Sorley appears to have had a most strict sense of duty and Press recounts two incidents from his time in
Marlborough School where he almost demanded physical punishment for rule infringement; infringement caused by his own feelings
of "rightness" on some matters. It seems, as he developed, he both lost his religious feelings and started developing desires
to improve society. We are talking of a serious young man.
Sorley was familiar with, and indeed much admired Germany. Despite this he volunteered for military service
as soon as he was able and received a commission in the Regular Army. It is at this point that Press starts quoting heavily
from Sorley’s poetry and rightly so. I shall just quote one stanza:
"On marching men, on
To the gates of death with song.
Sow your gladness for earth’s reaping,
So you may be glad, though sleeping.
Strew your gladness on earth’s bed,
So be merry, so be dead."
At this point I will stop. Press’s essay continues to Sorley’s death and beyond. It was the first
time I had ever heard the poet’s name but I do not intend it to be the last. This is a short, economic but effective
introduction to one of the many talents removed early from the world by what will always remain a gigantic blot on the page
of our history. I urge you to check out what work this man was allowed to do before being killed; I certainly intend doing
so. John Press’s essay is a very good place to start.