Saturday, 3 August 2013


As I continue to work on my next post about the Danish conquest of England (coming tomorrow, I hope!), here's something for those of you less enamoured of eleventh-century history than I am: a poem by Rupert Brooke, who was born on this day in 1887.


They say there's a high windless world and strange,
Out of the wash of days and temporal tide,
Where Faith and Good, Wisdom and Truth abide,
'Aeterna corpora', subject to no change.
There the sure suns of these pale shadows move;
There stand the immortal ensigns of our war;
Our melting flesh fixed Beauty there, a star,
And perishing hearts, imperishable Love. . . .

Dear, we know only that we sigh, kiss, smile;
Each kiss lasts but the kissing; and grief goes over;
Love has no habitation but the heart.
Poor straws! on the dark flood we catch awhile,
Cling, and are borne into the night apart.
The laugh dies with the lips, 'Love' with the lover.


Steffen said...

What a lovely poem! I'm becoming increasingly interested in Rupert Brooke's poetry, which I've yet spent too little time exploring.

This sonnet serves nicely as a contrast to this part of a stanza from Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene, book 5:

What tho the sea with waves continuall
Doe eate the Earth, it is no more at all,
Nor is the world the lesse or looseth aught
For whatsoever from one place doth fall
Is with the tide unto another brought
For there is nothing lost, but may be found, if sought.

Clerk of Oxford said...

Yes, he's an underrated poet, I think. And thanks for the Spenser - an interesting contrast.