Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/15

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The War and the Future

season of April, when the apple blossom is beginning, I felt that I would talk of England. Not of any England of commerce or of history, nor of any state called England, but of that idea of England for which men are dying, as I speak, along 5,000 miles of war.

I believe that the people of a country build up a spirit of that country, build up a soul, which never dies, but lingers about the land for ever. I believe that every manly and beautiful and generous and kindling act is eternal, and makes that soul still greater and more living, till in the land where manly and kindling souls have lived, there is everywhere about the earth, present like beauty, like inspiration, this living gift of the dead, this soul. And nations are only great when they are true to that soul. Men can only be great when they are true to the best they have imagined. And I believe that in times of stress, in national danger, in calamity, the soul behind a nation kindles and quickens and is alive and enters into men, and the men of the nation get strength and power from it.

I believe that that great soul, made by the courage and beauty and wisdom of the millions of the race, is the god of the race, to protect it and guide it and to lead it into safety. And