Home > Uncategorized > James Whitcomb Riley: Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war –

James Whitcomb Riley: Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war –

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

American writers on peace and against war

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James Whitcomb Riley
Song of the Bullet

james-whitcomb-riley-1-sized

It whizzed and whistled along the blurred
And red-blent ranks; and it nicked the star
Of an epaulette, as it snarled the word –
War!

On it sped – and the lifted wrist
Of the ensign-bearer stung, and straight
Dropped at his side as the word was hissed –
Hate!

On went the missile – smoothed the blue
Of a jaunty cap and the curls thereof,
Cooing, as a dove might do –
Love!

Sang! sang on! sang hate – sang war –
Sang love, in sooth, till it needs must cease,
Hushed in the heart it was questing for –
Peace!

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From Who Bides His Time (1883)

Who bides his time, and fevers not
In the hot race that none achieves,
Shall wear cool-wreathen laurel, wrought
With crimson berries in the leaves;
And he shall reign a goodly king,
And sway his hand o’er every clime
With peace writ on his signet-ring,
Who bides his time.

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