Regularly walked in the Chilterns and drank at the Pink and Lily pub near Princes Risborough
3rd August 1887
23rd April 1915
Rupert Brooke was a poet who celebrated England and the English countryside.
Before WWI he walked regularly in the Chilterns, sometimes with friends. He used to visit the Pink and Lily pub, at Parslow’s Hillock above Princes Risborough, and loved to walk there from Wendover station.
Legend has it that the Pink and Lily pub came into being in 1800 when Mr Pink, a butler from nearby Hampden House, and Miss Lillie, a chambermaid from the same house, fell in love and turned a private house at Parslow’s Hillock into the Pink and Lily hostelry.
Brooke’s visits to the Chilterns inspired him to write the poem called The Chilterns which includes the evocative verse:
I shall desire and I shall find
The best of my desires;
The autumn road, the mellow wind
That soothes the darkening shires.
And laughter, and inn-fires.
You can download a copy of the full version below. He also wrote a short cheerful ditty about a particularly merry lunch at the Pink and Lily with his friend Jacques Raverat - you can download and listen to a reading of it below.
When WWI began Brooke joined the Royal Naval Division. The early months of the war inspired him to write some idealistic war sonnets. Later, his tone became more realistic when he wrote Soon to Die. In 1915 on his way to Gallipoli he contracted acute blood poisoning following a mosquito bite and died. He was buried on the Greek Island of Skyros.
Biography: Forever England: Life of Rupert Brooke by Mike Read. Published in 1997 by Mainstream Publishing.
The Pink and Lily still operates as a pub. The pub and garden were re-furbished in 2013.