Page:Above the battle.djvu/169

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War Literature

sanitary column in Galicia, and the sight of so much suffering drove him to despair and death. And there are many hidden tragedies, still unrevealed. When they are made known, humanity will tremble in contemplating its handiwork.

I reflected, as doubtless many of my French readers have also done, in reading through these German writings inspired by the war—writings through which from time to time there passes a mighty breath of revolt and sorrow—that our young writers are not writing "literature." Instead of books they give us deeds, and their letters. And in re-reading some of their letters I thought that ours had chosen the better part. It is not for me now to point out the position that this heroic correspondence will occupy, not only in our history but also in our literature. Into it the flower of our youth has put all its life, its faith and its genius: and for some of those letters I would give many of the finest lines of the noblest poems. Whatever be the result of this war, and the opinion as to its value later, it will be recognised that France has written on paper, mud-stained and often blotted with blood, some of its sublimest pages. Assuredly this war touches us more nearly than it does our adversaries, for who of us would have the heart to write a play