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Fulke Greville: The shames of peace are the pride of war

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

British writers on peace and war

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Fulke Greville
From A Treatise of Warres
Modern rendering by RR

Peace is the harvest of man’s rich creation,
Where wit and pain have scope to sow and reap
The mind, by arts to work her elevation…

If peace be such, what must we think of war,
But horror from above, below confusion,
Where the unhappy only happy are,
As making mischief ever her conclusion;
Scourges of God, figures of hell to come,
Of vanity, a vain, infamous tomb.

Where neither throne nor crown have reverence,
Sentence, nor wit nor sergeant be in fashion;
All terror scorned, of guiltiness no sense;
A discipline whereof the rule is passion;
And as men’s vices beasts’ chief virtues are,
So be the shames of peace the pride of war.

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Peace is the haruest of Mans rich creation,
Where Wit and Paine haue scope to sow, and reape
The minde, by Arts, to worke her eleuation…

If Peace be such, what must we thinke of Warre,
But Horrour from aboue, below Confusion,
Where the vnhappy onely happy are,
As making mischiefe euer her conclusion ;
Scourges of God, figures of hell to come,
Of vanity, a vaine, infamous tombe.
Where neither Throne, nor Crowne haue reuerence,
Sentence, nor Writ, nor Sergeant be in fashion ;
All terror scorn’d, of guiltinesse no sense ;
A Discipline whereof the rule is Passion :
And as mens vices, beasts chiefe vertues are,
So be the shames of Peace, the Pride of Warre.

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