Download The Soldier Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"Gives Somewhere Back The Thoughts By England Given"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: This is a solemn, tranquil poem, an outgrowth of the poet's personal consolation in a world darkened by the threat of violent and sudden death during World War I. It proclaims a kind of inner peace, even at the prospects of death, based upon idealistic and patriotic sentiments. Having been born and reared an Englishman, the poet thinks of himself as a part of England. Therefore, if his body should turn to dust in a foreign field, that dust would be a piece of England, "in that rich earth a richer dust concealed." He then describes the English environment by which he has been formed into "a body of England's." He concludes by calling for the reader's imaginative indulgence in thinking with him that after death his soul will have become a part of the eternal mind, propagating through divine faculties the virtues of England:

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.