By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are....
This poem is dated April 1915, so was written at a time when war frenzy had been whipped up and the first ever world war was under way. So it is a brave poem. It is also a linguistic window into time... a look down the time telescope back to the time when Dorset - Hardy's Wessex - was part of the ancient kingdom of the West Saxons.
If Genesis tells the truth about our origins - as I believe it does - than all wars are civil wars - all wars are brother fighting brother. And here it is so obvious- the language in the remote villages is signalling that these are the same people. How was brother turned against brother so quickly, so easily, and so lethally?
And without that conflict and the punitive - and unChristian - treatment of the losing side, would Hitler have risen to power in Germany? So the seeds were being set for WW2 even as Hardy wrote this.
Who are they "at root and bottom" of this?
The answer lies in the Inspired Scriptures. And that is why for decades Jehovah's Witnesses were warning about 1914 - even though we did not then fully understand what was going to happen.
The Captain kindly chauffered me to the meeting this morning. We had a lovely talk about the cure for all our sickness, which included a reminder that we are getting this excellent training in how to teach not just for now - though now is urgent! - but for the great teaching work to be done in the millennium as, one by one, the dead are re-created from the ground of dust and wake to find themselves in Paradise.
Tom and Jackie were round on Friday night - and we had a fun evening together - lots of laughter. It was a wild and stormy night though. This morning was sunny with a clear blue sky, but as we drove along the seafront to the Hall, we saw that the sea had come over the road in two places - and it was close to coming over this morning