The poem, The Soldier is about a man who loves his country dearly. The country is England. He believes that if he should die in a faraway battlefield that people should remember of him only that he was English. Brookes says in his fourth line, “In that rich earth a richer dust concealed.” This means that if he is to die in a land other than England that the soil would be made better because there would now be a piece of England within it.
The plot of this poem reinforces it’s meaning because it deals with death and love. These are two powerful things that evoke a feeling in people. It helps to create an image in the poem of a man who is very brave and would do anything for his country. The character in the poem reinforces the meaning because he truly believes in his country. He describes England in his ninth line by saying, “And think, this heart, all evil shed away.” These are the words of a man who truly believes that his land is the greatest of good.
Images in “The Soldier” are extremely strong and persuading. One image is the line “Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam.” This line evokes images of a beautiful woman cherishing and caressing the man who stands at her side. Another line is “Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.” This line creates a feeling of tranquility and a unity with nature. Another line that evokes a feeling of peace and happiness is, “Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day.” Without such strong images, the poem would probably not have such a great effect on the reader. Lines such as this one force the reader to see the land in the same light as the poet.
Symbolism also plays a key role in this poem. Some of the more obvious uses of symbolism are apparent in the line “And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness.” Obviously we realize that the land does not laugh and is not gentle. This is symbolism used to tell us how wonderful a place England is to live. More symbolism is in the first stanza where the poem says:
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.
As I mentioned earlier, Brooke believes that his dust will somehow enrich the land because it will now have a piece of England in it. The poem goes on to say that his dust was shaped and made aware by England. It also says that England gave him it’s flowers to love. The author loves his country very much and uses extremely emotional symbols to make his point.
The poem celebrates an idealized vision of pastoral England and the noble qualities of her inhabitants. Brooke’s language emphasizes the universal so that the England of the poem becomes every soldier’s home, and the dead soldier is every Englishman. The tone is uplifting and idealistic, but also self-sacrificial. There is a sense of romantic inevitability about the privilege and duty of dying for one’s country. Feelings of patriotism and nationalism give nobility to that sacrifice, a sacrifice willingly crowned by death.