Mons, Anzac & Kut


Aubrey Herbert


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HUTCHINSON & CO. (Publisher) LTD.

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JOURNALS, in the eyes of their author, usually require an introduction of some kind, which, often, may be conveniently forgotten. The reader is invited to turn to this one if, after persevering through the pages of the diary, he wishes to learn the reason of the abrupt changes and chances of war that befell the writer. They are explained by the fact that his eyesight did not allow him to pass the necessary medical tests. He was able, through some slight skill, to evade these obstacles in the first stage of the war; later, when England had settled down to routine, they defeated him, as far as the Western Front was concerned. He was fortunately compensated for this disadvantage by a certain knowledge of the East, that sent him in various capacities to different fronts, often at critical times. It was as an Interpreter that the writer went to France. After a brief imprisonment, it was as an Intelligence Officer that he went to Egypt, the Dardanelles and Mesopotamia.

The first diary was dictated in hospital from memory and rough notes made on the Retreat from Mons. For the writing of the second diary, idle hours were provided in the Dardanelles between times of furious action. The third diary, which deals with the fall of Kut, was written on the Fly boats of the River Tigris.

When dots occur in the journal, they have their usual significance. The author was thinking his private thoughts, or, perhaps, criticizing some high authority, or concealing what, for the moment, at any rate, is better not revealed.

In the Retreat from Mons, only Christian or nicknames have generally been used. In the case of the other two Expeditions names have been used freely, though where it was considered advisable, they have occasionally been disguised or initials substituted for them.

This diary claims to be no more than a record of great and small events, a chronicle of events within certain limited horizons -- a retreat, a siege and an attack. Writing was often hurried and difficult, and the diary was sometimes neglected for a period. If inaccuracies occur, the writer offers sincere apologies.




MONS, 1914

ANZAC, 1915

KUT, 1916




AUBREY HERBERT was born at Highclere on April 3rd, 1880. He was the eldest son of the 4th Earl of Carnarvon by his second marriage. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Howard, of Greystoke. He was educated at Eton and a Balliol. Between 1903 and 1905 he was honorary attaché first at Tokio, then at Constantinople, after which he travelled extensively in the Turkish provinces. He married in 1910 Mary Vesey, only child of Viscount de Vesci, and in 1911 entered Parliament as Conservative member for the Yeovil Division of Somerset, a constituency which he held till his death. He had resigned his commission in his yeomanry regiment, the North Devon Hussars, in 1913, and consequently on the outbreak of war he was free to obtain a commission in the Irish Guards. He landed with them in France on August 13th. This book is a record of his war service up to the middle of 1916. Afterwards he was an intelligence officer at Salonika, and later in Italy, and in the last months of the war he was the head of the English Mission attached to the Italian Army in Albania, when he had the temporary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He died on September 26th, 1923.

Mons, Anzac and Kut was published in 1919, a moment most unfavourable. Every one wanted to forget the war, and nothing could be less comprehensible at the moment than the spirit "half-joy in life, half readiness to die" in which so many had first rushed to arms. Long before the war ended that mood had vanished, giving place to bleak determination, in its turn to be succeeded by cynicism, when men at last could measure against sacrifice, results. This contrast did not then bear looking at. The Prime Minister's actions had begun to contradict every principle in defence of which he had called upon men to die, and the country was represented by the most ignoble Parliament, largely composed of profiteers, which ever assembled at Westminster. Those who imagined they had fought for a chivalrous civilization against its opposite, found themselves committed to blockading a staving enemy who had already surrendered, and taking from them after war was over a death-toll of over half a million men, women and children; to a treaty which contained the seed of future wars, and, later, to an organized tit-for-tat murder policy in Ireland. The Government, bent upon prolonging the hallucinations of war-fever, had secured fanatical support by promises to hang the Kaiser and make Germany pay for the war, promises at which they winked behind the backs of the voters; while an enormous party fund was accumulated by the sale of honours. The author of this book was not happy during this phase of post-war England, and he died before it passed away, and the reader of this book, even after he had read only a few pages, will understand that his distress was inevitable. Chivalry, generosity, and readiness to believe in the good faith of others were the essence of his nature. Even his fun and high spirits were dependent upon that conception of life which implies that these qualities are potent. He loved to dare; he loved adventure; he loved to let people off and to give. But the value to him, in terms of his own happiness, of daring, adventure, generosity, depended on finding others responsive to them.

Some of his experience during the war itself brought disillusionment, for he had entered it in a thoroughly romantic spirit, and would fain have served as one who, like Brutus, "at Philippi e'en kept his sword like a dancer." But it was only afterwards that disillusionment fell upon him with full weight. He was soon spotted by his party leaders as one incapable of adapting himself to a "realistic" policy of humbug and opportunism as a sequel to sacrifices. At the close of the "Maurice Debate" he had had no doubt which was the more honest man, the Prime Minister or the soldier who had broken rules to bring certain charges, and he had voted against the enormous Government majority. Nevertheless, he was again returned for his old constituency, the Yeovil division of Somerset; his home was near and the voters knew him. As a re-elected Member of Parliament he opposed the Irish policy of the Government, and helped in every way he could the cause of small nationalities in Europe. But all will remember how powerless opposition was during those years, whether it came from without or within the Coalition Party itself. Moreover, Aubrey Herbert, though he was direct, was not formidable in attack; in politics he was a light-weight fighter. His indignation in private found relief in fantastic denunciations; in public through abrupt protests, questions and independent voting. It was not in his nature to allow indignation to grow old and hard so that contempt might be a tempered weapon in his hand. He lacked the deadly persistence which alone makes the independent man dreaded. He was one of those whose exuberant spontaneity the cynical can afford to discount; the kind of man whom professional politicians do not fear, because the hearts of such are clearly not "in the game"; or rather, because they only fight for what they immensely care for and while the impulse is hot within them.

Aubrey Herbert's politics were an expression of his human sympathies and his whole response to life. Whatever in politics could not be linked with his sense of values and his imagination was unreal and dry to him, and in such matters he never pretended to be more than an amateur. Statistics meant little to him; he instinctively translated measures into terms of individual experience. He had little personal ambition, though he loved to make a successful speech -- at least, he was entirely without envy, which supplies driving force to ambition and is apt to give it persistence of direction. He loved to serve and to be "in it"; but to be " in it" with -- the contradiction suggests him -- a devoted detachment. It was impossible that such a man should not have been up to his neck in the war, and that he should not have instantly put his life and energies at the service of that cause and seen it through. But -- and the mark of this is upon his diaries and was still more noticeable in his talk -- he reserved independence of thought and felling; the right to admire and even love an enemy, to appreciate, when he saw it, his point of view, and, on the other hand, to criticize anything he deplored in the attitude of his own countrymen. He was the antithesis, therefore, of the "party man," even in patriotism and war. Though he might admire the force which insensibility, prejudice or professionalism can lend to efficiency he could not himself wear blinkers. He could like those who wore them without knowing that they had them on, but only for other reasons. There was something in him akin to the artist's loyalty to his experience; and if I may speak more personally of my friend than I have done hitherto, it was that which made me so sure of him. One felt he could never deny a movement of sympathy, even if it were imprudent, compromising or debilitating to entertain it.

The reader of these diaries will notice that whenever circumstances arose which could only be handled by a man capable of understanding the point of view of others and of believing in their good faith, it was Aubrey Herbert who was chosen to deal with such an emergency; whether negotiations were with enemies or foreign allies, or, what may involve equal difficulties, with members of another service or other departments. No one could ever doubt his good faith; it was a talisman he always carried with him into all companies and into different parts of the world. It penetrated the barriers of class, education, tradition and nationality; the jealousies or suspicions which such differences engender went down before it. Only where his candour encountered in others a self-protective duplicity did it fail. Then he was at sea. He had no idea how to get at such a person; he could not use the same weapons either for defence or attack. If he happened to have the whip in his hand he struck savagely and suddenly at this thing; if he had not, he turned aside from it in impatient disgust. He could not confront it with cynicism or composure; his conduct towards others was based on the supposition that something so alien to himself did not exist. He took for granted, until evidence to the contrary was overwhelming, that every one, whoever he was, with whom he had to deal was what is often called "a gentleman." this supposition worked better in old semi-civilized communities, in Turkey and Albania for instance, than at Westminster; in rural than in commercial England. This fact had more to do with his championship of backward races, which struck many as fantastic, and of aristocratic tradition, which they interpreted as mere conservatism, than his love of either picturesqueness or privilege.

If the reader turns to the account of the brief amnesty which he arranged between English and Turks at Kaba Tepé, for the purpose of burying their dead and recovering arms, he will see the effect on others of Aubrey Herbert's readiness to take for granted that others were as generous as himself, and from their point of view as much in the right. It was a ticklish matter to arrange, for each army was afraid of disclosing it defences.

"There was some trouble because we were always crossing each other's lines. I talked to the Turks, one of whom pointed to the graves. "That's politics," he said. Then he pointed to the dead bodies, and said: "That's diplomacy. God pity all of us poor soldiers!"

"Much of this business was ghastly to the point of nightmare. I found a hardened old Albanian chaoush and got him to do anything I wanted. Then a lot of other Albanians came up, and I said: "Tunya tyeta." I had met some of them in Janian. They began clapping me on the back and cheering while half a dozen funeral services were going on all round, conducted by the chaplains. I had to stop them. I asked them if they did not want an Imam for a service over their own dead, but the old Albanian pagan roared with laughter and said that their souls were all right. They could look after themselves. Not many signs of fanaticism ....

"....I retired their troops and ours, walking along the line. At 4.7 I retired the white-flag men, making them shake hands with our men. Then I came to the upper end. About a dozen Turks came out. I chaffed them, and said that they would shoot me next day. They said, in a horrified chorus: "God forbid!" The Albanians laughed and cheered, and said: "We will never shoot you." Then the Australians began coming up, and said: "Good-bye, old chap; good luck!" And the Turks said: "Oghur Ola gule gule gedejekseniz, gule gule gelejekseniz" ("Smiling may you go and smiling come again"). Then I told them all to get into their trenches, and unthinkingly went up to the Turkish trench and got a deep salaam from it. I told them that neither side would fire for twenty-five minutes after they had got into the trenches. One Turk was seen out away on our left, but there was nothing to be done, and I think he was all right. A couple of rifles had gone off about twenty minutes before the end, but Potts and I went hurriedly to and fro seeing it was all right. At last we dropped into our trenches, glad that the strain was over. I walked back with Temperley. I got some raw whiskey for the infection in my throat, and iodine for where the barbed wire had torn my feet. There was a hush over the Peninsula...."

Later on he analyses the characteristics of the Turkish soldier, and the passage is also significant of his own character:

"The Turkish private soldiers, being Moslems, were inspired rather with the theocratic ideals of comradeship than by the esprit de corps of nationality, and spoke freely. They were always well treated, and this probably loosened their tongues, but Ahmed Ali was more voluble than the majority of his comrades, and I append information which he supplied as an illustration of our examinations and their results. The two sides of Turkish character were very difficult to reconcile. On the one hand, we were faced in the trenches by the stubborn and courageous Anatolian peasant, who fought to the last gasp; on the other hand, in our dugouts we had a friendly prisoner, who would overwhelm us with information. 'The fact is you are just a bit above our trenches. If only you can get your fire rather lower, you will be right into them, and here exactly is the dug-out of our captain, Riza Kiazim Bey, a poor, good man. You miss him all the time. If you will take the line of that pine-tree, you will get him."

No one could be more alive than he both to the ludicrousness and the folly of such extreme impartiality, but this spirit controlled by more immediate loyalties and common sense was thoroughly sympathetic to him. He had an aversion from the wilful exclusiveness of esprit de corps and the blatancy of its gusto; though his public-school education, and his service as a regimental officer, had made him acquainted both with its exhilarations and its uses. He had more patience with personal vanity than with that indirect form of self-praise which boasts of belonging, as the case may be, to the finest nation, party, regiment or class in the world. It was the stone-blind zeal of corporate self-satisfaction which was most offensive to him in the Germans before and during the war, and when he ran up against the same thing in his fellow-countrymen, he had to remind himself hurriedly that they were indeed in other respects splendid and lovable fellows. That phrase "theocratic ideals of comradeship" which he uses to describe the Turkish soldier, comes very near also to describing something intensely characteristic of himself. He was possessed by an emotional sense of equality towards all men, though it was accompanied by recognition of differences between them, whether in regard to intelligence, habits, traditions or breeding. Only such differences were to him no barrier to affection and communication, while his own behaviour took for granted that they were no barrier to those with whom he was talking.

His manners were therefore perfect. He showed to every one, in whatever relation they stood to himself, the same eager, easy, careless friendliness, and when occasion demanded it the same exquisite consideration for their feelings. After all, the essence of good manners is respect for the self-respect of others, and politeness is only the charity which we can show those we cannot help. In Aubrey Herbert that respect and charity were instinctive. He could give a peremptory order, and he was often both impatient and imperious, without inflicting the smallest sense of humiliation, or help, say, a servant with his or her work without conveying the faintest impression of condescension. Those little things can only be done by one in whom a sense of "theocratic comradeship" is constant. Aristocrat though he was by birty and tradition, he was well-aware that he was more democratic in feeling than the majority of professed democrats. Few types exasperated him more than the philanthropist who can only be kind to those he never sees, the democrat who loathes the people, the anti-snob racked by class-consciousness, and the theoretic internationalist who mistrusts all foreigners. Not one of these types is uncommon in public life; and on people in whom there was this discord between their principles and their feelings Aubrey Herbert had no effect, whether in Parliament or out of it. But on the other hand, those whose lives and opinions were all of a piece recognized him at once as a man who in speaking spoke out of himself. And they listened to him and liked him, even when they suspected him of being impractical.

Exposition was never his strong point. He was more interested in conclusions than in arguments, and details bored him. He was amused, too, by the darts and zigzags of his own intuitions, and though there was much more thought and knowledge connecting his conclusions than he usually displayed, the impulse to express his views was not, in the first instance, so much a desire to convince as to discover a kindred spirit, or to challenge opposition. This characteristic, combined with extreme candour, gave his talk a boyish flavour, especially noticeable when he was in the company of others who had learnt to deliver, even insufficiently considered opinions, with an appearance of weighty deliberation. Although with regard to the Near East he had a specialist's acquaintance with facts as well as a grasp of the human elements involved, he never delivered himself upon these questions with an air of authority; for example, rather as one who happened to have observed certain relevant things.

No one understood better the internal and external problems of the Albanians. And if it is asked what Aubrey Herbert most notably achieved during his public career, the first answer is that he contributed more than anyone to bringing into existence the modern independent state of Albania.

He had travelled twice in the northern mountains of Albania, in 1907 and 1911. His kavass, Kiazim Kukeli, was a mountain bey from Ipek, a place he probably visited, in the first instance, in order to see the surroundings of the friend and companion of his travels. He was delighted with the mountaineers, their hospitality, their fighting qualities and their songs; and he had described his pleasure and these rides in his posthumous book of travels, Ben Kendim (Hutchinson, 1924). During the Balkan Peace Conference in London, the Albanian delegation came to him for help, and from 1912 onwards he continued to champion the freedom of Albania. A small committee, formed of somewhat incongruous elements whom his enthusiasm had assembled, formed a base from which Aubrey Herbert and Miss Edith Durham constantly sallied out to the rescue of Albania.

Albania had been the first Turkish province to rebel against the Turks. And a Turkish army had been fighting in Albania since two years before the Balkan War. The Balkan Allies had their own plans for dividing it amongst themselves, and if Aubrey Herbert had not been in London to press the historical and racial rights of the Albanians to independence, and to keep their case constantly before Lord Grey and the Foreign Office, the Albanians would never have had their claims recognized in the Treaty of London. During the next year she stood in more need than ever of such championship. The Montenegrins and the Greeks, reluctant to abandon their claims, allowed incessant attacks to be made on Albania by marauding bands: people were massacred, villages burned and pillaged. Meanwhile, Aubrey Herbert was fighting in and out of Parliament, by speeches, questions, private interviews and letters to the Press against these frontier claims on the part of Greece and Montenegro. Luckily for Albania the English representatives of the Frontier Commission upheld her claims, and in the north at any rate the Montenegrins were kept at bay by an English Police Force under Colonel Phillips and Admiral Burney. In the summer of 1913 Aubrey Herbert, accompanied by Mehmed Bey Konitza, rode from the South to the North of Albania. It was a kind of triumphal progress. The Albanians welcomed him as their chief champion in their diplomatic struggles with the Great Powers.

About this time, indeed up to the beginning of Prince Wied's brief reign, groups of representative Albanians made attempts to secure Aubrey Herbert as their ruler; proposals which they also renewed at the end of the war. Another signal mark of Albanian confidence was also shown him in the middle of the war. After the Serbian retreat, Albania had been almost entirely occupied by the Austrians, and he received a request from Albanians in America to take command of a regiment a thousand strong recruited from among those willing to cross the Atlantic to fight for the Allies in their own country.

The English War Office was willing to give him permission, but neither Italy nor Russia desired to see Albanians fighting on the Allied side, which might well have interfered with the fulfillment of their hopes of seeing Albania divided. For the same reason his own suggestion of raising guerrilla bands in the Northern mountains to harass the Austrian defence after the Serbian rout, had been turned down earlier in 1915. On that occasion he got as far as Rome, with the permission of the War Office and the Foreign Office at home, when owing to Russian intervention he was ordered to return to England.

After the war Southern Albania was occupied by Italy. A scheme for its division between Italy, Serbia, and Greece had been authorized during the war by Mr. Lloyd George, M. Clemenceau, and Signor Orlando. Then, the sudden attack on Valona by Albanian volunteers caused the withdrawal of all Italian troops, and partly for this reason and partly owing to the incessant protests and representations made by English friends of Albania and Aubrey Herbert in particular, the Peace Conference did once again recognize her independence, though with diminished frontiers. Her position, however, was not really assured until Lord Robert Cecil succeeded, against much opposition, in getting her admitted as a member of the League of Nations.

Modern Albania is to a large extent the creation of Aubrey Herbert's efforts.

All that was romantic in him would have rejoiced had he suddenly found himself changed from a Somersetshire squire into a Balkan king. But his estimate of probabilities prevented his seriously regretting what from the first was outside the range of "practical politics," even had there been at the time an organized Albanian government behind the offer. He regretted much more the thwarted chance of commanding that Albanian regiment; a very odd one it would have been, which few men but he could have handled -- certainly no disciplinarian of the conventional type. He had courage enough for either undertaking. Courage was a virtue he had had to exercise form his birth, for he was born with a disability, which only taut determination prevented from spoiling his life. He was born so short-sighted that he could only read by holding a book to one eye so that its pages almost brushed his nose. During boyhood he therefore missed all the triumphs and pleasures he would have most enjoyed. At Eton he had a private tutor who read to him the passages he had to prepare. He was out of it; he could not play games, and his first years were far from happy. To his contemporaries he seemed one of those untidy, weak little scallawags who add nothing to the credit of the House and excel in nothing that deserves respect. But the fierce energy of his resistance to the casual baiting which is the lot of such little boys, and the discovery that he was uncommonly amusing, and in spirit at any rate ready for anything, made his later school years tolerable. On leaving Eton he was taken to Wiesbaden to the great oculist, Dr. Pagenstecker, who operated on the lens of the blinder eye, restoring to it long sight, the better one continuing to be serviceable for reading.

Thus he was suddenly given the freedom of the world. At Oxford he was as gay as a prisoner released. His pent-up energy rushed into intellectual interests, while whenever fun was furious he became the prominent figure. It was his last excessive prank that was always most laughed over afterwards and best remembered. These were all of an entirely unmalicious kind: burgling the New College plate, climbing buildings and chapels, jumping from alarming heights or across intimidating chasms. Whenever the spirit of the moment made taking risks seem a proper tribute to the joy of life, Aubrey became a natural leader. Incidentally he was sent down for a while; incidentally he got his "first class." for a few years after leaving Oxford the mention of his name always first evoked such stories, which to the staider sort suggested a rather tiresome dare-devilry, but to meet him, was to dispel that conception. Still, the impulse to indulge in tests of his own courage intermittently continued, and years after he had left Constantinople a high window used to be pointed out from which Aubrey Herbert had dived after dinner into the Bosphorus. Even after his youth was over the apprehensive could never be quite sure at moments to what lengths he might not go. On the other hand, he made no fetish of virility; conventional manliness was rather anti-pathetic to him. Though he could, if necessary, put up with severe hardships and joke through them, he was quite ready on an occasion of no importance to declare himself incapacitated by a blister; and while he would bear real pain and illness without a murmur, he might utterly abandon himself to the miseries of a heavy cold.

Perhaps the most graceful contribution aristocracies have made to civilization is a gay light stoicism; the tradition that it is neither becoming nor considerate to others to sulk over spilt milk, whether misfortune has taken the form of a missed train of a financial crash, a burnt pudding or a burnt home. He was the embodiment of this spirit which made mishaps, and even graver misfortunes, more tolerable in his company. But the war, and a calamity which overtook him a year before his death, called upon far deeper reserves of stoicism. While he was in the middle of a speech sudden darkness descended upon him; he finished, but he had to be led from the platform. The lens of the operated eye had slipped and the sight of the other was threatened. Under this calamity no man could have allowed his friends to feel less the inadequacy of their sympathy. His talk remained animated and erratic. He set himself down to dictating and arranging the manuscript notes of his posthumous book of travel, Ben Kendim.

Of the outer man these pages have as yet given the reader no idea. He was well over medium height and slimly built. His normal carriage was stooping, his gait buoyant and careless, and he was apt to fling himself into chairs in any attitude of comfortable collapse and then to leap up again in the excitement of talk. All his movements were expressive. His dress was never intentionally unconventional, but unless he had taken special pains with his get-up, which he could seldom be induced to do, its general effect was decidedly unusual. He was untidy, his shirts bulged and his tie was apt to rise and obscure his collar. He would clap on his head any hat to hand regardless of the rest of his costume. He did not notice when his clothes were shabby, and strangers must often have been surprised to discover, as they must have done after a moment's conversation, that such an unpretentious-looking person was so politely adroit and so completely at home in the world.

His entry into a room was impetuous but never dramatic, and his greetings were exceptionally warm; his voice when he was pleased to see one became high and clear. He gave the impression of being completely unselfconscious, but at the same time exceptionally aware of other people. He was a flattering listener, and one of his distinctive gestures was that of bending towards the person to whom he was talking, or of drawing closer his chair in a manner which seemed to convey, "Now, now we are going to understand each other." then, he would listen with head slightly on one side, checking, now and then, an impulse to interrupt in precisely the way which stimulates most the volubility of others. Among friends he loved to promote laughter at his own expense. Many of his gestures were decidedly idiosyncratic. At meals while listening he would meditatively beat upon the palm of his hand with an unused knife. He would often seize a bottle from the table and apply it to his eye like a telescope to see now much more liquor there was still in it. And when an impulse to be confidentially emphatic possessed him, he would raise an arm and, stooping forward, bring it down slowly with the deliberate motion of one tolling a bell. This gesture of eagerly stooping forward was balanced by a movement equally characteristic, that of suddenly drawing himself backwards and erect. And as such moments an almost deprecating attitude of attention was instantly replaced by an impetuously alert dignity. He looked extremely well at such moments, valorous and self-assured.

These two movements marked the delivery of his speeches, which were informal and unrhetorical, but full of phrases and unexpected turns. He spoke from the briefest headings always written in the Turkish language. His head was small and compact; his hair which turned grey during the war grew thick, strong and low upon his forehead. It naturally bristled in several directions, and if he had not cropped it, it would have been untameable except by hairdressers' "fixatives" and oily preparations, which it was impossible to imagine his using. He had no liking for sleekness either in body or mind. His nose was aquiline, and he grew a small scrubby moustache. His eyes were prominent and grey, and heavy lidded. Even in one had never seen him read one might have inferred that he was very shortsighted. He read, as a matter of fact, with extreme rapidity; a habit he had probably acquired by having had to spare his eyes. One glance gave him the gist of a sentence, three or four more the drift of a page. His reading was entirely unsystematic. He never talked as though he were well-up in any department of literature, and he would often dart acute observations from the ambush of apparent ignorance. He constantly re-read or reminded himself again of his favourite books. He loved poetry, and in poetry, exciting, easy rhythms and verbal finish. He wrote poetry himself, and occasionally to his own satisfaction; but he did not expect his friends to share this. When to distract himself from the sensation of blindness he turned to memories of his early travels, the verses which he wrote are characteristic both of his muse and himself.

Gold-dusted memories of the Past
Abide like friends, but falter,
Like morning mirages that last,
Yet lasting, later, alter.
Ah, was that mountain quite so high,
and had its flowers that scent?
Could winds be friendly and as shy,
That filled night's starlit tent.
And did it taste so good, that wine,
At the dear journey's end,
Beneath the whispering island pine,
Beside a singing friend?
God knows the answer to these things,
Man is a dreamer, age and youth,
And none forget the sound of wings,
No rainbow's traitor to the truth.
And if these colours were not fair,
As memory paints, still let them stand,
To be as perfect and as rare,
As all the ghosts of that dream land.

The man who in seeking a symbol for what has been most permanent in his past thinks first of his friendships, and feels, when looking back, that even memory's enchantments cannot have embellished the life of his affections, has lived enviably and well.


I. Mons