With Wings as Eagles

By William Rose Benét
THE ballad writers of the past had as material the exploits of heroes in two elements — land and sea. They sang of the heroisms of Robin Hood or Sir Richard Grenville, of Horatius or Casablanca. But the modern ballad writer can sing of the heroes ot a new element, and Benét has used his new material well in these poems. They should appeal to a large audience. In a great variety of metre and form, from spirited blank verse to rousing and swinging rhyming stanzas, they sing of the first breathless flight of Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk, and the pioneer flights of Bleriot and Curtiss, through the great achievements of Lindbergh and Chamberlin to Amelia Earhart and Richard Byrd. They tell of the dreams and visions of man, of his resolution and energy, his courage, endurance, and gayety. The invention which was to link men closer together, which was to forge fellowship by the annihilation of distance, has proved to be the greatest instrument of destruction he has ever invented. But the spirit of flying men remains.
The heavens shake to the bombs and the guns,
And what shall stand?
Purpose intent on the higher thing,
Hearts that dare in the storm to sing,
Chivalry, vigilance, strength of wing,
Sureness of hand.

E. D.