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The Dead

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Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
      There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
      But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
      Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
      That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
      Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain,
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
      And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
      And we have come into our heritage.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the April 1915 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Dead

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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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