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William Cowper: Peace, both the duty and the prize

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

British writers on peace and war

 

William Cowper: Selections on peace and war

William Cowper
From Charity

The reign of genuine Charity commence.
Though scorn repay her sympathetic tears,
She still is kind, and still she perseveres…
But still a soul thus touch’d can never cease,
Whoever threatens war, to speak of peace.

Guns, halberts, swords, and pistols, great and small,
In starry forms disposed upon the wall:
We wonder, as we gazing stand below,
That brass and steel should make so fine a show;
But, though we praise the exact designer’s skill,
Account them implements of mischief still.

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From The Nighingale and the Glow-Worm

That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other,
But sing and shine by sweet consent,
Till life’s poor transient night is spent,
Respecting in each other’s case
The gifts of nature and of grace.

Those Christians best deserve the name,
Who studiously make peace their aim;
Peace, both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps and him that flies.

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