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Maurice Hewlett: Who prayeth peace?

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

Maurice Hewlett: In the Trenches

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Maurice Hewlett
From The Argive Women (1912)

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PASIPHASSA

In Argos they sow the grain,
In Troy blood is their sowing;
There a green mantle covers the plain
Where the sweet green corn and sweet short grass are growing;
But here passion and pain –
Blood and dust upon earth, and a hot wind blowing.

SITYS

To the hold on the far red hill
From the hold on the wide green lea,
Over the running water, follow who will
Therapnae’s hawk with the dove of Amyklae.
But I would lie husht and still,
And feel the new grass growing quick over me!

[The scene grows dark as they sit.
Their eyes are full of tears.
Presently one looks up, listening,
then another, then another. They
are all alert
.]

CHTHONOE

Who prayeth peace? I feel her peace
Steal through me as a quiet air
Enters the house with sweet increase
Of light to healing, praise to prayer!

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From Richard Yea and Nay (1900)

So far as estate went, seeing their country was fruitful, compact, snugly bound between France and Normandy (owing fealty to the first), they might have been sovereign counts…More: by marriage, by robbery on that great plan where it ceases to be robbery and becomes warfare…there was no reason why kingship should not have been theirs…

Differing from the Mantuan as much in sort as in degree, I sing less the arms than the man, less the panoply of some Christian king offended than the heart of one in urgent private transports; less treaties than the agony of treating, less personages than persons, the actors rather than the scene. Arms pass like the fashion of them, to-day or to-morrow they will be gone; but men live, their secret springs what they have ever been.

***

They saw the flash of a blade.

‘That is strange warfare,’ said Des Barres, greatly interested.

‘There is warfare in heaven also,’ said Savaric. ‘See those two eagles.’ Two great birds were battling in the cold blue. Feathers fell idly, like black snow-flakes; then one of the eagles heeled over, and down he came.

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