Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The long littleness of life...

"A young Apollo, golden-haired,
Stands dreaming on the verge of strife,
Magnificently unprepared
For the long littleness of life."

- Frances Cornford(1908)

I came across these lines a few years back. The verses struck a chord with me everytime I thought of the countless dreams, hopes and aspirations of the beautiful, young people the world over.

The long littleness of life.

To me, these four lines, in many ways, captured the great dilemma of the romantic idiot in all of us. Until, I read about Rupert Brooke, that is.

Frances Cornford, the granddaughter of Charles Darwin, wrote these memorable, beautiful lines about Rupert Brooke, an incredibly gifted poet himself, but more importantly a man who had such a charming personality and believed to have been so stunningly beautiful that W.B. Yeats called him "The most handsome man in England."

Rupert Brooke was only 21 when Frances Cornford wrote this poem about him. After two unsuccessful relationships with women he had fallen head over heels in love with, Rupert Brooke became gradually disillusioned and afraid of committing himself to anyone, so much so that he remained mostly lonely and depressed. He died when he was only 27, due to blood poisoning contracted from a neglected mosquito bite in the Aegean in the early months of the First World War.

And Winston Churchill, the then First Lord of Admiralty wrote about him,

"The thoughts to which he gave expression in the very few incomparable war sonnets which he has left behind will be shared by many thousands of young men moving resolutely and blithely forward into this, the hardest, cruellest, and the least-rewarded of all the wars that men have fought. They are a whole history and revelation of Rupert Brooke himself. Joyous, fearless, versatile, deeply instructed, with classic symmetry of mind and body, he was all that one would wish England's noblest sons to be in days when no sacrifice but the most precious is acceptable, and the most precious is that which is most freely proffered."

The long, tragic littleness of life indeed.


Blogger apu said...

Where have you vanished ?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:35:00 PM  

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