This weekend I will be visiting Grantchester, near Cambridge, where the poet Rupert Brooke lived in The Old Vicarage (now, unfortunately, inhabited by Jeffrey Archer).
The village has hardly changed since Brooke’s day, and the church clock is permanently set at ten to three, as in his famous poem.
As I was writing my last blog I thought of how this handsome, talented young man met such an ignominious end, far away from his beloved Grantchester, while serving in the great war.
He wrote this poem during this time, just months before his death:
If I should die, think only this of me:
that there’s some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England. There shall be
in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
a dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware;
gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
a body of England’s, breathing English air,
washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think – this heart, all evil shed away,
a pulse in the eternal mind, no less,
gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
and laughter, learnt of friends, and gentleness,
in hearts at peace under an English heaven.