The Soldier
 

BSEB Class 12 English Poem 6 The Soldier Summary, Explanation, and Question Answers from Rainbow Book 

 
The Soldier – BSEB Class 12 English Poem 6 The Soldier Summary and detailed explanation of the poem along with meanings of difficult words from Rainbow Book. Also, the explanation is followed by the literary devices used in the Poem. All the exercises and The Soldier Question Answers given at the back of the lesson have also been solved.

 

BSEB Class 12 English Rainbow Book Poem 6 – The Soldier

By Rupert Brooke

 

 
 

The Soldier Introduction

Brooke is remembered as a ‘war poet’ who inspired patriotism in the early phase of the First World War. His reputation chiefly rests on five war sonnets of which ‘The soldier’ is undoubtedly the best and the most anthologised. 
 
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The Soldier Summary

The poem ‘The Soldier’ written By Rupert Brooke has a patriotic approach. The thoughts of a soldier towards his motherland with his immense desire to sacrifice his life are reflected in the poem. In the first stanza of the poem ‘The Soldier’ the poet admires England and expresses his gratitude to it. The poet says, if he dies, he wants people to only think of one thing, that there is some corner in a foreign country that is forever England. The poet means that if he dies in the war he wants to be remembered in a particular way. He wants people to think of how the far-off land on which he died would have a small piece of England forever. The poet further describes his death that if he dies, his body will be buried in the earth. The earth will be enriched by his dead body because his body is made from dirt born in England. He explains how England created him and gave him consciousness. England gave him its blooming plants to fall in love with and gave him his sense of freedom. His body belonged to England and he always breathed English air. England’s rivers cleansed him and he was blessed by England’s Sun. The poet implied that England was mother to him. His love for England and his willingness to sacrifice was equivalent to a son’s love for his mother; but more than an ordinary son, he could actually give his life to her. Basically, England played the role of the dust which was the soldier’s mother. 

In the second stanza of the poem the poet wanted his readers to consider the way in which his soul, through death, would be made pure. His consciousness would be returned to the immortal consciousness like a beating pulse, returned the beautiful thoughts that England gave him. The poet perhaps wanted to say that when the soldier went to heaven, he would become part of that larger, unending being and perhaps re-experience, in the form of a pulse, all the thoughts given by England. The poet meant that he would re-experience everything he once knew of England which was his home, after he died. The poet would return to the sights and sounds of his home country and to the beautiful dreams that were as happy as England’s daytime. The poet wanted the laughter to be shared with English friends and he would return to England’s gentleness which lived in the English minds that were at peace under the English sky. The poet painted a very joyous, peaceful picture of life after death that would be much like his happiest times spent in England.
 
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Video Explanation of The Soldier

 

 
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The Soldier Poem Explanation

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever 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. 

Foreign- a land or country other than one’s own

Concealed- hidden 

Vanishes- hidden

Bore- gave birth

Roam- walk or travel without a definite aim

In the first stanza of the poem ‘The Soldier’ the poet admired England and expressed his gratitude to it. The poet said, if he died, he wanted people to only think of one thing, that there was some corner in a foreign country that was forever England. The poet meant that if he died in the war he wanted to be remembered in a particular way. He wanted people to think of how the far-off land on which he died would have a small piece of England forever. If he died on the battlefield, that piece of land would be “claimed” by England because wars were sometimes fought, after all, over land. The poet further described his death that if he died, his body would be buried in the earth. The earth would be enriched by his dead body because his body was made from dirt born in England. He explained how England created him and gave him consciousness. England gave him his blooming plants to fall in love with and gave him his sense of freedom. His body belonged to England and he always breathed English air. England’s rivers cleansed him and he was blessed by England’s sun. The poet implied that England was mother to him. His love for England and his willingness to sacrifice was equivalent to a son’s love for his mother; but more than an ordinary son, he could actually give his life to her. Basically, England played the role of the dust which was the soldier’s mother. 

 

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. 

Pulse- vibration

Eternal- lasting forever

Gentleness- mildness, tenderness 

In the second stanza of the poem the poet wanted his readers to consider the way in which his soul, through death, would be made pure. His consciousness would be returned to the immortal consciousness like a beating pulse, and returned the beautiful thoughts that England gave him. The poet perhaps wanted to say that when the soldier went to heaven, he would become part of that larger, unending being and perhaps re-experience, in the form of a pulse, all the thoughts given by England. The poet meant that he would re-experience everything he once knew of England which was his home after he died. The poet would return to the sights and sounds of his home country and to the beautiful dreams that were as happy as England’s daytime. The poet wanted the laughter to be shared with English friends and he would return to England’s gentleness which lived in the English minds that were at peace under the English sky. The poet painted a very joyous, peaceful picture of life after death that would be much like his happiest times spent in England.

 

Poetic/Literary Devices

Following poetic/literary devices have been used in the poem The Soldier:

  1. Rhyme scheme- ababcdcd , cdecde
  2. Anaphora – when two or more consecutive lines begin with the same word. Lines 2 and 3-

That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England. There shall be

  1. Personification- Personification is giving human characteristics to animals or non-living things. The personification of England seems to have given life, shaped/built, taught, and loved the soldier; representing England as the position of a mother.
  2. Assonance- Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds across a line of text or poetry. Me, Be and Field, Concealed are the examples of assonance in this poem.
  3. Alliteration-  It is the repetition of consonant sound in the line. Examples of alliteration are f in “foreign field,” the play on “rich” and “richer” in the fourth line, blest by.
  4. Consonance – The prominence of a consonant sound in a line- the sonorous b, s, and r sounds of the seventh and eighth lines, and the s, d, l, and h sounds in the last three lines.

 
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The Soldier Question Answer

Exercises

 

B.1 1. Read the following sentences and write ‘T’ for true and ‘F’ for false statements:

a) The speaker of the poem is a soldier.

b) He is a French soldier.

c) The soldier is very sad.

d) He praises England.

e) He talks about his friends.

f) It is a love poem.

g) The poet is depicting the miseries of war.

h) The poet expresses his indebtedness to England.

i) The poem is a sonnet.

Answer-

a) The speaker of the poem is a soldier. True

b) He is a French soldier. False

c) The soldier is very sad. False

d) He praises England. True

e) He talks about his friends. True

f) It is a love poem. False

g) The poet is depicting the miseries of war. False

h) The poet expresses his indebtedness to England. True

i) The poem is a sonnet. True

 

B.1. 2. Answer the following questions briefly:

1) Is the speaker afraid of death?

Answer-

No, the speaker is not afraid of death, but he is willing to die for his country. He would be given a comer of the foreign field.

 

2) If at all he dies in the battle, how would he like to be remembered?

Answer-

If he dies in a war, he wants to be remembered in a particular way, a soldier who never feared death. He wants people to think of how the far-off land on which he dies will have a small piece of England forever. If he dies on the battlefield, that piece of land will be “claimed” by England because wars are sometimes fought, after all, over land. He would receive flowers to love and be buried in a piece of land that is part of England.

 

3) How can ‘some corner of a foreign field’ be ‘for ever England’?

Answer-

The poet says that the earth would be enriched by his dead body because his body is made from dirt born in England. England creates him and gives him consciousness. England gives him his blooming plants to fall in love with and gives him his sense of freedom. His body belongs to England and he always breathes English air. His body is the richer dust of England because he was born and brought up in England so wherever his body is buried it will be of England forever.

 

4) ‘In that rich earth a richer dust concealed.’ What does ‘dust’ stand for?

Answer-

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; The poet describes his death. If he dies, a human body, his body will be buried in the “earth.” “Dust” here refers to the remains of a human body.

 

5) What is meant by the phrase ‘A pulse in the eternal mind’? 

Answer-

The phrase ‘A pulse in the eternal mind’ indicates a long-cherished desire. The poet wants to say that there must be a pulse in the eternal mind that works to avoid war.

 

C.1. LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS

  1. Do you think that the title of the poem is appropriate? Give reasons.

Answer-

Yes, I think that the title of the poem “The Soldier” is appropriate and meaningful because it revolves around the theme of the poem that speaks of a patriotic soldier who expresses his thoughts towards his motherland with his immense desire to sacrifice his life for his country are reflected in the poem.

 

  1. Discuss the main ideas contained in the first eight lines, i. e. , octave.

Answer-

In the first eight lines of the poem ‘The soldier’ everything revolves around the thoughts of a soldier who is in a war field. He talks about his death in the war, he wants to be remembered in a particular way and how his grave will be England herself, and what it should remind the listeners of England when they see the grave. The poet further describes that if he dies, his body will be buried in the earth. The earth will be enriched by his dead body because his body is made from dirt born in England. Poet wants himself to be laid to rest in that foreign land where he attains martyrdom. He expresses his indebtedness to his motherland.

 

  1. What do you understand by patriotism? Is this a patriotic poem? Discuss.

Answer-

Patriotism is the feeling of love, devotion, and sense of attachment to one’s country. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings, language relating to one’s own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It is also a great human character and the topmost point of all virtues. Yes, this is really a patriotic poem because in this poem the poet talks about his immense love and firm devotion towards England. He also expresses his thoughts towards his motherland with his immense desire to sacrifice his life for his country.

 

  1. Summarise the poem in your own words.

Answer-

The poem ‘The Soldier’ written By Rupert Brooke had a patriotic approach. The thoughts of a soldier towards his motherland with his immense desire to sacrifice his life were reflected in the poem. The poet wants to die in battle for his country. He says that if he dies in a foreign land fighting for his motherland, he will be buried in that land. He wants the plot of land, where his dead body will be buried. And should be treated as part of England. The poet admires England and expresses his gratitude to it. He wants a peaceful country and there would be no war between the two countries. According to him the surroundings of England is just like heaven as he says, “under an English heaven”. He remembers his country with fondness because he was born there. He loves the lights and sounds of his country and remembers his friends. He says that his country has given him flowers to love and the air to breathe. All these things show the poet’s deep love for his motherland. Thus, in this poem, the poet shows his Patriotism for his country. This poem is a patriotic poem that is full of love for England.

 

  1. How many times does the poet use ‘England’ or ‘English’ in the poem? What does it show?

Answer-

In the poem ‘The Soldier’, the poet has used ‘England’ four times and ‘English’ two times. It shows that nothing is more important  and beautiful to a soldier than the name of his own country. It also shows his great patriotic feeling, zeal and ultimate desire to sacrifice his life for his beloved country that’s why the poet has used these two words again and again in this poem.

 

  1. How can you show that you love your country?

Answer-

The best way to express my love and sense of belonging to my country is to be an active young citizen. Actively participate in social activities to create positive change in my communities. Obey and agree to the correct and good laws, because these can shape our countries into more decent ones. I will share my country’s culture, traditions and all the remarkable things that my country is known for with the world and show how proud I am. 

 

  1. What is a sonnet? Comment on the language of the prescribed poem. Also, mention its rhyme-scheme. 

A ‘Sonnet’ is a poem of 14 lines usually divided in two parts. The first eight lines are called octave and the last six lines are known as sestet. The octave establishes some issue and the sestet resovels it (ipetrarcham sonnet). It is a concentrated expression of single thought, feeling or situation. Subjectivity, spontaneity, sincerity, reflection, music and melody are some other important characteristics of a sonnet. 

Answer-

A poem consisting of 14 lines is a “sonnet”. The first eight lilies are called octave and the last six lines are known as sestet. The octave establishes some issues and sestet resolves it. It is a concentrated expression of a single thought, feeling or situation, subjectivity, sincerity, melody, music, reflection, and spontaneity. These are some prominent characteristics and features of a sonnet.

This poem “The Soldier” is rhythmic. “The Soldier” has a regular rhyme scheme that borrows from two different sonnets. The octave is rhymed: ABABCDCD and the sestet is rhymed as ABCABC.

 

C.3. COMPOSITION

Write a short essay in about 100 words on the following:

a.Life of a soldier.

Answer-

Soldiers are one of the greatest assets of any country. They are the guardians of the nation and protect its citizens at all costs. A soldier’s life is full of hardship. A soldier’s job is one of the toughest things to do in the world. A country sleeps peacefully as the soldier performs its duties. The first and foremost duty of a soldier is to serve their country without any selfish motive. A soldier safeguard’s the honour of his country. They lead a very tough life. They do not step back in the face of adversaries, instead they give their best. It does not matter if they have to give their life for the country, they are willing to do so happily. They prove to be a source of inspiration. That is why they get great respect all over the world.

 

b.War widows 

Answer-

A war widow is a woman whose husband was killed while he was in the armed forces during a war. India has the largest number of war widows in the world. According to estimates, India has around 25,000 war widows which is the highest number in the world. Most people believe that since India is not currently at war, no men are martyred. But the truth is that the Indian army is always involved in special operations meant to tackle various insurgencies, which are neither politicized nor publicized. According to data, at least 90 percent of army widows live in rural areas, and are either illiterate or have minimal levels of education. This limits their employment opportunities.The government promises a lot but does not do as much as they should. But we should really see that they are respected and all their needs are fulfilled.

 

D.WORD STUDY

D.1. Dictionary Use

Ex. 1. Look up a dictionary and write two meanings of each of the following words — the one in which it is used in the lesson and the other which is more common

 

earth dust bore aware
English pulse body eternal

 

Answer-

 

Earth

  1. World
  2. Planet
Dust

  1. Dirt
  2. Filth
Bore

  1. Drill
  2. Punch
Aware

  1. Conscious of
  2. Acquainted 
English

  1. Language
  2. People
Pulse

  1. Heartbeat
  2. Throb
Body

  1. Figure
  2. Shape
Eternal

  1. Everlasting
  2. Endless

 

D.2. Word-formation

Read the following line carefully:

A body of England’s, breathing English air,…

Mark the use of ‘England’ and ‘English’, in the line given above.

Write adjectives showing nationality, against the names of the countries given below: 

 

Pakistan America Japan Nepal Australia
Newzealand West Indies Korea China Iran

 

Answer-

 

Pakistan-

Pakistani

America-

American

Japan-

Japanese

Nepal-

Nepali

Australia-

Australian

Newzealand-

Newzealandian

West Indies-

West Indian

Korea-

Korean

China-

Chinese

Iran-

Irani

 

D.3. Word-meaning

Ex 1. Write the antonyms of the words given below:

  

 

die foreign roam evil eternal
gentleness peace heaven aware concealed

 

Answer-

 

Die

Birth

Foreign

Domestic

Roam

Still

Evil

Good

Eternal

Internal

Gentleness

Gentleful

Peace

Peaceless

Heaven

Hell

Aware

Ignore

Concealed

Revealed

 

E.GRAMMAR

Ex. 1. Read the following lines from the poem carefully:

i.If I should die, think only of this me

ii.There shall be…….

Can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would —these are modals. They have different meanings in different situations. In the first sentence given above, ‘should’ suggests a condition or probability. Similarly, shall in the second sentence suggests ‘future time’.

Fill in the blanks with suitable modals to complete the sentences:

i.Amod ………  complete his homework in an hour. (ability).

ii.Students ……… remain in discipline during the period. (compulsion)

iii.  …………….. you succeed in life. (wish)

iv.If …………  rain today. (possibility)

v.What ………  I do in this uncommon situation! (advice)

vi.You __________  to take proper care of your old parents. (moral duty)

vii. If Chhabi had participated in the dance competition, she _______ have won the admiration of the audience. ( a possibility that did not realise )

viii. In the evening they ________ go out for a walk. (habit)

ix._________ you, please, bring a cup of tea for me? (polite request)

x.Safdar ______ be in Delhi in the first week of January. (future time) 

 

Answer-

i.Amod can complete his homework in an hour. (ability).

ii.Students must remain in discipline during the period. (compulsion)

iii.  Must you succeed in life. (wish)

iv.If may rain today. (possibility)

v.What should I do in this uncommon situation! (advice)

vi.You ought to take proper care of your old parents. (moral duty)

vii. If Chhabi had participated in the dance competition, she might have won the admiration of the audience. ( a possibility that did not realise )

viii. In the evening they used to go out for a walk. (habit)

ix.Will you, please, bring a cup of tea for me? (polite request)

x. Safdar will be in Delhi in the first week of January. (future time)
 
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