Frost uses the exclusive term 'England' to describe the nation at war. This would be less surprising were it not for his own pedigree. Frost was proud of his Scottish ancestry, his mother having emigrated from Edinburgh to the States aged twelve. Correcting the impression in 1917 that he was a 'Yankee realist', Frost insisted that it would be more accurate to think of him as a 'Scotch symbolist'. He also referred to his 'Scotch-Yankee calculation': the hybrid identity lingered despite his never having spent more than a few weeks in the maternal homeland. (As an Englishman, I would never dream of suggesting that Frost was the great Scottish poet of the last century.) Yet in February 1915, on the point of returning to the States after two and a half years in England, Frost wrote a farewell note to Harold Monro in which he declared loftily that 'England has become half my native land — England the victorious'. If England is one half, it is safe to assume that America, not Scotland, comprises the other.
Foregoing his Scottish lineage, and ignoring or unaware of Monro’s, Frost seems to have slipped readily into a discourse of Englishness. This was not simply a performance for particular correspondents. A wartime notebook entry, complete with faulty syntax, reads as follows:
If it is sweet to Englishmen that England though a little island north away should half the lands and all the seas and make them better for her righteousness, why should not Germany wish such glory for their country in return? Wish it? Yes. And ask England for it if she dares. But why should not England deny her request?
England is not 'a little island' unless (as seems to have been the case here) it has subsumed Scotland and Wales. The word 'sweet' immediately evokes Horace's 'dulce et decorum est pro patria mori', and situates Frost's 'England' in a myth of self-sacrifice. Frost had met Rupert Brooke, whose sonnet 'The Soldier' had done so much to popularise that myth: it referred to 'England' four times, and 'English' twice. That the myth of England should have infiltrated even the work of a sceptical Scottish Yankee like Frost is proof of its pervasive appeal.