Archive for December, 2010

A notable anniversary: ‘The Hill’ by Rupert Brooke

December 30th, 2010

Re-reading this poem, I noticed that it was written precisely a hundred years ago, in December 1910. It wears remarkably well. I particularly relish the Swinburnian lines, ‘We shall go down with unreluctant tread/Rose-crowned into the darkness’. Brooke was to do so in April 1915.

Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,

Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.

You said, ‘Through glory and ecstasy we pass;

Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,

When we are old, are old …’ ‘And when we die

All’s over that is ours; and life burns on

Through other lovers, other lips,’ said I,

‘Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!’

‘We are Earth’s best, that learnt her lesson here.

Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!’ we said;

‘We shall go down with unreluctant tread

Rose-crowned into the darkness!’ … Proud we were,

And laughed, that had such brave true things to say.

– And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.