The Treasure

When colour goes home into the eyes,

And lights that shine are shut again,

With dancing girls and sweet birds’ cries

Behind the gateways of the brain;

And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close

The rainbow and the rose: –

Still may Time hold some golden space

Where I’ll unpack that scented store

Of song and flower and sky and face,

And count, and touch, and turn them o’er,

Musing upon them; as a mother, who

Has watched her children all the rich day through,

Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,

When children sleep, ere night.

Rupert Brooke wrote this immediately after the outbreak of the First World War. It is a preface to five further sonnets, the last of which is the well-known ‘The Soldier’ – If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. …

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