Home > Uncategorized > Soame Jenyns: The soldier’s scarlet glowing from afar shows his bloody occupation’s war

Soame Jenyns: The soldier’s scarlet glowing from afar shows his bloody occupation’s war

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

British writers on peace and war

Soame Jenyns: One good-natured act more praises gain than armies overthrown, and thousands slain

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Soame Jenyns
Selections

The soldier’s scarlet glowing from afar,
Shews that his bloody occupation’s war.

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No more applause would on ambition wait,
And laying waste the world be counted great,
But one good-natured act more praises gain
Than armies overthrown, and thousands slain;
No more would brutal rage disturb our peace,
But envy, hatred, war, and discord cease…

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Observe the quick migrations Learning makes,
How harass’d nations trembling she forsakes,
And haste away to build her downy nest
In happier climates, with peace and plenty blest.
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Sometimes some famed historian’s pen
Recalls past ages past agen,
Where all I see, thro’ every page,
Is but how men, with senseless rage,
Each other rob, destroy and burn,
To serve a priest’s or a statesman’s turn;
Tho’ loaded with a diff’rent aim,
Yet always asses much the same…

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Each, form’d for all, promotes thro’ private care
The public good, and justly tastes its share.
All understand their great Creator;s will,
Strive to me happy, and in that fulfill;
Mankind excepted, lord of all beside,
But only slave to folly, vice, and pride;
‘Tis he that deaf to this command alone,
Delights in others woe, and courts his own;
Racks and destroys with tort’ring steel and flame,
For lux’ry brutes, and man himself for fame;
Set Superstition high on Virtues’ throne,
Then thinks his Maker’s temper like his own;
Hence are his altars stained with reeking gore,
As if he could atone for crimes by more…

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