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Abraham Cowley: Only peace breeds scarcity in Hell


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

British writers on peace and war

Abraham Cowley: Like the peace, but think it comes too late

Abraham Cowley: To give peace and then the rules of peace


Abraham Cowley
From Civil War

‘Tis only peace breeds scarcity in Hell.

Their rage and furious avarice shall appear,
Boundless as Marius’ sword and Sulla’s spear,
If in their misty souls there chance to shine
The smallest peaceful glimpse of light divine,
Raise up new fogs and thicken clouds apace,
Till all our night of Hell confuse the place.

Pluck from their hearts each mild and sober thought,
Till war and public woe with joy be bought
Ev’n by the covetous; till cowards fight,
And all men crowd to ruin with delight.


From Upon Dr. Harvey

These useful secrets to his pen we owe,
And thousands more ’twas ready to bestow;
Of which a barbarous war’s unlearned rage
Has robbed the ruined age…
O cursèd war! Who can forgive thee this?
Houses and towns may rise again,
And ten times easier it is
To rebuild Paul’s than any work of his.

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