Home > Uncategorized > Richard Crashaw: In Hell’s palaces

Richard Crashaw: In Hell’s palaces

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

British writers on peace and war

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Richard Crashaw
From Sospetto d’Herode

Mongst all the Palaces in Hells …

There has the purple Vengeance a proud seat,
Whose ever-brandisht Sword is sheath’d in blood.
About her Hate, Wrath, Warre, and slaughter sweat;
Bathing their hot limbs in life’s pretious flood.
There rude impetuous Rage do’s storme, and fret:
And there, as Master of this murd’ring brood,
Swinging a huge Sith stands impartiall Death,
With endlesse businesse almost out of Breath.

For Hangings and for Curtaines, all along
The walls, (abominable ornaments!)
Are tooles of wrath, Anvills of Torments hung;
Fell Executioners of foule intents,
Nailes, hammers, hatchets sharpe, and halters strong,
Swords, Speares, with all the fatall Instruments
Of sin, and Death, twice dipt in the dire staines
Of Brothers mutuall blood, and Fathers braines.

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What busy motions, what wild Engines stand
On tiptoe in their giddy Braynes? th’ have fire
Already in their Bosomes; and their hand
Already reaches at a sword: They hire
Poysons to speed thee; yet through all the Land
What one comes to reveale what they conspire?
Goe now, make much of these; wage still their wars
And bring home on thy Brest more thanklesse scarrs.

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