We have the impression of a vast mental capacity turned to the lifelong study of a fascinating subject and acquiring in it the dignity of attitude and the naturalness which mastery inevitably produces. War has been the constant meditation of this powerful brain. In “La Conduite de la Guerre” this meditation is the minute historical examination of the battles of the First Empire and 1870. “Nothing can replace the experience of war,” writes the author, “except the history of war,” and it is clear that he understands the word “history” as all those who go to the past for a lesson in greatness understand it.
“Les Principes de la Guerre” is more immediately technical, yet it strikes one as being less a speculation than a visualizing of what modern war was sure to be. If the reader did not feel that he lacks the background which only the contemplation a million times repeated of concrete details can create, he would be tempted to marvel at the extraordinary simplicity of these views. But a good judge who was very near the General until a wound removed him for a while from the—to him—fascinating scene tells me that this simplicity and directness—which marked the action of Foch at the battle of the Marne as they formerly marked his teaching—are the perfection to which only a few can aspire.
By ELLA A. FANNING.
“For those who
die in war, and have none to pray for
We lay a wreath of laurel
on the sward,
Where rest our loved ones in a deep repose
Unvexed by dreams of any earthly care,
And, checking not our tears, we breathe a prayer,
Grateful for even the comfort which is ours—
That we may kneel and sob our sorrow there,
And place the deathless leaf, the rarest flowers.
Though Winter’s cruel
fingers brown the sod,
It’s dearer far than all the world beside!
Forms live again—we gaze in love and pride
On youthful faces prest close to our own.
Eyes smile to ours; we hear each tender tone,
Grief’s smart is softened—less the sense of loss.
This grave we have, at least; we’re not alone!
And they must know of our
Our tender thought—our memory—our prayers!
And in our constancy, ah! each one shares
To whom death comes on distant battlefields,
When life’s last breath not even the solace yields—
“There’s one who’ll mourn for me—whose tears will flow!”—
Not even a grave is theirs, unnamed, unwept!
God rest their souls—the dead we do not know!