Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/14

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The War and the Future

So, casting about for a theme, I thought, that today is St. George's Day, the day of the Patron Saint of England, and that today, in the far past, that great knight of God rode out, in the Eastern country, and killed a dragon which had been devouring women, and that Englishmen had thought that deed a holy, and most beautiful and manly thing, and had chosen St. George from among all saints to be their saint, and had taken his banner to be their banner, and called upon him, century after century, when they went into battle. For they felt that such a man lived on after death, and would surely help all holy and beautiful and manly men for ever and for ever.

And I thought, too, that on this day, 354 years ago, the child, William Shakespeare, was born, in that old house in Stratford which so many of you have gone to see. And that on this same day, after he had done his day's work, he passed out of this life, into that Kingdom of England which is in the kindling mind, in all its moments of beauty, and that there he, too, lives for ever, to give peace, even as St. George gives a sword, to all who call upon him.

So, thinking these things, all the more keenly, because I am far from England, in this sweet