'All's Well!'

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FOREWORD For those who were chiefly in my heart when these verses came to me from time to time-our men and boys at the Front, and those they leave behind them in grievous sorrow and anxiety at home-my little message is that, so far as they are concerned--ALL'S WELL!- Those who have so nobly responded to the Call, and those who, with quiet faces and breaking hearts, have so bravely bidden them -God speed!--with these, All is truly Well, for they are equally giving their best to what, in this case, we most of us devoutly believe to be the service of God and humanity. War is red horror. But, better war than the utter crushing-out of liberty and civilisation under the heel of Prussian or any other militarism. Germany has avowedly outmarched Christianity and left it in the rear, along with its outclassed guns and higher ideals of, say, 1870, its honour, its humanity, and all the other lumber, useless to an absolutely materialistic people whose only object is to win the world even at the price of its soul. The world is witnessing with abhorrence the results, and, we may surely hope, learning therefrom The Final Lesson for its own future guidance. The war-cloud still hangs over us-as I write, but, grim as it is, there are not lacking gleams of its silver linings. If war brings out the very worst in human nature it offers opportunity also for the display of the very best. And, thank God, proofs of this are not wanting among us, and it is better to let one's thought range the light rather than the darkness. What the future holds for us no man may safely say. Mighty changes without a doubt. May they all be for the better! But if that is to be it must be the work of every one amongst us. In this, as in everything else, each one of us helps or hinders, makes or mars. If, in some of these verses, I have endeavoured to strike a note of warning, it is because the times, and the times that are coming, call for it. May it be heeded! That the end of the present world-strife must and will mark also the end of the most monstrous tyranny and the most hideous conception of -Kultur- the world has ever seen, no man for one moment doubts. But that is not an end but a beginning. Unless on the ashes of the past we build to nobler purpose, all our gallant dead will have been thrown away, all this gigantic effort, with all its inevitable horror and loss, will have been in vain. It rests with each one among us to say that that shall not be,-that the future shall repair the past,-that out of this holocaust of death shall come new life. It behoves every one of us, each in his and her own sphere, and each in his and her own way, to strive with heart and soul for that mighty end. JOHN OXENHAM. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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