Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/17

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The War and the Future

humorous and most manly soul is the soul of England. It is in Chaucer, in Shakespeare, in Dickens. It is in the old ballads and tales of Robin Hood, who stood up for the poor, and was merry walking in the green forest. It is in the little villages of the land, in the old homes, in the churches, in countless old carvings, in old bridges, in old tunes, and in the old acts of the English, a shy, gentle, humorous and most manly soul, that stood up for the poor and cared for beauty. No finer thing can be said of men than that, that they stood up for the poor and cared for beauty; that they cared to be just and wise.

Nearly 300 years ago, the life of England suffered a rude change in seven years of civil war. The ways of life which had been settled for five generations were suddenly and completely changed. There followed a turbulent and unsettled century, during which, for reasons of party, a foreign king, and line of kings, with foreign interests, and foreign methods, came into our land.

And at the same time, something else came into our land. Industry and adventure had long been virtues of the English; but now the two together began to create competitive com-