Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/19

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

was blackened, and the soul of the land under a cloud.

If you consider the thought and the voices of that time, you can see that the soul of the land was under a cloud. The thought and the voices of that time are things divorced from the body of the people. The thought is the possession of a few leisured men. It is not the joy of a great body of men. The voices are the voices of a few men crying in the wilderness that things are evil.

The thought of that time was the thought of Dr. Johnson's Club, and of Joshua Reynolds' patrons. The voices are the voices of Wm. Blake crying aloud that he would rebuild the city of God among those black Satanic mills, and of Wm. Wordsworth, who saw that poetry, which should be the delight of all, was become an unknown tongue to the multitude. And later the voices become more passionate and wilder and bitterer. They are the voices of Byron, who saw the foreign king, that royal lunatic, and his drunken but jovial son, and the bought-and-sold politicians who ran the country, for what they were, and mocked them. And the voice of Shelley, who cried to the men of England to shake themselves free, and the