Letters and diary by Alan Seeger Free PDF book (1917)
Alan Seeger was an American war poet who fought and died in World War I during the Battle of the Somme, serving in the French Foreign Legion. Seeger was the brother of Charles Seeger, a noted American pacifist, and musicologist
Those who have read the published poems of Alan Seeger and the sympathetic sketch of his life by Mr. William Archer, in his introduction, cannot have failed to appreciate the motives that led the young American, in his great love for France and her cause, to take up arms in her behalf as a common soldier hi the ranks of the Foreign Legion. But it is one thing to yield to a generous impulse and quite another to adhere faithfully to a high resolve through wretched and tiresome hours of unaccustomed hardship and distasteful surroundings.
In these pages, written from day to day and from week to week, unchanged and unpolished by an afterthought, in the endeavor to make them appear nobler and more consistent than they were when first set down in a diary or ultimate letter, no word will be found, either of the complaint, of wavering or of discouragement. The miseries of life in the trenches, the exhaustion from long marches, the ennui of inaction, are related simply and faithfully, but, at the same time, they are accepted as the inevitable lot of the soldier and borne with patience pending the arrival of the hour of battle, for which he longs.
Even when cramped in the trenches, this lover of beauty can take keen pleasure in an occasional glimpse of a picturesque vista through the Arceneaux; nor, when his endurance is taxed to the utmost to hold out until the end of a march that lays low many a stronger man among his comrades, does he fail to remember and record the sunlit verdure of the meadows bordering the dusty road along which he toils, with a heavy burden, weary almost to the point of dropping. In the lonely vigils of sentry duty, during the hours between night and dawn, when the most courageous feel spirit and hope at the lowest ebb, he can find consolation in "a kind of comradeship with the stars."
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