Rupert Brooke, a young man's poet, and a young man when he wrote all his poetry (he died at 27 in 1915), is not always much loved nowadays. But he could write, though the bitterness and immaturity of some of his writing seems gauche and overwhelming to a modern taste. I liked him when in my teens, and I still find him quotable and occasionally very enjoyable, though I am sometimes laughing up my sleeve as I read. This is a passionate, confused poem ahout a girl he loves - or hates, and it draws heavily on the symbolism of night, silence and woods which is so common in Brooke, with an ending of fierce bathos. This is Rupert Brooke's The Voice:
Safe in the magic of my woods
I lay, and watched the dying light.
Faint in the pale high solitudes,
And washed with rain and veiled by night,
Silver and blue and green were showing.
And the dark woods grew darker still;
And birds were hushed; and peace was growing;
And quietness crept up the hill;
And no wind was blowing …
And I knew
That this was the hour of knowing,
And the night and the woods and you
Were one together, and I should find
Soon in the silence the hidden key
Of all that had hurt and puzzled me -
Why you were you, and the night was kind,
And the woods were part of the heart of me.
And there I waited breathlessly,
Alone; and slowly the holy three,
The three that I loved, together grew
One, in the hour of knowing,
Night, and the woods, and you -
There was an uproar in my woods,
The noise of a fool in mock distress,
Crashing and laughing and blindly going,
Of ignorant feet and a swishing dress,
And a Voice profaning the solitudes.
The spell was broken, the key denied me
And at length your flat clear voice beside me
Mouthed cheerful clear flat platitudes.
You came and quacked beside me in the wood.
You said, "The view from here is very good!"
You said, "It's nice to be alone a bit!"
And, "How the days are drawing out!" you said.
You said, "The sunset's pretty, isn't it?"
* * *
By God! I wish - I wish that you were dead!