Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/63

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The War and the Future

them to help, and they went out by the hundred and the hundred thousand, and by the million, on that word alone, and they stayed there, in the mud, to help that little country, till they were killed.

I've been along many miles of that old line, and seen those graves, many of them not even marked, except by a bayonet, or a bit of packing case, and I've thought, as I went along, what epitaph could be put above that unending graveyard, and I could only think of one epitaph, "These men came here of their own free will to help their fellow men in trouble."

There comes the question, what is the war about? Each nation has its answer to that question, an answer that could be put into twenty words. But in each country, for many years before the war, millions of prejudices, and beliefs, and customs, and ignorances, and blindnesses, and memories, went to make the war. The question, what it is about, does not now so deeply matter, as the question, what the struggle is, now that it is in full swing.

It is a struggle between two conceptions of life, the soldier's and the civilian's. Both conceptions have existed ever since the world began. Much may be said for both.