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Tomorrow.

Europe, now in the travail of rebirth, holds us breathless with horror. Each day new visions of the ghastly futility of war flash over the seas. What can we say? Whence will it all lead? Grateful that we have not been drawn into the shambles, none can forego heart sympathy for the women,—the mothers who having gone to the gates of death for their sons now see them torn from them to feed the cannons.

Perhaps we are not civilized after all? Perhaps the culture of Schiller, Beethoven and Bockelin, the uplift of Hugo, Saint-Säens, Millet, the breadth of Tolstoi, Tchaikowsky and Verestchagin, the inspiration of Shakespeare, Elgar and Burne-Jones are mere phantoms. Have all our great leaders in art, music, literature, and science over the seas given their lives in vain? Then is a tragedy greater than that at Liege.

With cathedrals riddled with shells, schools razed to the ground, libraries afire and laboratories blown to the clouds, where is the victory of peace? What is it the world needs to foster the love for our fellow-men? Witness the downfall of culture and religion. Are the myriad cross-topped spires a mockery? Has Europe forgotten its Christ?

Or is this the holocaust which shall consume the injustice, the cruelty, the wickedness of the age? With the spirit of fight exhausted can Europe yet possess power to produce still greater works for humanity? Or shall she have given so wantonly of her youth, strength and wealth that there will remain only poverty, imbecility, decrepitude and ruin? No one can tell what the morrow will bring. With the navies bursting in the air and sinking in the deep, with cannons drinking the life blood of the nations, with armies devouring the riches of centuries, whence will come the support for the Schuberts, the Daudets and the Brownings of tomorrow?

Renascent Europe will not be the Europe of yesterday. It will be a Europe of new ideals, new conditions, new freedom from Vladivostock to Gibraltar. Militarism, persecution, ignorance, superstition, hate, envy—all are doomed. Great will be the leader who will blaze the way from the new to the old. Such a messiah must come, else London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Petrograd will crumble to dust like that which marks the spot where once the seven Trojan cities stood.

Meanwhile we in America have the opportunity of the centuries. Staggered by the misfortunes of Europe we must take the lot that fate has cast upon us. Tomorrow in America may be the dream of the ages. In music, as in all other arts, we are on the threshold of a greatness which should thrill all those who love the name of the land of the free.

 

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