Lewis Morris: The world rang with the fierce shouts of war and cries of pain

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Lewis Morris: Put off the curse of war

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Lewis Morris
From The Wanderer

The strong bold sway that held mankind in thrall,
Soldier and jurist marching side by side,
Till came the sure slow blight, when all the world
Grew sick, and swooned, and died;

Again the long dark night, when Learning dozed
Safe in her cloister, and the world without
Rang with fierce shouts of war and cries of pain,
Base triumph, baser rout…

And how, when worthier souls bore rule, to hold
Faction more dear than Truth, or stoop to cheat,
With cozening words and shallow flatteries
The Solons of the street?

Or, failing this, to wear a hireling sword –
Ready, whate’er the cause, to kill and slay…

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Pausanias: Woe to man

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Pausanias: Peace cradling Wealth in her arms

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Pausanias
From Description of Greece
Translated by J.G. Frazer

When Lichas arrived the Spartans were seeking the bones of Orestes in accordance with an oracle. Now Lichas inferred that they were buried in a smithy, the reason for this inference being this. Everything that he saw in the smithy he compared with the oracle from Delphi, likening to the winds the bellows, for that they too sent forth a violent blast, the hammer to the “stroke,” the anvil to the “counterstroke” to it, while the iron is naturally a “woe to man,” because already men were using iron in warfare. In the time of those called heroes the god would have called bronze a woe to man.

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Xenophon: Begin wars as tardily, end them as speedily as possible

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Xenophon: Socrates’ war sophistry; civil crimes are martial virtues

Xenophon: War as obsession, warfare as mistress

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Xenophon
From Hellenica
Translated by Carleton L. Brownson

“The right course, indeed, would have been for us not to take up arms against one another in the beginning…But if it is indeed ordered of the gods that wars should come among men, then we ought to begin war as tardily as we can, and, when it has come, to bring it to an end as speedily as possible.”

***

“Moreover, we all know that wars are forever breaking out and being concluded, and that we – if not now, still at some future time – shall desire peace again. Why, then, should we wait for the time when we shall have become exhausted by a multitude of ills, and not rather conclude peace as quickly as possible before anything irremediable happens?

“Again, I for my part do not commend those men who, when they have become competitors in the games and have already been victorious many times and enjoy fame, are so fond of contest that they do not stop until they are defeated and so end their athletic training; nor on the other hand do I commend those dicers who, if they win one success, throw for double stakes, for I see that the majority of such people become utterly impoverished.

“We, then, seeing these things, ought never to engage in a contest of such a sort that we shall either win all or lose all, but ought rather to become friends of one another while we are still strong and successful. For thus we through you, and you through us, could play even a greater part in Greece than in times gone by.”

***

When these things had taken place, the opposite of what all men believed would happen was brought to pass. For since well-nigh all the people of Greece had come together and formed themselves in opposing lines, there was no one who did not suppose that if a battle were fought, those who proved victorious would be the rulers and those who were defeated would be their subjects; but the deity so ordered it that both parties set up a trophy as though victorious and neither tried to hinder those who set them up, that both gave back the dead under a truce as though victorious, and both received back their dead under a truce as though defeated, and that while each party claimed to be victorious, neither was found to be any better off, as regards either additional territory, or city, or sway, than before the battle took place; but there was even more confusion and disorder in Greece after the battle than before.

 

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Thomas Love Peacock: Selections on war and peace

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Gerald Massey: Sweet peace comes treading down war’s cruel spears

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Gerald Massey: Curst, curst be war, the World’s most fatal glory!

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Gerald Massey

From The Old Flag

Statesmen have drawn back meek and mute,
Or pardon begged from bullying foes,
Whene’er a Military boot
Was stampt upon retreating toes.

***

From Love’s Fairy-Ring

Away, you Lords of Murderdom;
Away, O Hate, and Strife,
Hence revellers, reeling drunken from
Your feast of human life.

***

From Hugh Miller’s Grave

He was a Hero true as ever stept
In the Forlorn Hope of a warring world;
And from opposing circumstance his palm
Drew loftier stature, and a lustier strength.

***

From Lady Laura

He had wept his pain in a fiery rain, and a calm came o’er his tears,
As a vision of sweet peace comes treading down
War’s cruel spears.

***

From England and Louis Bonaparte

Alas, poor Italy!
The Storm of War
From its fire-mountain throne sweeps burning down,
Its purple lava-mantle trails behind,
Embracing all and blasting all its folds,
A sea of soldiery breaks over her;
Her fair face darkens in the shadow of Swords;
Destruction drives his ploughshare thro’ her soil…

 

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Thomas Love Peacock: I’ll make my verses rattle with the din of war and battle

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Love Peacock: Selections on war and peace

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Thomas Love Peacock
From Stanzas Written at Sea

O blest, trebly blest, is the peasant’s condition!
From courts and from cities reclining afar,
He hears not the summons of senseless ambition,
The tempests of ocean, and the tumults of war.
Round the standard of battle though thousands may rally
When the trumpet of glory is pealing aloud,
He dwells in the shade of his own native valley,
And turns the same earth as his forefathers ploughed.

In realms far remote while the merchant is toiling,
In search of that wealth he might never enjoy;
The land of his foes while the soldier is spoiling,
When honour commands him to rise and destroy;
Through mountainous billows, with whirlwinds contending,
While the mariner bounds over the wide-raging seas,
Still peace, o’er the peasant her mantle extending,
Brings health and content in the sigh of the breeze.

***

From Quintetto

Mr. Killthedead: I’ll make my verses rattle with the din of war and battle,
For war doth increase sa-la-ry, ry, ry…

***

From The Massacre of the Britons

The sacred ground, where chiefs of yore
The everlasting fire adored,
The solemn pledge of safety bore,
And breathed not of the treacherous sword.

***

From Florence and Blanchefor

The nightingale prevailed at length,
Her pleading had such charms;
So eloquence can conquer strength,
And arts can conquer arms.

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Thomas Love Peacock: Frenzied war’s ensanguined reign

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Love Peacock: Selections on war and peace

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Thomas Love Peacock
From The Genius of the Thames

There peace her vestal lamps displays,
Undimmed by mad ambition’s blaze,
And shuns, in the sequestered glen,
The storms that shake the haunts of men,
Where mean intrigue, and sordid gain,
And frenzied war’s ensanguined reign,
And narrow cares, and wrathful strife,
Dry up the sweetest springs of life.

Oh! might my steps that darkly roam,
Attain at last thy mountain home,
And rest, from earthly trammels free,
With peace, and liberty, and thee!
Around while faction’s tempest sweeps,
Like whirlwinds o’er the wintry deep,
And, down the headlong vortex torn,
The vain, misjudging crowd is borne;
‘Twere sweet to mark, re-echoing far,
The rage of the eternal war,
That dimly heard, at distance swelling,
Endears, but not disturbs, thy dwelling.

***

Where are the states of ancient fame?
Athens, and Sparta’s victor-name,
And all that propped, in war and peace,
The arms, and nobler arts, of Greece?
All-grasping Rome, that proudly hurled
Her mandates o’er the prostrate world,
Long heard mankind her chains deplore,
And fell, as Carthage fell before.

 

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Pindar: Shall war spread unbounded ruin round?

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Pindar: The arts versus war

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Pindar
From On the Eclipse of the Sun
Translated by Thomas Love Peacock

On thy darken’d course attending,
Dost thou signs of sorrow bring?
Shall the summer’s rains descending,
Blast the promise of the spring?

Or shall war, in evil season,
Spread unbounded ruin round?
Or the baleful hand of Treason
Our domestic joys confound?

 

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Thomas Love Peacock: Ne’er thy sweet echoes swell again with war’s demoniac yell!

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Love Peacock: Selections on war and peace

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Thomas Love Peacock
From The Genius of the Thames

Ah! whither are they flown,
Those days of peace and love
So sweetly sung by bards of elder time?
When in the startling grove
The battle-blast was blown,
And misery came, and cruelty and crime,
Far from the desolated hills,
Polluted meads, and blood-stained rills,
Their guardian genii flew;
And through the woodlands, waste and wild,
Where erst perennial summer smiled,
Infuriate passions prowled, and wintry whirlwinds blew.

***

Ah! what avails, that heaven has rolled
A silver stream o’er sands of gold,
And decked the plane, and reared the grove,
Fit dwelling for primeval love;
If man defiles the beauteous scene
And stain with blood the smiling green;
If man’s worst passions there arise,
To counteract the favoring skies;
If rapine there, and murder reign
And human tigers prowl for gain,
And tyrants foul and trembling slaves,
Pollute their shores, and curse their waves?

Far other charms than these possess,
Oh Thames, thy verdant margin bless:
Where peace, with freedom, hand-in-hand,
Walks forth along the sparkling strand,
And cheerful toil and glowing health…

***

O’er states and empires, near and far,
While rolls the fiery surge of war,
The country’s wealth and power increase,
Thy vales and cities smile in peace…

***

Oh! ne’er may thy sweet echoes swell
Again with war’s demoniac yell!

 

 

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Dio Cassius: When peace was announced the mountains resounded

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Dio Cassius: Weeping and lamenting the fratricide of war

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Dio Cassius
From Roman History
Translated by Earnest Cary

After drafting these compacts and reducing them to writing they deposited the documents with the Vestal Virgins, and then exchanged pledges and embraced one another. Upon this a great and mighty shout arose from the mainland and from the ships at the same moment. For many soldiers and many civilians who were present suddenly cried out all together, being terribly tired of the war and strongly desirous of peace, so that even the mountains resounded; and thereupon great panic and alarm came upon them, and many died of no other cause, while many others perished by being trampled under foot or suffocated.

Those who were in the small boats did not wait to reach the land itself, but jumped out into the sea, and those on land rushed out into the water. Meanwhile they embraced one another while swimming and threw their arms around one another’s necks as they dived, making a spectacle of varied sights and sounds. Some knew that their relatives and associates were living, and seeing them now present, gave way to unrestrained joy. Others, supposing that those dear to them had already died, saw them now unexpectedly and for a long time were at a loss what to do, and were rendered speechless, at once distrusting the sight they saw and praying that it might be true, and they would not accept the recognition as true until they had called their names and had heard their voices in answer; then, indeed, they rejoiced as if their friends had been brought back to life again, but as they must yield perforce to a flood of joy, they could not refrain from tears.

Again, some who were unaware that their dearest ones had perished and thought they were alive and present, went about seeking for them and asking every one they met regarding them. As long as they could learn nothing definite they were like madmen and were reduced to despair, both hoping to find them and fearing that they were dead, unable either to give up hope in view of their longing or to give up to grief in view of their hope. But when at last they learned the truth, they would tear their hair and rend their garments, calling upon the lost by name as if their voices could reach them and giving way to grief as if their friends had just then died and were lying there before their eyes. And even if any had no such cause themselves for joy or grief, they were at least affected by the experiences of the rest; for they either rejoiced with him that was glad or grieved with him that mourned, and so, even if they were free from an experience of their own, yet they could not remain indifferent on account of their comradeship with the rest. Accordingly they became neither sated with joy nor ashamed of grief, because they were all affected in the same way, and they spent the entire day as well as the greater part of the night in these demonstrations.

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Horace Smith: Weapon gathering dust

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

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Horace Smith
From On an Ancient Lance, Hanging in an Armoury

Once in the breezy coppice didst thou dance,
And nightingales amid thy foliage sang;
Form’d by man’s cruel art into a lance,
Oft hast thou pierced, (the while the welkin rang
With trump and drum, shoutings and battle clang,)
Some foeman’s heart. Pride, pomp, and circumstance,
Have left thee, now, and thou dost silent hang,
From age to age, in deep and dusty trance.

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Thomas Love Peacock: The god of battle, the last deep groan of agony

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war 

Thomas Love Peacock: Selections on war and peace

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Thomas Love Peacock
From Palmyra

How oft, in scenes like these, the pensive sage
Has mourn’d the hand of FATE, severely just,
WAR’s wasteful course, and DEATH’s unsparing rage,
And dark OBLIVION, frowning in the dust!
Has marked the tombs, that kings o’erthrown declare,
Just wept their fall, and sunk to join them there!

***

See! the mighty God of Battle
Spreads abroad his crimson train!
Discord’s myriad voices rattle
O’er the terror-shaken plain.
Banners stream, and helmets glare,
Show’ring arrows hiss in air;
Echoing through the darken’d skies,
Wildly-mingling murmurs rise,
The clash of splendor-beaming steel,
The buckler ringing hollowly,
The cymbal’s silver-sounding peal,
The last deep groan of agony…

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Petronius: Dreams of war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Petronius
Dreams
Translated by Thomas Love Peacock

Dreams, which, beneath the hov’ring shades of night,
Sport with the ever-restless minds of men,
Descend not from the gods. Each busy brain
Creates its own. For when the chains of sleep
Have bound the weary, and the lighten’d mind
Unshackled plays, the actions of the light
Become renew’d in darkness. Then the chief,
Who shakes the world with war, who joys alone
In blazing cities, and in wasted plains,
O’erthrown battalions sees, and dying kings,
And fields o’verflow’d with blood.

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Horace Smith: The hero-butchers of the sword

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Horace Smith: The trade of man-butchery. The soldier and the sailor.

Horace Smith: When War’s ensanguined banner shall be furl’d

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Horace Smith
From The Poet Among the Trees

The hero-butchers of the sword,
In Rome and Greece, and many a far land,
Like Bravos, murder’d for reward,
The settled price – a laurel-garland.

On bust or coin we mark the wreath,
Forgetful of its bloody story,
How many myriads writhed in death,
That one might bear this type of glory.

Cæsar first wore the badge, ’tis said,
‘Cause his bald sconce had nothing on it,
Knocking some millions on the head,
To get his own a leafy bonnet.

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Gerald Massey: Curst, curst be war, the World’s most fatal glory!

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Gerald Massey: Sweet peace comes treading down war’s cruel spears

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Gerald Massey
From Eighteen Hundred and Forty-Eight

Curst, curst be war, the World’s most fatal glory!
Ye wakening nations, burst its guilty thrall!
Time waits with out-stretcht hand to shroud the gory
Grim glaive of strife behind Oblivion’s pall.
The Tyrant laughs at swords, the cannon’s rattle
Thunders no terror on his murderous soul.
Thought, Mind, must conquer Might, and in this battle
The Warrior’s cuirass, or the Sophist’s stole,
Shall blunt no lance of light, no onset backward roll.

Old Poets tell us of a golden age,
When earth was guiltless…

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Horace Smith: The trade of man-butchery. The soldier and the sailor.

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Horace Smith: The hero-butchers of the sword

Horace Smith: When War’s ensanguined banner shall be furl’d

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Horace Smith
From The Recantation

A Soldier? – What! a bravo paid

To make man-butchery a trade –

A Jack-a-dandy varlet,

Who sells his liberty, – perchance

His very soul’s inheritance –

For feathers, lace, and scarlet!

 

A Sailor? – worse! he’s doomed to trace

With treadmill drudgery the space

From foremast to the mizen;

A slave to the tyrannic main,

Till some kind bullet comes to brain

The brainless in his prison –

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Christina Rossetti: They reap a red crop from the field. O Man, put up thy sword.

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

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Christina Rossetti
“Thy Brother’s Blood Crieth”

All her corn-fields rippled in the sunshine,
All her lovely vines, sweets-laden, bowed;
Yet some weeks to harvest and to vintage:
When, as one man’s hand, a cloud
Rose and spread, and, blackening, burst asunder
In rain and fire and thunder.

Is there nought to reap in the day of harvest?
Hath the vine in her day no fruit to yield?
Yea, men tread the press, but not for sweetness,
And they reap a red crop from the field.
Build barns, ye reapers, garner all aright,
Though your souls be called to-night.

A cry of tears goes up from blackened homesteads,
A cry of blood goes up from reeking earth:
Tears and blood have a cry that pierces Heaven
Through all its Hallelujah swells of mirth;
God hears their cry, and though He tarry, yet
He doth not forget.

Mournful Mother, prone in dust weeping,
Who shall comfort thee for those who are not?
As thou didst, men do to thee; and heap the measure,
And heat the furnace sevenfold hot:
As thou once, now these to thee – who pitieth thee
From sea to sea?

O thou King, terrible in strength, and building
Thy strong future on thy past!
Though he drink the last, the King of Sheshach,
Yet he shall drink at the last.
Art thou greater than great Babylon,
Which lies overthrown?

Take heed, ye unwise among the people;
O ye fools, when will ye understand? –
He that planted the ear shall He not hear,
Nor He smite who formed the hand?
“Vengeance is Mine, is Mine,” thus saith the Lord: –
O Man, put up thy sword.

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Horace Smith: When War’s ensanguined banner shall be furl’d

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Horace Smith: The hero-butchers of the sword

Horace Smith: The trade of man-butchery. The soldier and the sailor.

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Horace Smith
Hope’s Yearnings

How sweet it is, when wearied with the jars
Of wrangling sects, each sour’d with bigot leaven,
To let the Spirit burst its prison bars
And soar into the deep repose of Heaven!

How sweet it is, when sick with strife and noise
Of the fell brood that owes to faction birth,
To turn to Nature’s tranquillizing joys,
And taste the soothing harmonies of Earth!

But tho’ the lovely Earth, and Sea, and Air,
Be rich in joys that form a sumless sum,
Fill’d with Nepenthes that can banish care,
And wrap the senses in Elysium,

‘Tis sweeter still from these delights to turn
Back to our kind – to watch the course of Man,
And for that blessed consummation yearn,
When Nature shall complete her noble plan; –

When hate, oppression, vice, and crime, shall cease,
When War’s ensanguined banner shall be furl’d,
And to our moral system shall extend
The perfectness of the material world –

Sweetest of all, when ’tis our happy fate
To drop some tribute, trifling tho’ it prove,
On the thrice-hallow’d altar dedicate
To Man’s improvement, truth, and social love.

Faith in our race’s destined elevation,
And its incessant progress to the goal,
Tends, by exciting hope and emulation,
To realise th’ aspirings of the soul.

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Lewis Morris: Put off the curse of war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Lewis Morris: The world rang with the fierce shouts of war and cries of pain

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Lewis Morris
From Whither?

Tread down, oh man, beneath thy feet, the brute,
Not that the sinless, innocent brute which still
Goes on its way unashamed, undoubting, mute,
Obedient to the pre-ordainèd will.

But that which deep within your nature lurks
Unseen, nay scarce suspected, tooth and claw
Red with the stain of age-old time and works
Beneath the dull unpitying primal law.

Put off the curse of war, the shame of strife;
Make thou the hates, the miseries to cease…

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Alfred Lord Tennyson: Selections on war and peace

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning: War’s human harvest

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Exalt the name of Peace and leave those rusty wars that eat the soul

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning
From The Cry of the Human

The battle hurtles on the plains,
Earth feels new scythes upon her;
We reap our brothers for the wains,
And call the harvest – honour.
Draw face to face, front line to line,
Our image all inherit:
Then kill, curse on, by that same sign,
Clay, clay, – and spirit, spirit.
Be pitiful, O God!

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Alfred Lord Tennyson: I would the old God of war himself were dead

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Selections on war and peace

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Alfred Lord Tennyson
From The Princess

‘I would the old God of war himself were dead,
Forgotten, rusting on his iron hills,
Rotting on some wild shore with ribs of wreck,
Or like an old-world mammoth bulk’d in ice,
Not to be molten out.’

***

From In Memoriam A.H.H.

Sweet after showers, ambrosial air,
That rollest from the gorgeous gloom
Of evening over brake and bloom
And meadow, slowly breathing bare

The round of space, and rapt below
Thro’ all the dewy-tassell’d wood,
And shadowing down the horned flood
In ripples, fan my brows and blow

The fever from my cheek, and sigh
The full new life that feeds thy breath
Throughout my frame, till Doubt and Death,
Ill brethren, let the fancy fly

From belt to belt of crimson seas
On leagues of odour streaming far,
To where in yonder orient star
A hundred spirits whisper `Peace.’

***

And I myself, who sat apart
And watch’d them, wax’d in every limb;
I felt the thews of Anakim,
The pulses of a Titan’s heart;

As one would sing the death of war,
And one would chant the history
Of that great race, which is to be,
And one the shaping of a star…

***

From Ode Sung at the Opening of the International Exhibition

O ye, the wise who think, the wise who reign,
From growing commerce loose her latest chain,
And let the fair white-winged peacemaker fly
To happy havens under all the sky,
And mix the seasons and the golden hours,
Till each man finds his own in all men’s good,
And all men work in noble brotherhood,
Breaking their mailed fleets and armed towers,
And ruling by obeying Nature’s powers,
And gathering all the fruits of peace and crown’d with all her flowers.

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Shall Peace be still a sunk stream long unmet?

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti
From The One Hope

When vain desire at last and vain regret
Go hand in hand to death, and all is vain,
What shall assuage the unforgotten pain
And teach the unforgetful to forget?
Shall Peace be still a sunk stream long unmet, –
Or may the soul at once in a green plain
Stoop through the spray of some sweet life-fountain
And cull the dew-drenched flowering amulet?

Ah! when the wan soul in that golden air
Between the scriptured petals softly blown
Peers breathless for the gift of grace unknown, –
Ah! let none other alien spell soe’er
But only the one Hope’s one name be there,-
Not less nor more, but even that word alone.

***

From The Cloud Confines

What of the heart of hate
That beats in thy breast, O Time?
Red strife from the furthest prime,
And anguish of fierce debate;
War that shatters her slain,
And peace that grinds them as grain,
And eyes fix’d ever in vain
On the pitiless eyes of Fate.
Still we say as we go,
“Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day.”

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Alfred Lord Tennyson: When shall universal peace lie like light across the land?

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Selections on war and peace

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Alfred Lord Tennyson
From The Golden Year

“When wealth no more shall rest in mounded heaps,
But smit with freer light shall slowly melt
In many streams to fatten lower lands,
And light shall spread, and man be liker man
Thro’ all the season of the golden year.

“Fly happy happy sails and bear the Press;
Fly happy with the mission of the Cross;
Knit land to land, and blowing havenward
With silks, and fruits, and spices, clear of toll,
Enrich the markets of the golden year.

“But we grow old! Ah! when shall all men’s good
Be each man’s rule, and universal Peace
Lie like a shaft of light across the land,
And like a lane of beams athwart the sea,
Thro’ all the circle of the golden year?”

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Alfred Lord Tennyson: The brazen bridge of war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Selections on war and peace

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Alfred Lord Tennyson

From Love Though thy Land, with Love for Brought

O, yet, if Nature’s evil star
Drive men in manhood, as in youth,
To follow flying steps of Truth
Across the brazen bridge of war –

If New and Old, disastrous feud,
Must ever shock, like armed foes,
And this be true, till Time shall close
That Principles are rain’d in blood;

Not yet the wise of heart would cease
To hold his hope thro’ shame and guilt,
But with his hand against the hilt,
Would pace the troubled land, like Peace…

***

From Audley Court

“Oh! who would fight and march and countermarch,
Be shot for sixpence in a battle-field,
And shovell’d up into some bloody trench
Where no one knows? but let me live my life.”

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John Milton: What can war but endless war still breed?

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Milton: Men levy cruel wars, wasting the earth, each other to destroy

Milton: Without ambition, war, or violence

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John Milton
From Sonnet 15

For what can war but endless war still breed?
      Till Truth and Right from Violence be freed,
And Public Faith clear’d from the shameful brand
      Of Public Fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed
      While Avarice and Rapine share the land.
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Percy Bysshe Shelley: The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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Percy Bysshe Shelley: Selections on war

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Percy Bysshe Shelley
From The Witch of Atlas

The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths, and
Walked out of quarters in somnambulism;
Round the red anvils you might see them stand
Like Cyclopses in Vulcan’s sooty abysm,
Beating their swords to ploughshares…

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Jean Ingelow: Methought the men of war were even as gods

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Jean Ingelow: And the dove said, “Give us peace!”

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Jean Ingelow
From A Parson’s Letter to a Young Poet

“Methought the men of war were even as gods
The old men of the ages. Now mine eyes
Retrieve the truth from ruined city walls
That buried it; from carved and curious homes
Full of rich garments and all goodly spoil,
Where having burned, battered, and wasted them,
They flung it. Give us, give us better gods
Than these that drink with blood upon their hands,
For I repent me that I worshipped them.
O that there might be yet a going up!
O to forget — and to begin again!”

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George Meredith: War wife, as good as widowed

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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George Meredith: Bellona’s mad halloo

George Meredith: The Olive Branch

George Meredith: On the Danger of War

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George Meredith
From Earth and a Wedded Woman

Ah, what is Marriage, says each pouting maid,
When she who wedded with the soldier hides
At home as good as widowed in the shade,
A lighthouse to the girls that would be brides:
Nor dares to give a lad an ogle, nor
To dream of dancing, but must hang and moan,
Her husband in the war,
And she to lie alone.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley: Selections on war

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Percy Bysshe Shelley: War with its million horrors shall live but in the memory of time

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Selections on war

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Percy Bysshe Shelley
From Queen Mab

‘The child,
Ere he can lisp his mother’s sacred name,
Swells with the unnatural pride of crime, and lifts
His baby-sword even in a hero’s mood.
This infant arm becomes the bloodiest scourge
Of devastated earth; whilst specious names,
Learnt in soft childhood’s unsuspecting hour,
Serve as the sophisms with which manhood dims
Bright reason’s ray and sanctifies the sword
Upraised to shed a brother’s innocent blood.’

***

‘Success has sanctioned to a credulous world
The ruin, the disgrace, the woe of war.’

***

‘War with its million horrors, and fierce hell,
Shall live but in the memory of time,
Who, like a penitent libertine, shall start,
Look back, and shudder at his younger years.’

***

‘Even the minutest molecule of light,
That in an April sunbeam’s fleeting glow
Fulfils its destined though invisible work,
The universal Spirit guides; nor less
When merciless ambition, or mad zeal,
Has led two hosts of dupes to battle-field,
That, blind, they there may dig each other’s graves
And call the sad work glory, does it rule
All passions…’

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George Meredith: Bellona’s mad halloo

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

George Meredith: The Olive Branch

George Meredith: On the Danger of War

George Meredith: War wife, as good as widowed

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George Meredith
Progress

In Progress you have little faith, say you:
Men will maintain dear interests, wreak base hates,
By force, and gentle women choose their mates
Most amorously from the gilded fighting crew:
The human heart Bellona’s mad halloo
Will ever fire to dicing with the Fates.
‘Now at this time,’ says History, ‘those two States
Stood ready their past wrestling to renew.
They sharpened arms and showed them, like the brutes
Whose haunches quiver. But a yellow blight
Fell on their waxing harvests. They deferred
The bloody settlement of their disputes
Till God should bless them better.’ They did right.
And naming Progress, both shall have the word.

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Percy Bysshe Shelley: The unholy song of war

May 29, 2017 2 comments

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Selections on war

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Percy Bysshe Shelley
From Queen Mab

‘Palmyra’s ruined palaces!
Behold where grandeur frowned!
Behold where pleasure smiled!
What now remains? – the memory
Of senselessness and shame.
What is immortal there?
Nothing – it stands to tell
A melancholy tale, to give
An awful warning; soon
Oblivion will steal silently
The remnant of its fame.
Monarchs and conquerors there
Proud o’er prostrate millions trod –
The earthquakes of the human race;
Like them, forgotten when the ruin
That marks their shock is past…’

***

There an inhuman and uncultured race
Howled hideous praises to their Demon-God;
They rushed to war, tore from the mother’s womb
The unborn child – old age and infancy
Promiscuous perished; their victorious arms
Left not a soul to breathe. Oh! they were fiends!
But what was he who taught them that the God
Of Nature and benevolence had given
A special sanction to the trade of blood?

***

‘O dear and blessèd Peace,
Why dost thou shroud thy vestal purity
In penury and dungeons? Wherefore lurkest
With danger, death, and solitude; yet shun’st
The palace I have built thee? Sacred Peace!
Oh, visit me but once, – but pitying shed
One drop of balm upon my withered soul!’

‘Spirit! ten thousand years
Have scarcely passed away,
Since in the waste, where now the savage drinks
His enemy’s blood, and, aping Europe’s sons,
Wakes the unholy song of war…’

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Robert Browning: Selections on peace and war

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Robert Browning: Peace, in whom depths of wealth lie

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Robert Browning: Selections on peace and war

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Robert Browning
From Aristophanes’ Apology

Peace, you advocate,
And war would fain abolish from the land…
‘Peace’ the theme?
‘Peace, in whom depths of wealth lie, – of the blest
Immortals beauteousest, -‘

****

What imbecile has dared to formulate
“Love war, hate peace, become a litigant!” –
And so preach on, reversing rule of right
Because he quarrels, combats, goes to law?

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Robert Browning: The devil’s doctrine, the paraded shame of war

May 18, 2017 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Robert Browning: Selections on peace and war

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Robert Browning
From Saviour of Society

Still, so the dry-rot had been nursed into
Blood, bones and marrow, that, from worst to best,
All, – clearest brains and soundest hearts, save here, –
All had this lie acceptable for law
Plain as the sun at noonday – “War is best.
Peace is worst; peace we only tolerate
As needful preparation for new war:
War may be for whatever end we will –
Peace only as the proper help thereto.
Such is the law of right and wrong for us
Hohenstiel-Schwangau: for the other world,
As naturally, quite another law.
Are we content? The world is satisfied.
Discontent? Then the world must give us leave
Strike right and left to exercise our arm
Torpid of late through overmuch repose,
And show its strength is still superlative
At somebody ‘s expense in life or limb:
Which done, – let peace succeed and last a year!’
Such devil’s-doctrine was so judged God’s law…

****

Understand! – war for war’s sake, war for the sake
O’ the good war gets you as war’s sole excuse,
Is damnable and damned shall be. You want
Glory? Why so do I, and so does God.
Where is it found, – in this paraded shame, –
One particle of glory? Once you warred
For liberty against the world, and won:
There was the glory. Now, you fain would war
Because the neighbour prospers overmuch, –
Because there has been silence half-an-hour.

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Joseph Cottle: Know you their crimes on whom you warfare wage?

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

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Joseph Cottle
From War, A Fragment

Is man on man for ever doom’d to prey?
Shall he for ever passively obey
The voice which Discord thunders from afar?
Exulting wield the infuriate scourge of war?
Shall never Reason whisper in the ear
Of him who lights the torch, or hurls the spear,
“Know you their crimes on whom you warfare wage?
“For whom you feel resentment’s deadly rage?
“Has never the obtruding thought arose,
“What is the cause, for which I flay my foes?
“Have they deceiv’d their friends? from justice swerv’d?
“Betray’d their country? and their fates deserv’d?
“Or have they not, mid clashing interest’s cry,
“Ventur’d their lives, like me. unknowing why?”

****

If such the ills of war, by Heaven abhorr’d!
What are your crimes, ye Guardians of the sword,
At whose decision countless scabbards fly,
And murders fill the earth, and groans the sky?
What are your crimes, if, sway’d by wealth or power,
Ye loose your “war-dogs” in ambition’s hour?
Contented view your subjects bleed and groan,
To add some bauble to a burthen’d throne ?
Or, that when Death ten thousand eyes has chain’d,
Courtiers may shout some glorious feather gain’d?
Sins so stupendous, here but seldom find.
That signal wrath of heaven which waits behind;
Too foul such terpitude for moral woe!
Too huge such crimes for cognizance below!

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Mother’s Day

May 14, 2017 1 comment

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Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

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Philip Massinger: Mustn’t change ploughshares into swords

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Philip Massinger: Famine, blood, and death, Bellona’s pages

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Philip Massinger
From The Maid of Honour

Let other monarchs
Contend to be made glorious by proud war,
And, with the blood of their poor subjects, purchase
Increase of empire, and augment their cares
In keeping that which was by wrongs extorted,
Gilding unjust invasions with the trim
Of glorious conquests; we, that would be known
The father of our people, in our study
And vigilance for their safety, must not change
Their ploughshares into swords, and force them from
The secure shade of their own vines, to be
Scorch’d with the flames of war; or, for our sport,
Expose their lives to ruin.

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Joseph Cottle: Torn from their cots to wield the murderer’s blade

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

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Joseph Cottle
From War, A Fragment

What countless pangs to such have owed their birth!
What blood and murder stain’d the smiling earth!
To grant these Tyrants unexplor’d domain,
How many a fruitful clime has desert lain!
To please these monsters in their lordly pride,
How many an eye hath wept, and bosom sigh’d!
Shepherds, unskill’d in war’s infernal trade,
Torn from their cots to wield the murderer’s blade;
Peasants, with hearts revolting at the fight,
Compell’d to sack the town, and dare the fight;
Till War’s malignant deeds, and wizard spell
Transform them, saints of light, to fiends of hell.

****

Yet let him know, and those who wars admire,
Whose music charms them, or whose garbs inspire,
On the red plain, where putrid thousands lie,
Each leaves a friend to heave the pitying sigh,
With grief as poignant, as the pangs that wait
The proud funereal honors of the great.
Each carcase by the carrion worms carest,
Felt as we feel, ere slept his throbbing breast;
A rapid survey cast on friends afar;
And, whilst Destruction roll’d his scithed car,
Curst, in his pangs, the murderers of mankind.
And dropt the tear for those he left behind.

 

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Joseph Cottle: Warn mankind to shun the hostile spear

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

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Joseph Cottle
From War, A Fragment

“I see the wolves, that once like lambs did bleat,
“I see the serpents coiling at my feet,
“Whose soft persuasive words, and fatal craft,
“Led me from home to drink this bitter draught:
“Mark you the cause that laid me bleeding here,
“And warn mankind to shun the hostile spear;
“Rais’d but to please some haughty Lordling’s pride,
“Made but to pierce the harmless Peasant’s side.”

****

That time shall also come, nor slowly creep.
When Justice, starting from her couch of sleep,
Shall seize her long-neglected sword of fate,
And call to vengeance earth’s devouring Great;
Terror shall then the Conqueror’s brow o’ercast.
The war-delighting Monarch stand aghast;
Dismay corrode the darting Despot’s breast,
When doom’d to meet the Ghosts his chains oppress’d.

****

Scourgers of earth, and Heralds of dismay,
Pests of mankind, and whirlwinds of their day;
From whose example blushing History rakes
Her nest of Scorpions, and her brood of Snakes;
Who, plac’d on thrones like these, like these have hurl’d
War’s wafting firebrands o’er a suff’ring world.

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Alfred Austin: The White Pall of Peace

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

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Alfred Austin
The White Pall of Peace

Over the peaceful veldt,
Silently, snowflakes fall!
Silently, slow, unfelt.
Cover the Past with a pall!

Brave brother Boers, let us hie
To your and our brothers dead;
Over the spot where they lie
Tears, yours and ours, be shed!

Underneath turf, cross, and stone
Combat and discord be husht!
Blest be the heroes unknown,
Blest be their deeds and dust.

Now that the war-clamours cease,
And silently snowflakes fall,
Give we the kiss of Peace,
And one Flag be the Flag of us all!

****

Forgiveness

Now bury with the dead years conflicts dead
And with fresh days let all begin anew.
Why longer amid shrivelled leaf-drifts tread,
When buds are swelling, flower-sheaths peeping through?
Seen through the vista of the vanished years.
How trivial seem the struggle and the crown,
How vain past feuds, when reconciling tears
Course down the channel worn by vanished frown.
How few mean half the bitterness they speak!
Words more than feelings keep us still apart,
And, in the heat of passion or of pique.
The tongue is far more cruel than the heart.
Since love alone makes it worth while to live,
Let all be now forgiven, and forgive.

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Joseph Cottle: War’s noxious breath fills earth with discord, dread, and death

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

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Joseph Cottle
From War, A Fragment

“Say, bleeding Youth, what urg’d thee thus to stray
“Far from thy kindred and thy coast away
“To dare the fight with indignation blind,
“To lift the spear against thy fellow kind?
“Know’st thou the cause for which the crimson tide
“Deserts thine heart, and oozes from thy side?
“Perchance some statesman’s pique, some shrine profan’d,
“A flag insulted, or a skiff detain’d;
“These blow the blasts of war – whose noxious breath
“Fills the wide earth with discord, dread, and death.
“Speak; gently speak, that some may mark thy grave,
“And flee from blood, the nurture tyrants crave.”

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William Morris: No man knew the sight of blood

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William Morris: Protecting the strong from the weak, selling each other weapons to kill their own countrymen

William Morris: War abroad but no peace at home

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William Morris
From The Life and Death of Jason

Alas! for Saturn’s days of gold,
Before the mountain men were bold
To dig up iron from the earth
Wherewith to slaughter health and mirth,
And bury hope far underground.
When all things needful did abound
In every land; nor must men toil,
Nor wear their lives in strife to foil
Each other’s hands, for all was good,
And no man knew the sight of blood.

 

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Joseph Cottle: Plant the seeds of universal peace

May 1, 2017 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

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Joseph Cottle
From John the Baptist

Of whom I speak, soon shall you see him near.
No flaming God to rouze his creature’s fear,
No potent Chief victorious arms to guide,
Born to controul and nurs’d in royal pride ;
But in the promis’d seed, with aspect mild,
Your eyes shall greet the spirit of a child,
‘Tis not to grasp the laurels of the great
Your Saviour comes, to blaze in regal state,
Kingdoms invade, and conquest’s curses shower,
Nations to scourge or fruitful climes devour;

Peasants unwrong’d inspire with ardour dread.
To rob some distant peasants of their bread;
But to condemn ambition’s ruthless sway,
To tell mankind no more on man to prey,
To teach humility, bid discord cease,
And plant the seeds of universal peace.

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Matthew Arnold: New Age. Uphung the spear, unbent the bow.

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Matthew Arnold: Man shall live in peace, as now in war

Matthew Arnold: Tolstoy’s commandments of peace

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Matthew Arnold

From Bacchanalia: Or the New Age

The epoch ends, the world is still,
The age has talk’d and work’d its fill –
The famous orators have shone,
The famous poets sung and gone,
The famous men of war have fought,
The famous speculators thought,
The famous players, sculptors, wrought,
The famous painters fill’d their wall,
The famous critics judged it all.
The combatants are parted now –
Uphung the spear, unbent the bow,
The puissant crown’d, the weak laid low.
And in the after-silence sweet,
Now strifes are hush’d, our ears doth meet,
Ascending pure, the bell-like fame
Of this or that down-trodden name
Delicate spirits, push’d away
In the hot press of the noon-day.
And o’er the plain, where the dead age
Did its now silent warfare wage –
O’er that wide plain, now wrapt in gloom,
Where many a splendour finds its tomb,
Many spent fames and fallen mights –
The one or two immortal lights
Rise slowly up into the sky
To shine there everlastingly,
Like stars over the bounding hill.
The epoch ends, the world is still.

****

From Lines Written in Kensington Gardens

From I, on men’s impious uproar hurl’d,
Think often, as I hear them rave,
That peace has left the upper world
And now keeps only in the grave.

Yet here is peace for ever new!
When I who watch them am away,
Still all things in this glade go through
The changes of their quiet day.

Then to their happy rest they pass!
The flowers upclose, the birds are fed,
The night comes down upon the grass,
The child sleeps warmly in his bed.

Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city’s jar,
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar.

The will to neither strive nor cry,
The power to feel with others give!
Calm, calm me more! nor let me die
Before I have begun to live.

****

From Stanzas from The Grande Chartreuse

We are like children rear’d in shade
Beneath some old-world abbey wall,
Forgotten in a forest-glade,
And secret from the eyes of all.
Deep, deep the greenwood round them waves,
Their abbey, and its close of graves!

But, where the road runs near the stream,
Oft through the trees they catch a glance
Of passing troops in the sun’s beam –
Pennon, and plume, and flashing lance!
Forth to the world those soldiers fare,
To life, to cities, and to war!

And through the wood, another way,
Faint bugle-notes from far are borne,
Where hunters gather, staghounds bay,
Round some fair forest-lodge at morn.
Gay dames are there, in sylvan green;
Laughter and cries – those notes between!

The banners flashing through the trees
Make their blood dance and chain their eyes
That bugle-music on the breeze
Arrests them with a charm’d surprise.
Banner by turns and bugle woo:
Ye shy recluses, follow too!

O children, what do ye reply? –
“Action and pleasure, will ye roam
Through these secluded dells to cry
And call us? – but too late ye come!
Too late for us your call ye blow,
Whose bent was taken long ago.

“Long since we pace this shadow’d nave;
We watch those yellow tapers shine,
Emblems of hope over the grave,
In the high altar’s depth divine;
The organ carries to our ear
Its accents of another sphere.

“Fenced early in this cloistral round
Of reverie, of shade, of prayer,
How should we grow in other ground?
How can we flower in foreign air?
– Pass, banners, pass, and bugles, cease;
And leave our desert to its peace!”

****

From Merope, a Tragedy

Peace, who tarriest too long;
Peace, with delight in thy train;
Come, come back to our prayer!
Then shall the revel again
Visit our streets, and the sound
Of the harp be heard with the pipe,
When the flashing torches appear
In the marriage-train coming on,
With dancing maidens and boys –
While the matrons come to the doors,
And the old men rise from their bench,
When the youths bring home the bride.

Not condemn’d by my voice
He who restores thee shall be,
Not unfavour’d by Heaven.
Surely no sinner the man,
Dread though his acts, to whose hand
Such a boon to bring hath been given.
Let her come, fair Peace! let her come!
But the demons long nourish’d here,
Murder, Discord, and Hate,
In the stormy desolate waves
Of the Thracian Sea let her leave,
Or the howling outermost main!

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Matthew Arnold: Man shall live in peace, as now in war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Matthew Arnold: New Age. Uphung the spear, unbent the bow.

Matthew Arnold: Tolstoy’s commandments of peace

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Matthew Arnold
From Balder Dead

“For I am long since weary of your storm
Of carnage, and find, Hermod, in your life
Something too much of war and broils, which make
Life one perpetual fight, a bath of blood.
Mine eyes are dizzy with the arrowy hail;
Mine ears are stunn’d with blows, and sick for calm.
Inactive therefore let me lie, in gloom,
Unarm’d, inglorious; I attend the course
Of ages, and my late return to light,
In times less alien to a spirit mild,
In new-recover’d seats, the happier day.”
He spake; and the fleet Hermod thus replied: –
“Brother, what seats are these, what happier day?
Tell me, that I may ponder it when gone.”
And the ray-crowned Balder answer’d him: –
“Far to the south, beyond the blue, there spreads
Another Heaven, the boundless – no one yet
Hath reach’d it; there hereafter shall arise
The second Asgard, with another name.
Thither, when o’er this present earth and Heavens
The tempest of the latter days hath swept,
And they from sight have disappear’d, and sunk,
Shall a small remnant of the Gods repair;
Hoder and I shall join them from the grave.
There re-assembling we shall see emerge
From the bright Ocean at our feet an earth
More fresh, more verdant than the last, with fruits
Self-springing, and a seed of man preserved,
Who then shall live in peace, as now in war…”

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Christopher Marlowe: Parricide and filicide. While lions war, poor lambs perish.

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Christopher Marlowe: Accurs’d be he that first invented war!

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Christopher Marlowe
From The True Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke

Enter a Souldier with a dead man in his arms.

Sould. It blowes the wind that profits no bodie,
This man that I haue slaine in fight to daie,
Maie be possessed of some store of crownes,
And I will search to find them if I can.
But stay. Me thinkes it is my fathers face,
Oh I tis he who I haue slaine in fight,
From London was I prest out by the king,
My father he came on the part of Yorke.
And in this conflict I haue slaine my father:
Oh pardon God, I knew not what I did,
And pardon father, for I knew thee not.

Enter an other Souldier with a dead man.

2 Soul. Lie there thou who foughtst with me so stoutly,
Now let me see what store of gold thou haste,
But staie, me thinkes this is no famous face:
Oh no it is my sonne that I haue slaine in fight.
Oh monstrous times begetting such euents,
How cruel, bloudy, and ironious,
The deadly quarrell dailie doth beget,
Poore boy thy father gaue thee lif too late,
And hath bereau’d thee of thy life too sone.

King. Wo aboue wo, griefe more then common griefe,
Whilst Lyons war and battaile for their dens,
Poore lambs do feel the rigour of their wraths;
The red rose and the white are on his face,
The fatall colours of our striuing houses,
Wither one rose, and let the other flourish,
For if you striue, ten thousand liues must perish.

1 Sould. How will my mother for my fathers death,
Take on with me and nere be satisfide?

2 Soul. How will my wife for slaughter of my son,
Take on with me and nere be satisfide?

King. How will the people now misdeeme their king,
Oh would my death their mindes could satisfie.

1 Sould. Was euer son so rude his fathers bloud to spil?

2 Soul. Was euer father so vnnaturall his son to kill?

King. Was euver king thus greeued and vexed still?

1 Sould. Ile beare thee hence from this accursed place,
For wo is me to see my fathers face. [Exit with his father.]

2 Soul. Ile beare thee hence & let them fight that wil,
For I haue murdered where I should not kill. [Exit with his sonne.]

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William Shakespeare: Works of poetry outlast the works of war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Shakespeare: So inured to war that mothers smile as their children are slain

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William Shakespeare
Sonnet LV

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

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Sonnet CVII

Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time,
My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,
Since, spite of him, I’ll live in this poor rhyme,
While he insults o’er dull and speechless tribes:
And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent.

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