The Book of the Homeless/Our Inheritance



If our vision could open on that unseen world which dominates us from all sides, we should unquestionably learn that on the battlefields there can be no loss. The heritage which our splendid soldiers yield up in dying is bequeathed to us; and when they perish for our sakes, they give us their lives in no metaphoric, roundabout sense, but really and directly. From every man who meets death gloriously there goes forth a virtue which enters into us, and even in the violence of an untimely end nothing goes astray or vanishes. In one short moment the soldier gives open-handed the offering of an entire lifetime of love and duty. Death is powerless to prevail over Life. Its total remains forever unchanged. That which is taken from the fallen passes on to those left standing. While men still live, Death can win nothing. The more desperate its efforts, the brighter burns the flame it would fain extinguish; the more cruelly it pursues its phantom victories, the clearer is it proven that in the end Humanity must surely vanquish.

Translated by J. G. D. Paul