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A short time ago a statue of Joan of Arc was dedicated at Winchester Cathedral, England, and now it stands side by side with Saxon kings and with such figures as those of Jane Austen and of Isaak Walton. The sainted savior of France has been placed in an English Church, with minor figures of English literature and history. But, although at first this act might seem incongruous, it is merely a single manifestation of what Carlyle has called "hero-worship". For the memory of the great belongs not to one nation solely, but to all humanity.
Many have written to the effect that man is the noblest work of God; but none have surpassed the expression of Mr. George Santayana, in one of his essays.
In this finite world, great men are merely concrete examples of the "ideal possibilities" of nature. But Mr. Santayana speaks of "other essences" always present "in the womb of the infinite", and so suggests the question of "who is there today that is really great?" In literature there are many prominent figures, among whom Kipling, with his genius for short stories and for verse and an occasional gift of true poetry, is the chief. In statesmanship--who is there? The cynic is apt to quote the great Disraeli, saying that "the world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians". In the art of war there is no single outstanding figure, unless the title of Marshall Foch be changed from that of a great patriot to that of a great inctician. It is almost as if, in an age of mass production there were no men truly great; but the question is one which the present cannot decide. And meanwhile men of today can do little but erect tributes to the great of the past, and hope that the future may find among them some who shall be worthy of admiration.
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