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Page 9 text:
THE GLAMOUR OF WAR 9
maddened action of the battlefield. War crushes the thriving
cities and leaves a desolate ruin, a fruitless field, a dreary
waste. Many civilizations there have been, epoch-making
triumphs of mankind, the growth of evolutionary develop-
ment. They have held their allotted sway upon the earthg
they have reached heights in arts, in science, never known
before. But even these vast civilizations have found their
ruin by the sword. War has shaken their lirmarnent until,
like the falling stars, they have plunged from the very
zenith of glorious achievements down into the abyss of
degradation, This is the record of war. When we consider
War's direful pictureg those scenes of grieving families,
broken homes, ruined cities, wasted nations and tottering
civilizations, we fully realize that war is terrible.
Yet, strange to say, in spite of all this horror, there is
a glamour, a fascination, an almost inexplicable witchery, that
inspires us with admirationg there is a thrill which makes our
hearts beat quickly. Let us consider for a while this thrill,
its effect on literature and the cause of the thrill.
We all remember how in days of childhood we listened
with beaming eyes and with a feverish emotion of youth to
those strange old tales of battles and of wars, of brave deeds
and valiant men. How our young breasts thrilled at such
inspiring stories. How we loved to hear our parents at
eventide tell us of Richard the Lion-Hearted and his bold
Crusaders, or of the daring knights of the Round Table, or
of Napoleon's lightning strokes. How we loved to paint
with the rich coloring of the youthful mind those glorious
scenes. just as, long ago, the boy Spartacus, sitting at the
feet of his aged grandsire, heard with throbbing temples and
cheeks aglow with a mysterious ardor, those rousing tales
of Marathon and Leuctra, so we in childhood days desired
to hear those stirring tales of wars and heroes. .
We were thrilled not only with the deeds, but even with
the death of heroes. Yes, even at tales of death in the ranks
Page 8 text:
hr Cblumnm' uf mar
AR as conceived by some people may be
likened to a game of chess. They look upon
it more or less as the interesting pastime
of rival kings, in which a multitude of
human pawns are placed upon the .chess
board of the battlefield and with cold scien-
nd order are maneuvered, moved and sacri-
tilic precision a
Heed in one great game. The chess board may represent
the battleiield. The pawns of the game are the companies
and battalions of living soldiers, the obedient instruments of
belligerent governments. The game itself is war, stripped
of all its realism and dread significance, nothing more than
an array of moving units.
But there is another and truer conception of warg a con-
ception of war not as a scientific contest or a strategic enter-
prise of nations, but as the hideous expression of passion
triumphant over reason, the wild orgy of ghastly exploits
and sanguinary strifeg the embodiment of all that is abhor-
rent to the eye of man, of all that is most repulsive to his
feelings, of all that is most adverse to the natural yearnings
of his heart. And well we might conceive of war as such.
Shattering all the sweet ties of domestic happiness, peace
and simple contentment, war, like some clutching fist of mail,
reaches into the hallowed precincts of the home and snatches
from out the warmful associations and loving sympathies of
family life, the very iiower of young manhood. And for
what? To tear those beloved creatures into pieces with
jagged shot, until they starve and parch and perish through
days of endless torture, deserted on the battlefield. Proud
cities, the costly products of ceaseless human toil, have
raised their towering edifices with civic majesty. But war
transforms the healthful activity of industry into the wild,
Page 10 text:
1U THE IGNATIAN
of battle we were not shockedg we were not horrifiedgiwe
were inspired by that same mysterious, irresistible emotion.
We felt that such a death is glorious.
"Come to the- bridal chamber, Death,
Come in consumption's ghastly form,
The earthquake's shock, the ocean storm,
And thou art terrible! ,
"But to the hero, when his sword
Has won the battle for the free,
Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word,
And in its hollow tones are heard
The thanks of millions yet to be.
We tell his doom without a sighg
For he is Freedom's now, and Fame's-
One of the few, the immortal names,
That were not born to die."
In more mature years, as we emerged from the fanciful
days of childhood, as we learned to appreciate the purpose
of various wars, and as we began to realize what great causes,
what great principles, what great blessings are won and lost
through the cruel arbitrament of the sword, then our enthu-
siasm was increased, our thrilling interest in war was intensi-
fied. The Crusades were fought that the sacred soil of
Palestine might be purged of the sacrilegious, scoiiing Sara-
cen. Are we disgusted at the .cost in blood and in life of
those holy wars? No, we are aflame with the holy cause.
Our revolution was fought that our nation might be free.
Do we not thrill at the recollection of each sad event of
that sorrowful time? Our Civil War was fought that our
nation, conceived in liberty, might endure. It was fought to
spread the cause of freedom through the world.
just as we have felt the thrill of war, so people of every
century have been influenced by the same subtle emotion.
We are not surprised therefore to End that war is the pre-
dominant note in all literature. Poets and orators, thrilling
., if .wwuiamwvw f- f
"Wi, - w?"".
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