Page:Some soldier poets.djvu/48

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SOME SOLDIER POETS

imagination can relieve our young captain of his accoutrements and exchange his gas mask for one which laughs. Yes, nimble youth plays with life and death, and interchanges agony with ecstasy, even as laughter sheds tears for very pleasure.

Those who shall gaze back a century hence may discern rather in Nichols than in Sassoon or Graves the poet's mind that is independent of time and approaches all human circumstance with the kinsman's joy or pain. It will depend on what they are yet to write, which of these three those distant readers are best able to strip and set free in the Palaestra of immortal youth with Grenfell and Brooke—companions meet for those who read with Plato or those who, a-horseback, passed Pheidias on the road, and who, also, most of them, matured and became different when Death had picked his favourites out.

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