Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/51

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39
The War and the Future

the needs of this great war and for the supply of our friends.

The enemy spreads abroad lies concerning us. I am not going to answer them. Lies do not last long.

There is no need to lie about a people. Still less is there any need to lay claim to this or that glory. No nation is so bad that it has not something very good in it; and none so glorious that it has not some taint of self.

And I'm not here to sing my country's praises. No one will do that. Patriotism, as I see it, is not a fine drawing of the sword, behind some winged and glittering Victory. It is nothing at all of all that. It is a very sad thing and a very deep thing and a very stern thing.

St. George did not go out against the dragon like that divine calm youth in Carpaccio's picture, nor like that divine calm man in Donatello's statue. He went out, I think, after some taste of defeat, knowing that it was going to be bad, and that the dragon would breathe fire and that very likely his spear would break and that he wouldn't see his children again and people would call him a fool. He went out, I think, as the battalions of our men went out,