Page:Some soldier poets.djvu/17

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JULIAN GRENFELL

The war has confounded matter-of-fact calculation and made most people aware of unprized volcanic resources in human nature. However, some men, many young men, have always felt moved, supported or opposed by agencies of which they could give no consistent account to the seasoned worldling. Rhythms and cadences which express or seem to lead on to the expression of life's hidden value take possession of young minds, control and contort their speech into jangling rhyme which, since the war, has acquired increasing popularity, till critics remember how during the wars of Napoleon verse sold better than prose, and wonder whether this may not happen again. The customs and cares of civil life dishearten and depress, and a run on poetry would be proof of reawakened sensibility. Let us hope that England, where life has seemed both stablest and stalest, is to be refreshed by a wave of finer enthusiasm. The young will feel it first, for they are never stale or established. Of all the young men whom England has sent out to fight, he who has produced the best poem seems to have least hesitated, answering the call to fight with ecstatic joy.

Captain the Hon. Julian H. F. Grenfell, D.S.O., was born on 30th March 1888, obtained a commission in the 1st Royal Dragoons in September, 1909, and died of wounds on 26th May 1915, having written the following poem about a month earlier : —

INTO BATTLE

The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun's gaze glorying.
And quivers in the sunny breeze ;