But though we mourn thy agony
And weep beneath the shadow of thy cross—
We know the day
That brings the resurrection and the life
Shall dawn for thee when war and all its strife
Hath passed away.
Then, out of all her travail
and her pain,
Belgium, though crushed to earth, shall rise again;
And on the sod
Whence sprang a race so strong, so free from guile,
Men shall behold, in just a little while,
The smile of God.
Land of the brave—soon,
by God’s grace, the free—
Thy woe is transient; joy shall come to thee;
It cannot fail.
The darkest night gives way to rosy dawn,
And thou, perchance, shalt see on Easter morn,
The Holy Grail.
By Preston Lockwood
[From THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 21, 1915.]
One of the compensations of the war, which we ought to take advantage of, is the chance given the general public to approach on the personal side some of the distinguished men who have not hitherto lived much in the glare of the footlights. Henry James has probably done this as little as any one; he has enjoyed for upward of forty years a reputation not confined to his own country, has published a long succession of novels, tales, and critical papers, and yet has apparently so delighted in reticence as well as in expression that he has passed his seventieth year without having responsibly “talked” for publication or figured for it otherwise than pen in hand.
Shortly after the outbreak of the war Mr. James found himself, to his professed great surprise, Chairman of the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps, now at work in France, and today, at the end of three months of bringing himself to the point, has granted me, as a representative of THE NEW YORK TIMES, an interview. What this departure from the habit of a lifetime means to him he expressed at the outset:
“I can’t put,” Mr. James said, speaking with much consideration and asking that his punctuation as well as his words should be noted, “my devotion and sympathy for the cause of our corps more strongly than in permitting it thus to overcome my dread of the assault of the interviewer, whom I have deprecated, all these years, with all the force of my preference for saying myself and without superfluous aid, without interference in the guise of encouragement and cheer, anything I may think worth my saying. Nothing is worth my saying that I cannot help myself out with better, I hold, than even the most suggestive young gentleman with a notebook can help me. It may be fatuous of me, but, believing myself possessed of some means of expression, I feel as if I were sadly giving it away when, with the use of it urgent, I don’t gratefully employ it, but appeal instead to the art of somebody else.”