"Swords about the Cross!"
The portentous revolution of the fourth and fifth centuries, whereby Christendom was established, is never seen in its magnitude, nor even in its character. The next most important event, the disruption of Christendom in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is not grasped, in modern England, because the Catholic Church, which was the matter of the tragedy, is not known there. The Catholic Culture is to the Englishman of to-day a foreign country.
From these inhibitions Gilbert Chesterton in a large measure freed himself. By right instinct and speech with the right men he guessed what Europe had been and filled in with right proportion the pitifully faint and imperfect (but above all false) outline which our modern books give to young men upon the past.
Thus some of his finest verse was historical and the history therein was just, with a particular appreciation of the defence of Christendom against the barbarian and the Mahommedan. No one else but Gilbert Chesterton could have written such a poem as Lepanto in English, and no one has attempted it; while the Ballad of the White Horse is an extension of the same theme.
--- Hilaire Belloc