Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/347

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Great Speeches of the War

Germany the more will the intellectual possessions and values of both nations become their common property, and both nations be found nearer to one another in their inner lives. The foundation of a mutual appreciation, by the possession of the same ideals and a community of culture and ethics, will be widened, and in this way the Universities will also help forward political aims.

Therefore I cannot sufficiently express my pleasure in seeing numbers of my youthful fellow countrymen gathered here this evening whose mission it will be some day to help the German people to an understanding of British feeling and British customs, and to spread among us a knowledge of the ideals which give to British culture its distinctive character, and which thus govern the soul of the British nation.

No one has depicted the magic of Oxford in more eloquent words than Matthew Arnold, and the impetus given to our aspirations towards higher aims of which we are all conscious when in her midst. "Steeped in sentiment as she lies, spreading her gardens to the moonlight, and whispering from her towers the last enchantment to the Middle Age, who will deny that Oxford, by her ineffable charm, keeps ever calling us nearer to the true goal of all of us, to the ideal, to perfection—to beauty, in a word, which is only truth seen from another side?—nearer, perhaps, than all the science of Tübingen."

Nevertheless, it was Matthew Arnold who showed a complete understanding of German intellectual life in his well-known verses on Goethe, and no one more than he led the way here in Oxford to an appreciation of German research and the German spirit. Hardly any other English poet has fostered and spread the love of German literature here in Oxford more than he has done. I am also especially pleased to know that a large number of German students meet in Oxford every year to worship at the shrine of British learning, not forgetting British sport, which finds so many followers in our midst, and which conduces greatly to the moral and physical strengthening of the nation.

It may be said that the people who cultivate sports govern the world, and will do so more and more. I regret sincerely that I had not the privilege of studying here myself, but I hope to make up for it by letting my sons keep some terms. [Cheers.] I need not dwell on the merits of English Universities, they are known to us all. They tend to the development of a strong personality and the formation of men of