Prose & Poetry - Walter de la Mare

Walter de la Mare Walter de la Mare (1873-1956), poet, author, editor and critic, was born on 25 April 1873 in Charlton, Kent and was educated at St. Paul's Cathedral Choristers' School until age 16.

From 1890 until 1908 he worked for the Anglo-American Oil Company within its statistics department.  He published a collection of poetry - Songs of Childhood (1902) - under a pseudonym, Walter Ramal.

This was followed by novels, stories, children's books and several brilliant anthologies, including the novel Memoirs of a Midget (1921) which detailed the often bizarre experiences of the minute Miss Thomasina.  Although de la Mare is often considered a children's author he is famed also for his supernatural collections, including The Connoisseur and Other Stories, On the Edge, The Riddle and Other Tales, and the novel The Return.  During the First World War he wrote a series of patriotic poems.

De la Mare's reputation however was established by The Listener and Other Poems, published in 1912.

Water de la Mare, who was married with four children, died on 22 June 1956 in Twickenham, London, and is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.

How Sleep The Brave (1916)
Nay, nay, sweet England, do not grieve!
Not one of those poor men who died
But did within his soul believe
That death for thee was glorified.

Ever they watched it hovering near
That mystery 'yond thought to plumb,
Perchance sometimes in loathed fear
They heard cold danger whisper, come!

Heard and obeyed.  O, if thou weep
Such courage and honour, beauty, care,
Be it for joy that those who sleep
Only thy joy could share.

Around one million Indian troops served in WW1, of which some 100,000 were either killed or wounded.

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Prose & Poetry