Home > Uncategorized > Charles Reade: To God? Rather to war and his sister and to the god of lies

Charles Reade: To God? Rather to war and his sister and to the god of lies

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

Charles Reade: War is sweet to those who have never experienced it

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Charles Reade
From The Cloister and the Hearth (1861)

charles-reade-3-sized

[‘T]is a rule with us soldiers never to publish our defeats: ’tis much if after each check we claim not a victory.”

“Now that is true,” said Gerard. “Young as I am, I have seen this; that after every great battle the generals on both sides go to the nearest church, and sing each a Te Deum for the victory; methinks a Te Martem, or Te Bellonam, or Te Mercurium, Mercury being the god of lies, were more fitting.”

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Gunpowder has spoiled war. War was always detrimental to the solid interests of mankind. But in old times it was good for something: it painted well, sang divinely, furnished Iliads. But invisible butchery, under a pall of smoke a furlong thick, who is any the better for that? Poet with his note-book may repeat, “Suavi etiam belli certamina magna tueri;” but the sentiment is hollow and savours of cuckoo. You can’t tueri anything but a horrid row. He didn’t say “Suave etiam ingentem caliginem tueri per campos instructam.”

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