THE ART OF INSCRIPTION. [To THE EDITOR or THE "
SPECTLT011."] Sin,—A correspondent has sent me the enclosed cutting from an American newspaper. Knowing the importance which you have always attached to war inscriptions, and to the need for making them worthy of the deeds they commemorate, I feel sure that you and your readers will be interested.
IN A FRENCH CEMETERY.
President Eliot's fatuous gift for composing inscriptions appears to excellent advantage in a set of three written for a French cemetery. the gift of the parents of an American member of the Foreign Legion who fell near Souain, in the Champagne offensive of 1915. The first and longest of these inscriptions, written in both English and French, is placed on each side of the cross at the shrine. The others are on the wall under the pediment at the entrance. They read as follows :- Near by in the Last Days of September 1915 Many Members of the French Foreign Legion Men of Diverse Races and Creeds Who had Volunteered to Fight for Republican France Liberty throughout the World and a better Future for Mankind Laid down their Lives in Fierce Combat with the German Invaders Their bones with those of Other Soldiers of France Gathered from Hasty Graves Lie in this Hallowed Enclosure
Built by the Parents of a Young_American Who Enlisted in the Legion on January 5th
1915 and Committed by_ Them to the Perpetual Care M of the Mayor and People of SODAIN
Theme Men Gave their all of Human Joy and Hope May their Supreme Sacrifice
Inspire in Men of Other Lands and Times a Complete Devotion
to Public Liberty Order and Peace
Let Those Who Visit This Consecrated Ground Remember that the Men whose Names. Live on these Walls Died in their Youth or their Prime that Future Generations might Inherit a Happier World and a Human Society more Righteous and more Loving than these Brave Men and their Generation Knew In Memory of Henry Weston Farnsworth Born August 1890 at Dedham Massachusetts USA Killed in Action near this Spot September 1915 Eighteen Months before the United States Mitered the War against Insensate Germany He Suffered Fought and Died not for Endangered Home and Friends and Native Land but fox the Universal Cause of Liberty Righteousness and Good Will among Men It would be very difficult to better these inscriptions in the matter of dignity, simplicity, and that good sense which is also good breeding. I hope I shall not be misunderstood when I say that from the technical point of view the inscriptions are worthy of high praise. In what Dr. Johnson called " lapidary " inscriptions, one of the great difficulties is the proper manage- ment of the adjectives. To use none would create a sense of baldness, except when the writer is a man of supreme literary instinct. Then, no doubt, the total absence of ornament may become the greatest of ornaments. On the other hand, adjec- tives are apt to degenerate into mere rhetoric, bombast, or something worse. In these inscriptions every adjective may be challenged, and like a suspected person forced to show his passport, and yet not one be turned away as coming on false