Essays in idleness/The Praises of War


THE PRAISES OF WAR.


When the world was younger and perhaps merrier, when people lived more and thought less, and when the curious subtleties of an advanced civilization had not yet turned men's heads with conceit of their own enlightening progress from simple to serious things, poets had two recognized sources of inspiration, which were sufficient for themselves and for their unexacting audiences. They sang of love and they sang of war, of fair women and of brave men, of keen youthful passions and of the dear delights of battle. Sweet Rosamonde lingers "in Woodstocke bower," and Sir Cauline wrestles with the Eldridge knighte; Annie of Lochroyan sails over the roughening seas, and Lord Percy rides gayly to the Cheviot hills with fifteen hundred bowmen at his back. It did not occur to the thick-headed generation who first listened to the ballad of "Chevy Chace" to hint that the game was hardly worth the candle, or that poaching on a large scale was as reprehensible ethically as poaching on a little one. This sort of insight was left for the nineteenth-century philosopher, and the nineteenth-century moralist. In earlier, easier days, the last thing that a poet troubled himself about was a defensible motive for the battle in which his soul exulted. His business was to describe the fighting, not to justify the fight, which would have been a task of pure supererogation in that truculent age. Fancy trying to justify Kinmont Willie or Johnie of Braedislee, instead of counting the hard knocks they give and the stout men they lay low!

"Johnie's set his back against an aik,
His foot against a stane;
And he has slain the Seven Foresters,—
He has slain them a' but ane."

The last echo of this purely irresponsible spirit may be found in the "War Song of Dinas Vawr," where Peacock, always three hundred years behind his time, sings of slaughter with a bellicose cheerfulness which only his admirable versification can excuse:—

"The mountain sheep are sweeter,
But the valley sheep are fatter;
We therefore deemed it meeter
To carry off the latter.
We made an expedition;
We met an host and quelled it;
We forced a strong position,
And killed the men who held it."

There is not even a lack of food at home—the old traditional dinner of spurs—to warrant this foray. There is no hint of necessity for the harriers, or consideration for the harried.

"We brought away from battle,
And much their land bemoaned them,
Two thousand head of cattle,
And the head of him who owned them:
Ednyfed, King of Dyfed,
His head was borne before us;
His wine and beasts supplied our feasts,
And his overthrow our chorus."

It is impossible to censure a deed so irresistibly narrated; but if the lines were a hair-breadth less mellifluous, I think we should call this a very barbarous method of campaigning.

When the old warlike spirit was dying out of English verse, when poets had begun to meditate and moralize, to interpret nature and to counsel man, the good gods gave to England, as a link with the days that were dead, Sir Walter Scott, who sang, as no Briton before or since has ever sung, of battlefields and the hoarse clashing of arms, of brave deeds and midnight perils, of the outlaw riding by Brignall banks, and the trooper shaking his silken bridle reins upon the river shore:—

"Adieu for evermore,
My love!
And adieu for evermore."

These are not precisely the themes which enjoy unshaken popularity to-day,—"the poet of battles fares ill in modern England," says Sir Francis Doyle,—and as a consequence there are many people who speak slightingly of Scott's poetry, and who appear to claim for themselves some inscrutable superiority by so doing. They give you to understand, without putting it too coarsely into words, that they are beyond that sort of thing, but that they liked it very well as children, and are pleased if you enjoy it still. There is even a class of unfortunates who, through no apparent fault of their own, have ceased to take delight in Scott's novels, and who manifest a curious indignation because the characters in them go ahead and do things, instead of thinking and talking about them, which is the present approved fashion of evolving fiction. Why, what time have the good people in "Quentin Durward" for speculation and chatter? The rush of events carries them irresistibly into action. They plot, and fight, and run away, and scour the country, and meet with so many adventures, and perform so many brave and cruel deeds, that they have no chance for introspection and the joys of analysis. Naturally, those writers who pride themselves upon making a story out of nothing, and who are more concerned with excluding material than with telling their tales, have scant liking for Sir Walter, who thought little and prated not at all about the "art of fiction," but used the subjects which came to hand with the instinctive and unhesitating skill of a great artist. The battles in "Quentin Durward" and "Old Mortality" are, I think, as fine in their way as the battle of Flodden; and Flodden, says Mr. Lang, is the finest fight on record,—"better even than the stand of Aias by the ships in the Iliad, better than the slaying of the Wooers in the Odyssey."

The ability to carry us whither he would, to show us whatever he pleased, and to stir our hearts' blood with the story of

"old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago,"

was the especial gift of Scott,—of the man whose sympathies were as deep as life itself, whose outlook was as wide as the broad bosom of the earth he trod on. He believed in action, and he delighted in describing it. "The thinker's voluntary death in life" was not, for him, the power that moves the world, but rather deeds,—deeds that make history and that sing themselves forever. He honestly felt himself to be a much smaller man than Wellington. He stood abashed in the presence of the soldier who had led large issues and controlled the fate of nations. He would have been sincerely amused to learn from "Robert Elsmere"—what a delicious thing it is to contemplate Sir Walter reading "Robert Elsmere"!—that "the decisive events of the world take place in the intellect." The decisive events of the world, Scott held to take place in the field of action; on the plains of Marathon and Waterloo rather than in the brain tissues of William Godwin. He knew what befell Athens when she could put forward no surer defense against Philip of Macedon than the most brilliant orations ever written in praise of freedom. It was better, he probably thought, to argue as the English did, "in platoons." The schoolboy who fought with the heroic "Green-Breeks" in the streets of Edinburgh; the student who led the Tory youths in their gallant struggle with the riotous Irishmen, and drove them with stout cudgeling out of the theatre they had disgraced; the man who, broken in health and spirit, was yet blithe and ready to back his quarrel with Gourgaud by giving that gentleman any satisfaction he desired, was consistent throughout with the simple principles of a bygone generation. "It is clear to me," he writes in his journal, "that what is least forgiven in a man of any mark or likelihood is want of that article blackguardly called pluck. All the fine qualities of genius cannot make amends for it. We are told the genius of poets especially is irreconcilable with this species of grenadier accomplishment. If so, quel chien de génie!"

Quel chien de génie indeed, and far beyond the compass of Scott, who, amid the growing sordidness and seriousness of an industrial and discontented age, struck a single resonant note that rings in our hearts to-day like the echo of good and joyous things:—

"Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
To all the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name."

The same sentiments are put, it may be remembered, into admirable prose when Graham of Claverhouse expounds to Henry Morton his views on living and dying. At present, Philosophy and Philanthropy between them are hustling poor Glory into a small corner of the field. Even to the soldier, we are told, it should be a secondary consideration, or perhaps no consideration at all, his sense of duty being a sufficient stay. But Scott, like Homer, held somewhat different views, and absolutely declined to let "that jade Duty" have everything her own way. It is the plain duty of Blount and Eustace to stay by Clare's side and guard her as they were bidden, instead of which they rush off, with Sir Walter's tacit approbation, to the fray.

"No longer Blount the view could bear:
'By heaven and all its saints! I swear
I will not see it lost!
Fitz-Eustace, you with Lady Clare
May bid your beads and patter prayer,—
I gallop to the host.'"

It was this cheerful acknowledgment of human nature as a large factor in life which gave to Scott his genial sympathy with brave, imperfect men; which enabled him to draw with true and kindly art such soldiers as Le Balafré, and Dugald Dalgetty, and William of Deloraine. Le Balafré, indeed, with his thick-headed loyalty, his conceit of his own wisdom, his unswerving, almost unconscious courage, his readiness to risk his neck for a bride, and his reluctance to marry her, is every whit as veracious as if he were the over-analyzed child of realism, instead of one of the many minor characters thrust with wanton prodigality into the pages of a romantic novel.

Alone among modern poets, Scott sings Homerically of strife. Others have caught the note, but none have upheld it with such sustained force, such clear and joyous resonance. Macaulay has fire and spirit, but he is always too rhetorical, too declamatory, for real emotion. He stirs brave hearts, it is true, and the finest tribute to his eloquence was paid by Mrs. Browning, who said she could not read the "Lays" lying down; they drew her irresistibly to her feet. But when Macaulay sings of Lake Regillus, I do not see the battle swim before my eyes. I see—whether I want to or not—a platform, and the poet's own beloved schoolboy declaiming with appropriate gestures those glowing and vigorous lines. When Scott sings of Flodden, I stand wraith-like in the thickest of the fray. I know how the Scottish ranks waver and reel before the charge of Stanley's men, how Tunstall's stainless banner sweeps the field, and how, in the gathering gloom,

"The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping where his comrade stood,
The instant that he fell."

There is none of this noble simplicity in the somewhat dramatic ardor of Horatius, or in the pharisaical flavor, inevitable perhaps, but not the less depressing, of Naseby and Ivry, which read a little like old Kaiser William's war dispatches turned into verse. Better a thousand times are the splendid swing, the captivating enthusiasm of Drayton's "Agincourt," which hardly a muck-worm could hear unstirred. Reading it, we are as keen for battle as were King Harry's soldiers straining at the leash. The ardor for strife, the staying power of quiet courage, all are here; and here, too, a felicity of language that makes each noble name a trumpet blast of defiance, a fresh incentive to heroic deeds.

"With Spanish yew so strong,
Arrows a cloth-yard long,
That like to serpents stung,
Piercing the weather;
None from his fellow starts,
But playing manly parts,
And like true English hearts,
Stuck close together.

· · · · · ·

"Warwick in blood did wade,
Oxford the foe invade,
And cruel slaughter made,
Still as they ran up;
Suffolk his axe did ply,
Beaumont and Willoughby
Bare them right doughtily,
Ferrers and Fanhope.


"Upon Saint Crispin's day
Fought was this noble fray,
Which fame did not delay
To England to carry;
Oh, when shall Englishmen
With such acts fill a pen,
Or England breed again
Such a King Harry?"

Political economists and chilly historians and all long-headed calculating creatures generally may perhaps hint that invading France was no part of England's business, and represented fruitless labor and bloodshed. But this, happily, is not the poet's point of view. He dreams with Hotspur

"Of basilisks, of cannon, culverm,
Of prisoners' ransom and of soldiers slain,
And all the 'currents of a heady fight."

He hears King Harry's voice ring clearly above the cries and clamors of battle:—

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead;"

and to him the fierce scaling of Harfleur and the field of Agincourt seem not only glorious but righteous things. "That pure and generous desire to thrash the person opposed to you because he is opposed to you, because he is not 'your side,'" which Mr. Saintsbury declares to be the real incentive of all good war songs, hardly permits a too cautious analysis of motives. Fighting is not a strictly philanthropic pastime, and its merits are not precisely the merits of church guilds and college settlements. Warlike saints are rare in the calendar, notwithstanding the splendid example of Michael, "of celestial armies, prince," and there is at present a shameless conspiracy on foot to defraud even St. George of his hard-won glory, and to melt him over in some modern crucible into a peaceful Alexandrian bishop. An Arian bishop, too, by way of deepening the scandal! We shall hear next that Saint Denis was a Calvinistic minister, and Saint Iago, whom devout Spanish eyes have seen mounted in the hottest of the fray, was a friendly well-wisher of the Moors.

But why sigh over fighting saints, in a day when even fighting sinners have scant measure of praise? "Moral courage is everything. Physical heroism is a small matter, often trivial enough," wrote that clever, emotional, sensitive German woman, Rahel Varnhagen, at the very time when a little "physical heroism" might have freed her conquered fatherland. And this profession of faith has gone on increasing in popularity, until we have even a lad like the young Laurence Oliphant, with hot blood surging in his veins, gravely recording his displeasure because a parson "with a Crimean medal on his surplice" preached a rousing battle sermon to the English soldiers who had no alternative but to fight. "My natural man," confesses Oliphant naïvely "is intensely warlike, which is just as low a passion as avarice or any other,"—a curious moral perspective, which needs no word of comment, and sufficiently explains much that was to follow. We are irresistibly reminded by such a verdict of Shelley's swelling lines—

"War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight,
The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade;"

lines which, to borrow a witticism of Mr. Oscar Wilde's, have "all the vitality of error," and will probably be quoted triumphantly by Peace Societies for many years to come.

In the mean time, there is a remarkable and very significant tendency to praise all war songs, war stories, and war literature generally, in proportion to the discomfort and horror they excite, in proportion to their inartistic and unjustifiable realism. I well remember, when I was a little girl, having a dismal French tale by Erckmann-Chatrian, called "Le Conscrit," given me by a kindly disposed but mistaken friend, and the disgust with which I waded through those scenes of sordid bloodshed and misery, untouched by any fire of enthusiasm, any halo of romance. The very first description of Napoleon,—Napoleon, the idol of my youthful dreams,—as a fat, pale man, with a tuft of hair upon his forehead, filled me with loathing for all that was to follow. But I believe I finished the book,—it never occurred to me, in those innocent days, not to finish every book that I began,—and then I re-read in joyous haste all of Sir Walter Scott's fighting novels, "Waverley," "Old Mortality," "Ivanhoe," "Quentin Durward," and even "The Abbot," which has one good battle, to get the taste of that abominable story out of my mouth. Of late years, however, I have heard a great deal of French, Russian, and occasionally even English literature commended for the very qualities which aroused my childish indignation. No one has sung the praises of war more gallantly than Mr. Rudyard Kipling; yet those grim verses called "The Grave of the Hundred Dead"—verses closely resembling the appalling specimens of truculency with which Mr. Ruskin began and ended his brief poetical career—have been singled out from their braver brethren for especial praise, and offered as "grim, naked, ugly truth" to those "who would know more of the poet's picturesque qualities."

But "grim, naked, ugly truth" can never be made a picturesque quality, and it is not the particular business of a battle poem to emphasize the desirability of peace. We all know the melancholy anticlimax of Campbell's splendid song "Ye Mariners of England," when, to three admirable verses, the poet must needs add a fourth, descriptive of the joys of harmony, and of the eating and drinking which shall replace the perils of the sea. I count it a lasting injury, after having my blood fired with these surging lines,—

"Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell,
Your manly hearts shall glow,
As ye sweep through the deep,
While the stormy winds do blow;
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy winds do blow,"—

to be suddenly introduced to a scene of inglorious junketing; and I am not surprised that Campbell's peculiar inspiration, which was born of war and of war only, failed him the instant he deserted his theme. Such shocking lines as

"The meteor-flag of England
Shall yet terrific burn,"

while quite in harmony with the poet's ordinary achievements, would have been simply impossible in those first three verses of "Ye Mariners," where he remains true to his one artistic impulse. He strikes a different and a finer note when, in "The Battle of the Baltic," he turns gravely away from feasting and jollity to remember the brave men who have died for England's glory:—

"Let us think of them that sleep,
Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep,
Elsinore!"

To go back to Mr. Rudyard Kipling, however, from whom I have wandered far, he is more in love with the "dear delights" of battle than with its dismal carnage, and he wins an easy forgiveness for a few horrors by showing us much brave and hearty fighting. Who can forget the little Gurkhas drawing a deep breath of contentment when at last they see the foe, and gaping expectantly at their officers, "as terriers grin ere the stone is cast for them to fetch?" Who can forget the joyous abandon with which Mulvaney the disreputable and his "four an' twenty young wans" fling themselves upon Lungtungpen? It is a good and wholesome thing for a man to be in sympathy with that primitive virtue, courage, to recognize it promptly, and to do honor to it under any flag. "Homer's heart is with the brave of either side," observes Mr. Lang; "with Glaucus and Sarpedon of Lycia no less than with Achilles and Patroclus." Scott's heart is with Surrey and Dacre no less than with Lennox and Argyle; with the English hosts charging like whirlwinds to the fray no less than with the Scottish soldiers standing ringed and dauntless around their king. Théodore de Banville, hot with shame over fallen France, checks his bitterness to write some tender verses to the memory of a Prussian boy found dead on the field, with a bullet-pierced volume of Pindar on his breast. Dumas, that lover of all brave deeds, cries out with noble enthusiasm that it was not enough to kill the Highlanders at Waterloo,—"we had to push them down!" and the reverse of the medal has been shown us by Mr. Lang in the letter of an English officer, who writes home that he would have given the rest of his life to have served with the French cavalry on that awful day. Sir Francis Doyle delights, like an honest and stout-hearted Briton, to pay an equal tribute of praise, in rather questionable verse, to the private of the Buffs,

"Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,
Bewildered and alone,"

who died for England's honor in a far-off land; and to the Indian prince, Mehrab Khan, who, brought to bay, swore proudly that he would perish,

"to the last the lord
Of all that man can call his own,"

and fell beneath the English bayonets at the door of his zenana. This is the spirit by which brave men know one another the world over, and which, lying back of all healthy national prejudices, unites in a human brotherhood those whom the nearness of death has taught to start at no shadows.

"Oh, east is east, and west is west, and never the two shall meet
Till earth and sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat.
But there is neither east nor west, border nor breed nor birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth."

Here is Mr. Kipling at his best, and here, too, is a link somewhat simpler and readier to hand than that much-desired bond of cultivation which Mr. Oscar Wilde assures us will one day knit the world together. The time when Germany will no longer hate France, "because the prose of France is perfect," seems still as far-off as it is fair; the day when "intellectual criticism will bind Europe together" dawns only in the dreamland of desire. Mr. Wilde makes himself merry at the expense of "Peace Societies, so dear to the sentimentalists, and proposals for unarmed International Arbitration, so popular among those who have never read history;" but criticism, the mediator of the future, "will annihilate race prejudices by insisting upon the unity of the human mind in the variety of its forms. If we are tempted to make war upon another nation, we shall remember that we are seeking to destroy an element of our own culture, and possibly its most important element." This restraining impulse will allow us to fight only red Indians, and Feejeeans, and Bushmen, from whom no grace of culture is to be gleaned; and it may prove a strong inducement to some disturbed countries, like Ireland and Russia, to advance a little further along the paths of sweetness and light. Meanwhile, the world, which rolls so easily in old and well-worn ways, will probably remember that "power is measured by resistance," and will go on arguing stolidly in platoons.

"All healthy men like fighting and like the sense of danger; all brave women like to hear of their fighting and of their facing danger," says Mr. Ruskin, who has taken upon himself the defense of war in his own irresistibly unconvincing manner. Others indeed have delighted in it from a purely artistic standpoint, or as a powerful stimulus to fancy. Mr. Saintsbury exults more than most critics in battle poems, and in those "half-inarticulate songs that set the blood coursing." Sir Francis Doyle, whose simple manly soul never wearied of such themes, had no ambition to outgrow the first hearty sympathies of his boyhood. "I knew the battle in 'Marmion' by heart almost before I could read," he writes in his "Reminiscences;" "and I cannot raze out—I do not wish to raze out—of my soul all that filled and colored it in years gone by." Mr. Froude, who is as easily seduced by the picturesqueness of a sea fight as was Canon Kingsley, appears to believe in all seriousness that the British privateers who went plundering in the Spanish main were inspired by a pure love for England, and a zeal for the Protestant faith. He can say truly with the little boy of adventurous humor,—

"There is something that suits my mind to a T
In the thought of a reg'lar Pirate King."

Mr. Lang's love of all warlike literature is too well known to need comment. As a child, he confesses he pored over "the fightingest parts of the Bible," when Sunday deprived him of less hallowed reading. As a boy, he devoted to Sir Walter Scott the precious hours which were presumably sacred to the shrine of Latin grammar. As a man, he lures us with glowing words from the consideration of political problems, or of our own complicated spiritual machinery, to follow the fortunes of the brave, fierce men who fought in the lonely north, or of the heroes who went forth in gilded armor "to win glory or to give it" before the walls of Troy. In these days, when many people find it easier to read "The Ring and the Book" than the Iliad, Mr. Lang makes a strong plea in behalf of that literature which has come down to us out of the past to stand forevermore unrivaled and alone, stirring the hearts of all generations until human nature shall be warped from simple and natural lines. "With the Bible and Shakespeare," he says, "the Homeric poems are the best training for life. There is no good quality that they lack; manliness, courage, reverence for old age and for the hospitable hearth, justice, piety, pity, a brave attitude towards life and death, are all conspicuous in Homer." It might be well, perhaps, to add to this long list one more incomparable virtue, an instinctive and illogical delight in living. Amid shipwrecks and battles, amid long wanderings and hurtling spears, amid sharp dangers and sorrows bitter to bear, Homer teaches us, and teaches us in right joyful fashion, the beauty and value of an existence which we profess nowadays to find a little burdensome on our hands.

All these things have the lovers of war said to us, and in all these ways have they striven to fire our hearts. But Mr. Ruskin is not content to regard any matter from a purely artistic standpoint, or to judge it on natural and congenital lines; he must indorse it ethically or condemn. Accordingly, it is not enough for him, as it would be for any other man, to claim that "no great art ever yet rose on earth but among a nation of soldiers." He feels it necessary to ask himself some searching and embarrassing questions about fighting "for its own sake," and as "a grand pastime,"—questions which he naturally finds it extremely difficult to answer. It is not enough for him to say, with equal truth and justice, that if "brave death in a red coat" be no better than "brave life in a black one," it is at least every bit as good. He must needs wax serious, and commit himself to this strong and doubtful statement:—

"Assume the knight merely to have ridden out occasionally to fight his neighbor for exercise; assume him even a soldier of fortune, and to have gained his bread and filled his purse at the sword's point. Still I feel as if it were, somehow, grander and worthier in him to have made his bread by sword play than any other play. I had rather he had made it by thrusting than by batting,—much more than by betting; much rather that he should ride war horses than back race horses; and—I say it sternly and deliberately—much rather would I have him slay his neighbor than cheat him."

Perhaps, in deciding a point as delicate as this, it would not be altogether amiss to consult the subject acted upon; in other words, the neighbor, who, whatever may be his prejudice against dishonest handling, might probably prefer it to the last irredeemable disaster. In this commercial age we get tolerably accustomed to being cheated—like the skinned eel, we are used to it,—but there is an old rhyme which tells us plainly that a broken neck is beyond all help of healing.

No, it is best, when we treat a theme as many-sided as war, to abandon modern inquisitorial methods, and confine ourselves to that good old-fashioned simplicity which was content to take short obvious views of life. It is best to leave ethics alone, and ride as lightly as we may. The finest poems of battle and of camp have been written in this unincumbered spirit, as, for example, that lovely little snatch of song from "Rokeby:"—

"A weary lot is thine, fair maid,
A weary lot is thine!
To pull the thorn thy brow to braid,
And press the rue for wine.
A lightsome eye, a soldier's mien,
A feather of the blue,
A doublet of the Lincoln green,—
No more of me you knew,
My love!
No more of me you knew."

And this other, far less familiar, which I quote from Lockhart's Spanish Ballads, and which is fitly called "The Wandering Knight's Song:"—

"My ornaments are arms,
My pastime is in war,
My bed is cold upon the wold,
My lamp yon star.


"My journeyings are long,
My slumbers short and broken;
From hill to hill I wander still,
Kissing thy token.


"I ride from land to land,
I sail from sea to sea;
Some day more kind I fate may find,
Some night, kiss thee."

Now, apart from the charming felicity of these lines, we cannot but be struck with their singleness of conception and purpose. "The Wandering Knight" is well-nigh as disincumbered of mental as of material luggage. He rides as free from our tangled perplexity of introspection as from our irksome contrivances for comfort. It is not that he is precisely guileless or ignorant. One does not journey far over the world without learning the world's ways, and the ways of the men who dwell upon her. But the knowledge of things looked at from the outside is never the knowledge that wears one's soul away, and the traveling companion that Lord Byron found so ennuyant,

"The blight of life—the demon Thought,"

forms no part of the "Wandering Knight's" equipment. As I read this little fugitive song which has drifted down into an alien age, I feel an envious liking for those days when the tumult of existence made its triumph, when action fanned the embers of joy, and when people were too busy with each hour of life, as it came, to question the usefulness or desirability of the whole.

There is one more point to consider. Mr. Saintsbury appears to think it strange that battles, when they occur, and especially when they chance to be victories, should not immediately inspire good war songs. But this is seldom or never the case, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" being an honorable exception to the rule. Drayton's heroic ballad was written nearly two hundred years after the battle of Agincourt; Flodden is a tale of defeat; and Campbell, whose songs are so intoxicatingly warlike, belonged, I am sorry to say, to the "Peace at all price" party. The fact is that a battle fought five hundred years ago is just as inspiring to the poet as a battle fought yesterday; and a brave deed, the memory of which comes down to us through centuries, stirs our hearts as profoundly as though we witnessed it in our own time. Sarpedon, leaping lightly from his chariot to dare an unequal combat; the wounded knight, Schönburg, dragging himself painfully from amid the dead and dying to offer his silver shield to his defenseless emperor; the twenty kinsmen of the noble family of Trauttmansdorf who fell, under Frederick of Austria, in the single battle of Mühldorf; the English lad, young Anstruther, who carried the queen's colors of the Royal Welsh at the storming of Sebastopol, and who, swift-footed as a schoolboy, was the first to gain the great redoubt, and stood there one happy moment, holding his flagstaff and breathing hard, before he was shot dead,—these are the pictures whose value distance can never lessen, and whose colors time can never dim. These are the deeds that belong to all ages and to all nations, a heritage for every man who walks this troubled earth. "All this the gods have fashioned, and have woven the skein of death for men, that there might be a song in the ears even of the folk of after time."