Poems Without Frontiers

Poems in Translation

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Rupert Chaucer Brooke (1887- 1915)

Brooke was born in Rugby and attended Rugby school, where his father was a housemaster. He later attended Kings College, Cambridge, where he studied Classics and English; and adopted socialist sympathies that he developed in the Fabian Society, of the university branch of which he became President, and, later, in campaigning for Poor Law revision.

His early poetry, developed whilst lodging in Grantchester near Cambridge, was published from 1911 in the anthology, Georgian Poetry, and the quarterly, New Numbers. He moved within the Bloomsbury Group finding friendship with many great writers of the time. After educational visits to Germany and Italy, and attaining his fellowship of Kings College in 1913, emotional turmoil led him to foreign travel in US, Canada and the Pacific, returning only when lack of funds precluded further absence.

He sought a commission as RN Sub-Lieutenant in 1914 and participated in an early failure of defence at Antwerp in October. In April 1915, en route to Gallipoli, he died from sepsis that developed after a mosquito bite. He is buried at Skyros, Greece.

His collection, "1914 & Other Poems", was published posthumously shortly after his death and achieved great acclaim aided by the sentiment of the time. His death occurred too early to be infused by the later cynicism of the army poets so that his war poems reflect the idealism of the early war period.