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INTRODUCTION


"Over the carnage rose prophetic a voice,
Be not disheartened, affection shall solve the problem of freedom yet.
*****
(Were you looking to be held together by lawyers?
Or by an agreement on a paper ? or by arms?
Nay, nor the world, nor any living thing, will so cohere.)"

 

These lines of Walt Whitman will be recalled by many who read the following pages: for not only does Rolland himself refer to Whitman in his brief Introduction, but, were it not for a certain bizarrerie apart from their context, the words "Over the Carnage" might perhaps have stood on the cover of this volume as a striking variant on Au-dessus de la Mêlée.

Yet though the voice comes to us over the carnage, its message is not marred by the passions of the moment. After eighteen months of war we are learning to look about us more calmly, and to distinguish amid the ruins those