he rests in, world he knows, Perpetual curving.
Only—grows An eddy in that ordered falling, A knowledge from the gloom, a calling Weed in the wave, gleam in the mud— The dark fire leaps along his blood; Dateless and deathless, blind and still, The intricate impulse works its will; His woven world drops back; and he, Sans providence, sans memory, Unconscious and directly driven, Fades to some dark sufficient heaven.
O world of lips, O world of laughter, Where hope is fleet, and thought flies after, Of lights in the clear night, of cries That drift along the wave and rise Thin to the glittering stars above, You know the hands, the eyes of love! The strife of limbs, the sightless clinging, The infinite distance, and the singing Blown by the wind, a flame of sound, The gleam, the flowers, and vast around The horizon, and the heights above— You know the sigh, the long of love! But there the night is close, and there Darkness is cold and strange and bare; And the secret deeps are whisperless; And rhythm is all deliciousness; And joy is in the throbbing tide, Whose intricate fingers beat and glide In felt bewildering harmonies Of trembling touch; and music is The exquisite knocking of the blood.
Space is no more, under the mud; His bliss is older than the sun.
Silent and straight the waters run.
The lights, the cries, the willows dim, And the dark tide are one with him.

Written by Rupert Brooke |


 I think if you had loved me when I wanted;
If I'd looked up one day, and seen your eyes,
And found my wild sick blasphemous prayer granted,
And your brown face, that's full of pity and wise,
Flushed suddenly; the white godhead in new fear
Intolerably so struggling, and so shamed;
Most holy and far, if you'd come all too near,
If earth had seen Earth's lordliest wild limbs tamed,
Shaken, and trapped, and shivering, for MY touch --
Myself should I have slain? or that foul you?
But this the strange gods, who had given so much,
To have seen and known you, this they might not do.
One last shame's spared me, one black word's unspoken; And I'm alone; and you have not awoken.

Written by John Betjeman |

The Olympic Girl

 The sort of girl I like to see
Smiles down from her great height at me.
She stands in strong, athletic pose And wrinkles her retrouss? nose.
Is it distaste that makes her frown, So furious and freckled, down On an unhealthy worm like me? Or am I what she likes to see? I do not know, though much I care, xxxxxxxx.
would I were (Forgive me, shade of Rupert Brooke) An object fit to claim her look.
Oh! would I were her racket press'd With hard excitement to her breast And swished into the sunlit air Arm-high above her tousled hair, And banged against the bounding ball "Oh! Plung!" my tauten'd strings would call, "Oh! Plung! my darling, break my strings For you I will do brilliant things.
" And when the match is over, I Would flop beside you, hear you sigh; And then with what supreme caress, You'd tuck me up into my press.
Fair tigress of the tennis courts, So short in sleeve and strong in shorts, Little, alas, to you I mean, For I am bald and old and green.

Written by Rupert Brooke |


 Because God put His adamantine fate
Between my sullen heart and its desire,
I swore that I would burst the Iron Gate,
Rise up, and curse Him on His throne of fire.
Earth shuddered at my crown of blasphemy, But Love was as a flame about my feet; Proud up the Golden Stair I strode; and beat Thrice on the Gate, and entered with a cry -- All the great courts were quiet in the sun, And full of vacant echoes: moss had grown Over the glassy pavement, and begun To creep within the dusty council-halls.
An idle wind blew round an empty throne And stirred the heavy curtains on the walls.

Written by Rupert Brooke |


 When the white flame in us is gone,
And we that lost the world's delight
Stiffen in darkness, left alone
To crumble in our separate night;

When your swift hair is quiet in death,
And through the lips corruption thrust
Has stilled the labour of my breath --
When we are dust, when we are dust! --

Not dead, not undesirous yet,
Still sentient, still unsatisfied,
We'll ride the air, and shine, and flit,
Around the places where we died,

And dance as dust before the sun,
And light of foot, and unconfined,
Hurry from road to road, and run
About the errands of the wind.
And every mote, on earth or air, Will speed and gleam, down later days, And like a secret pilgrim fare By eager and invisible ways, Nor ever rest, nor ever lie, Till, beyond thinking, out of view, One mote of all the dust that's I Shall meet one atom that was you.
Then in some garden hushed from wind, Warm in a sunset's afterglow, The lovers in the flowers will find A sweet and strange unquiet grow Upon the peace; and, past desiring, So high a beauty in the air, And such a light, and such a quiring, And such a radiant ecstasy there, They'll know not if it's fire, or dew, Or out of earth, or in the height, Singing, or flame, or scent, or hue, Or two that pass, in light, to light, Out of the garden, higher, higher.
But in that instant they shall learn The shattering ecstasy of our fire, And the weak passionless hearts will burn And faint in that amazing glow, Until the darkness close above; And they will know -- poor fools, they'll know! -- One moment, what it is to love.

Written by Rupert Brooke |


 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.

Written by Rupert Brooke |

Menelaus and Helen


Hot through Troy's ruin Menelaus broke
To Priam's palace, sword in hand, to sate
On that adulterous whore a ten years' hate
And a king's honour.
Through red death, and smoke, And cries, and then by quieter ways he strode, Till the still innermost chamber fronted him.
He swung his sword, and crashed into the dim Luxurious bower, flaming like a god.
High sat white Helen, lonely and serene.
He had not remembered that she was so fair, And that her neck curved down in such a way; And he felt tired.
He flung the sword away, And kissed her feet, and knelt before her there, The perfect Knight before the perfect Queen.
II So far the poet.
How should he behold That journey home, the long connubial years? He does not tell you how white Helen bears Child on legitimate child, becomes a scold, Haggard with virtue.
Menelaus bold Waxed garrulous, and sacked a hundred Troys 'Twixt noon and supper.
And her golden voice Got shrill as he grew deafer.
And both were old.
Often he wonders why on earth he went Troyward, or why poor Paris ever came.
Oft she weeps, gummy-eyed and impotent; Her dry shanks twitch at Paris' mumbled name.
So Menelaus nagged; and Helen cried; And Paris slept on by Scamander side.

Written by Rupert Brooke |

The Treasure

 When colour goes home into the eyes,
And lights that shine are shut again,
With dancing girls and sweet birds' cries
Behind the gateways of the brain;
And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
The rainbow and the rose:— 

Still may Time hold some golden space
Where I'll unpack that scented store
Of song and flower and sky and face,
And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
Musing upon them: as a mother, who
Has watched her children all the rich day through,
Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,
When children sleep, ere night.