Page:Some soldier poets.djvu/65

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SORLEY

Yet outwardly he was not at all "lost" in camp life, but held his own, was popular and successful, and did not know what ill health was. Promoted to a lieutenancy in November, 1914, he crossed to France in the following May, and was gazetted Captain in August, 1915, being killed near Hulloch on October the 13th that same year.

Once he wrote home wondering what kind of life he would take up after the war:

"Sorley is Gaelic for Wanderer. I have had a conventional education; Oxford would have corked it. But this (the war) has freed the spirit, glory be!"

Many, many must have felt freed from the tyranny of England by the mere fact of fighting for her against the tyranny of Germany. The tyranny of peace in half-baked countries like those we know, though less apparent than the tyranny of war, was perhaps more deadly to spiritual freedom; no Government yet established has deserved immunity from attack either from without or from within; that their constitutions should change smoothly and, if it may be, swiftly is the one possible hope for them all.

Much later Sorley writes:

"I am now beginning to think that free-thinkers should give their minds into subjection; for we, who have given our actions and volitions into subjection, gain such marvellous rest thereby. Only of course it is the subjecting of their powers of will and deed to a wrong master, on the part of a great nation, that has led Europe into war. Perhaps afterwards I and my likes will again become indiscriminate rebels. For the present, we find high relief in making ourselves soldiers."

No subjection can be wholesome and no master right for long. We must be freed in order to subject ourselves to better rules. No adequate rule has yet been conceived, even by the finest conscience. From prison to prison, or rather from enlargement to enlargement, men must advance or stagnate and die.

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