Bertolt Brecht: I won’t let you spoil my war for me
From Mother Courage and Her Children (1939)
Translated by Eric Bentley
MOTHER Courage: …What is it, were you attacked? On the way back? I bet it was that soldier who got drunk on my liquor. I should never have let you go…They’re worse than animals.
CHAPLAIN: I reproach them with nothing. At home they never did these shameful things. The men who start the wars are responsible, they bring out the worst in people.
MOTHER COURAGE: I won’t let you spoil my war for me. Destroys the weak, does it? Well, what does peace do for ’em, huh? War feeds its people better.
If war doesn’t suit your disposition
When victory comes, you will be dead.
War is a business proposition:
But not with cheese, with steel instead!
Followed by two soldiers with halberds, EILIF enters. His hands are fettered. He is white as chalk.
CHAPLAIN: What happened to you?
EILIF: Where’s mother?
CHAPLAIN: Gone to town.
EILIF: They said she was here. I was allowed a last visit.
COOK (to the SOLDIERS): Where are you taking him?
A SOLDIER: For a ride.
The other soldier makes the gesture of throat cutting.
CHAPLAIN: What has he done?
SOLDIER: He broke in on a peasant. His wife is dead.
CHAPLAIN: Eilif, how could you?
EILIF: It’s no different. It’s what I did before.
COOK: That was in war time.