Page:John Masefield.djvu/14

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lie buried in Gallipoli. "Gallipoli is a book to strike the critical faculty numb and hush the heart of the hearer. For an age—aye, forever on the earth, so far as we can dream it—it will be read and gloried in afresh, and heads will be bowed and tears of strong men shed at every telling. It is as yet too sacred for applause," wrote W. H. Hamilton.

In The Old Front Line (1917) he gives us a graphic account of the front as it was when the Battle of the Somme began. Through his active service with the Red Cross, Masefield came into direct contact with the realism of war, and his descriptions are vivid and gripping. The early days of the War can be relived through this book. As in Gallipoli, there are innumerable interesting illustrations.

In the spring of 1918 John Masefield came to America as an emissary for his country, and two speeches delivered at that time are contained in The War and the Future one with that title and the other "St. George and the Dragon." Many anecdotes enliven the vivid descriptions of the war. In each he pleads for special cooperation between England and America.

Lollingdown Downs (1918), a title given because most of the poems contained in it were written at that place, includes the famous series of lyrics and sonnets that many consider Masefield's profoundest work.

With the close of the War, a new Masefield appeared. The year 1919 saw the publication of Reynard the Fox, that flashing record of a hunt which stirs the blood of every reader, whether he has ever ridden to the hounds or not. Here is England, her people, and her dearest sport, sung in swinging, almost perfect verse. "I wrote Reynard the Fox partly because the events of a fox hunt have been for some centuries the deepest pleasure in English country life, and partly because the fox hunt brings together on terms of equality all sorts and conditions of the English people. Hunting makes more people happy than anything I know." The quarto edition, with its colored plates and many line drawings, is a proud book in many collections.