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John Donne: The horror and ghastliness of war

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

British writers on peace and war

John Donne: War and misery are one thing

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John Donne
From Sermon preached at Whitehall, April 20, 1620

From the first temporall blessing of peace, we may consider the lovelinesse, the amiablenesse of that, if we looke upon the horror and gastlinesse of warr: either in Effigie, in that picture of warre, which is drawn in every leafe of our own Chronicles, in the blood of so many Princes, and noble families, or if we looke upon warre it self, at that distance at which it cannot hurt us…In all Cities, disorderly and facinorous men, covet to draw themselves into the skirts and suburbs of those Cities, that so they may be the nearer the spoyle, which they make upon passengers. In all Kingdomes that border upon other Kingdomes, and in Islands which have no other border but the Sea, particular men, who by dwelling in those skirts and borders, may make their profit of spoile, delight in hostility, and have an adversenesse and detestation of peace: but it is not so within: they who till the earth, and breed up cattell, and imploy their industry upon Gods creatures, according to Gods ordinance, feele the benefit and apprehend the sweetnesse, and pray for the continuance of peace.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 1, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Good to see you around still.
    I’m just breathlessly watching the terror in Aleppo (counter offensive of Islamists in the south) and wonder, how anybody can go through this without getting mad and being traumatized and psychotic for the rest of his/her life.

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