Home > Uncategorized > Sean O’Casey: The Prince of Peace transformed into the god of war

Sean O’Casey: The Prince of Peace transformed into the god of war


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

Sean O’Casey: Battles of war changed for battles of peace

Sean O’Casey: The dead of wars past clasp their colder arms around the newer dead


Sean O’Casey
From Drums Under the Windows (1946)

sean o'casey

He had looked for the Conquest of Mexico all over the second-hand barrow, but had to be content with Pizarro’s fast and fiery bestowal of peace that belongs not to this world on the Incas and their people. It was odd how the symbol of the Prince of Peace appeared so often in the midst of fire and smoke and death and desolation! How often it brought to black, red, or yellow peoples, not the gentle grace of God, but the sword plunging through their bellies, and the madly rushing bullet searing through their throats. The cross was everywhere, on almost every flag of every nation, and England had three on hers to show she was holier than the others; each cross representing a saint, one a Jew, the second a Cappadocian, and the third Frenchman, and ne’er a one of them an Englishman. Millions made the sign in the air, or on their breasts, millions of times a day. The very hilt of their sword is a cross too. Ah, that’s the real cross for the hand of a plunderer, and here it is, firmly held in the hard hand of the murdering conquistadores. The Incas’ first taste of Christ was a bitter one: myrrh, myrrh, vinegar, and gall for them, with their frankincense and gold carried off, even to the scrapings from their temple doors…

They’re all the same, thought Sean. Those who conquer others to use them woefully for their own poor benefit performance are all the same, whatever god they worship. Today, the cross to the heathen is as ominous as it was to the Aztecs and the Incas in the days of the Spanish glory. The native of that day felt the love of God coming to him when the feathered shaft tore through his breast, today the fire and the smoke of the belching guns sing out the same evangel…

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