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  4. Safety by Rupert Brooke

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Dear! of all happy in the hour, most blest
      He who has found our hid security,
Assured in the dark tides of the world that rest,
      And heard our word, ‘Who is so safe as we?’
We have found safety with all things undying,
      The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,
The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying,
      And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.
We have built a house that is not for Time’s throwing.
      We have gained a peace unshaken by pain for ever.
War knows no power. Safe shall be my going,
      Secretly armed against all death’s endeavour;
Safe though all safety’s lost; safe where men fall;
And if these poor limbs die, safest of all.

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  • Few writers have provoked as much excessive praise and scornful condemnation as English poet Rupert Brooke. Handsome, charming, and talented, Brooke was a national hero even before his death in 1915 at the age of twenty-seven. His poetry, with its unabashed patriotism and graceful lyricism, was revered in a country that was yet to feel the devastating effects of two world wars. Brooke's early death only solidified his image as "a golden-haired, blue-eyed English Adonis," as Doris L. Eder notes in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, and among those who lauded him after his death were writers Virginia Woolf and Henry James and British statesman Winston Churchill. In the decades after World War I, however, critics reacted against the Brooke legend by calling his verse foolishly naive and sentimental. Despite such extreme opinions, most contemporary observers agree that Brooke—though only a minor poet—occupies a secure place in English literature as...

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