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Above the Battle

"We are bound together not only by our common words and deeds, but still more by the dying glance, the last hours, the mortal anguish of the breaking heart. And whether you bow down before the tyrant, or gaze trembling into the beloved's countenance, or mark down your enemy with pitiless glance, think of the eye that will grow dim, of the failing breath, the parched lips and clenched hands, the final solitude, and the brow that grows moist in the last agony.… Be kind.… Tenderness is wisdom, kindness is reason.[1]… We are strangers all upon this earth, and die but to be reunitea."[2]

But the one German poet who has written the serenest and loftiest words, and preserved in the midst of this demoniacal war an attitude worthy of Goethe, is Hermann Hesse. He continues to live at Berne, and, sheltered there from the moral contagion, he has deliberately kept aloof from the combat. All will remember his noble article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung of November 3rd, "O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!" in which he implored the artists and thinkers of Europe "to save what little peace" might yet be saved, and not to join with their pens in

  1. Hohe Gemeinschaft.
  2. Fremde sind wir auf der Erde alle.