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The Ballad of the White Horse

The poem is dedicated to the battle of Alfred the Great, the first Anglo-Saxon king of Britain with the pagan Danes. Chesterton sees this event as an allegory of the confrontation between civilization and barbarism, faith and unbelief, life and death. Chesterton transforms the image of a white horse, an ancient drawing on the chalk hills of Oxfordshire, into a symbol of the European Christian tradition: this silhouette has survived to this day, because generation after generation has cleared its outlines, preventing it from overgrown with turf, - so our ideas about good and evil, duty , shrine, faithfulness and righteousness mean something only insofar as generation after generation is working to clear them, to protect them from those who seek to slaughter their “new trends”.

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