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Soft as light and strong

Rises yet their song
And thrills with pride the cedar-haunted lawn

And every brooding dove.
But she, beloved above

All utterance known of love,
Abides no more the change of night and dawn,

Beholds no more with earth-born eye
These woods that watched her waking here where all things

die.

Not the light that shone

When she looked thereon
Shines on them or shall shine for ever here.

We know not, save when sleep
Slays death, who fain would keep

His mystery dense and deep,
Where shines the smile we held and hold so dear.

Dreams only, thrilled and filled with love,
Bring back its light ere dawn leave nought alive above.

Nought alive awake

Sees the strong dawn break
On all the dreams that dying night bade live.

Yet scarce the intolerant sense
Of day's harsh evidence

How came their word and whence
Strikes dumb the song of thanks it bids them give,

The joy that answers as it heard
And lightens as it saw the light that spake the word.

Night and sleep and dawn

Pass with dreams withdrawn :
But higher above them far than noon may climb

Love lives and turns to light
The deadly noon of night.

His fiery spirit of sight
Endures no curb of change or darkling time.

Even earth and transient things of earth
Even here to him bear witness not of death but birth.

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE.

ENGLAND AT WAR

Without being much aware of it, certainly without being much disturbed or even very curious about it, we are living amidst changes more sudden and profound than any which the world has known for centuries. At the word centuries, it will be remembered that we have not to go back hundreds of years for the French Revolution. But the French Revolution can be outdone in point of consequence. From time to time, long-continued processes of change in things more rooted than forms of government and systems of thought rush to completion, and then there is one of those bouleversements in which races and kingdoms fall or rise. Such events have happened many times in the history of mankind; and though most of us go upon an unspoken assumption that the dominions and thrones of the world were pretty well settled for good by the time we came into it, a clean sweep will be made of the whole of them a hundred times before earth becomes an ice globe or life retreats within the torrid zone. Where that certainty is remembered, a patient ear will be given to the belief that the world is now at the beginning of tremendous changes, comparable with those which have brought empires to the ground and transferred sovereign power from continent to continent.

This is from one of the sermons which, three years ago .or thereabout, were preached upon the fulfilment of the prophecy that some day the world would witness the portent of an 'awakened East.' Not that the preacher hung upon that text alone, which by itself would not have supplied his deductions. The sudden appearance in the Far East of a confident, well-disciplined, well-equipped fighting people, a people fit for commerce, eager for it, and ready for any adventure for its sake, was portentous enough ; but by no means enough to justify the expectation of a change in the distribution of empire. If that was to happen at no distant time which Pearson the prophet, and Rosebery the statesman, and the whole mass of opinion in England put off into · the dim vistas of futurity,' something more than the apparition of an upstart Japan must be at work. But this the preacher found (as he made out) in the imminent fulfilment of another forecast: namely, that the determination of England to live in friendless and unfriendly isolation, amidst an armed Europe with importunate ambitions and imperative needs, would not answer.

Persistence in this resolve would probably be punished by agreement amongst the Continental Powers to sink their differences awhile in combining against an empire which has too much, they think, of what they all want the most. This was the other

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prophecy; and even before the awakening of the East offered its provocations to such an arrangement there were signs of its coming about. And then, on a sudden, those provocations appeared. China was attacked and beaten by the Japanese so amazingly, the awakening seemed at once so formidable, that Europe was bewildered. All but Russia, who immediately interfered. But naturally wishing not to do without co-operation, she invited England to join her.

It was a momentous invitation-coming close, too, upon the hope of living on better terms with Russia which the friendliness of her new Emperor had encouraged. To accept it, to decline it, was in the first place to decide whether England should stand off from the Yellow Spectre or welcome it as an ally. That was the main point; but immediately associated with it was the question whether the Japanese imbroglio might not in one case retard and in the other precipitate the likelihood of hostile alliances. Both questions must have stared upon Lord Rosebery's Government when they considered the Czar's invitation, and both must have been anxiously debated. Not, however, with fortunate results; for the Government decided upon saying 'No' to the Czar and shaking hands with the Yellow Spectre.

This fateful decision was mildly put as “a policy of abstention.' Simple thing, policy of abstention; and so mysterious is the power of words that, conceivably, Ministers hardly saw what their policy was under the veiling word thrown over it. If so, they were soon helped to clearer sight. Their abstention policy was immediately interpreted by the whole of our newspaper press—approvingly—as a stroke at Russia on behalf of Japan. By Russia it was taken, of course, as so intended ; by Germany as opening wide the way to a new Triple Alliance for Eastern ambitions and purposes; and as all these readings were evidently correct, there was little hazard in expressing a belief that the awakening of the East' had already begun a conflict that would leave a lasting mark on the history of the world.

That was three years ago, more or less; and from that time to this nothing has happened that does not favour the belief. Three years of diplomacy might have changed the prospect for the better, and it happens that for nearly the whole of that period England has been in the hands of a minister of unsurpassed reputation for diplomatic success. But, in this great matter, to what avail ? Apparently, none. If anything was done to prevent or forestall the Continental league for the control of affairs in the East, the attempt was made too late ; and diplomacy is exactly the field where the strength of the league has been most evident, so far. In effect, it took the place of the European Concert and worked by its machinery. Incessantly active since 1894, the so-called Concert has shown at all points its conversion into what the Americans call a Trust; and this trust or combine' has dealt with our diplomacy very much as Mr. Rockefeller

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and his Standard Company would deal with an outside trader in mineral oil. The Concert treatment of the Armenian question, the Cretan question, the Turco-Greek difficulty, was less remarkable for its results to Armenians, Cretans, or even Greeks of the kingdom, than for a prolonged and malicious display of how ineffective England's authority had become.

What this year may bring forth no man knows; but it seems clear that the diplomatising of the last three years has done nothing to alter the prospect that suddenly opened up in 1895. No, but much to confirm it, as by the profoundly important, profoundly significant understanding between Russia and Austria, than which nothing of its kind in our time is more likely to pass into history, as a great event.

Yet our politicians still refused to believe in anything with the meaning of a European coalition. They would not hear of it; proving more clearly than ever that Englishmen, shut up in their island security, undisciplined by the apprehensions which so constantly exercise the Continental peoples, are losing outlook. But of course the disbelief may have been affected rather. Such affectations, feeble though they be, are suggested to us all by the defensive instinct. And there is the fact that, while the idea of partnership against England was still rejected as fantastic, the impression widened and deepened that before long we might have to fight for our own. That at least was admitted, and more and more plainly avowed as our cautious men in office showed by their anxiety about army and navy both that it was an impression they could not resist. Why should they? Bit by bit, stage by stage, the whole history of the past three years justified it abundantly; the latest events being the most signifi-. cant of all, while in perfect sequence and harmony with the rest.

Army and navy both : there is no escape from the obligation of adding to their strength. It is a matter in which there can be only one doubt : doubt as to whether we did not begin upon that business too late. We look to the immediate future of Japan, and see clearly enough what a world of difference two or three years of preparation would make. We look at home, and see ourselves in like case with the Japanese. With a curse upon the statesmanship that would not arm for fear of losing votes, and so was forced to arm at last with startling precipitancy, we acknowledge the temptation of those Continental Powers to make good their ground against us in the Far East before our naval and military programme’ is completed. : This. endeavour they are now employed upon, from a beginning that dates long before the occupation of Kiao-chau and Port Arthur. Meanwhile, more war-ships for France, more for Germany, more for Russia, additions which were of course to be expected; partly to balance our sudden enhancements of naval power, partly (perhaps) to fill anticipated gaps in the marine of those nations.

Yet nothing even now justifies apprehension of actual assault

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upon the British Empire. No doubt, the recent movements in the Far East and on the Upper Nile wore an ill look, accentuated as it was by their coming to light at the same moment. But yet there is no greater likelihood in politics than the exclusion of armed attack on England from the plans of the Continental partnership. No doubt attack always lay beyond these plans as a may or a may-notbe. It might come into them by the out-turn of events, but reasons that weigh heavily with patient, long-headed men, like those who have given to Russian statesmanship its position of command, seem quite opposed to anything of the kind. War is not wanted. The hope, the intention, is to do without it. We must suppose, indeed, that the glories of war have still their fascination for Russians, as certainly they have for the French, and unspeakably for the German war-lord ; but glory is not the present object of the partnership. It is deferred to business, and takes quite a secondary place; which explains why syndicate' is thought a more appropriate designation of the new arrangement than the usual term 'alliance' or 'coalition.' In answer to the talk of breaking up the Chinese Empire, it has been said that the Russian Government at any rate can have no such design--that, being a calculating Government, it would as soon think of draining a reservoir by dynamiting its embankment. Which is true; and so, as one of the least of the reasons against actual fire-and-sword attack upon the British Empire, the financial smash and confusion that would instantly follow upon any attempt of the kind may be mentioned. Syndicates go to work in a different way; and this is only one of the considerations that naturally persuaded the new alliance to spare our blood at present and even our possessions. And the same reasons which counselled abstention from actual attack upon England enjoined avoidance of all such provocation as might force her Government to open fire.

From this calculation it may appear that, for a time at least, our friends abroad were content that we should go about our business in peace. But that is not the case. The truth is and to understand it and its bearings is of the highest importance—that an actual state of war against England began some time ago. War has long been organised and in progress upon military lines.

The explanation of this, which seems a paradoxical statement, starts from the great discovery reserved for the later years of a veritable age of discovery. It is now known, and soon will be universally acknowledged, that commerce, that industrialism, which was to have been the agent of peace throughout the world, is not that at all : it turns out to be unequalled as an insidious and daring procuress of war. The sixth decade of the century, which had so much reason to fear that science would destroy Christianity, was solaced by the thought that here was another religion just in time. According to the habit

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