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James Thomson: Philosophy’s plans of policy and peace


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

British writers on peace and war

James Thomson: Despise the insensate barbarous trade of war

James Thomson: Peace is the natural state of man; war his corruption, his disgrace


James Thomson
From The Seasons

The mineral kinds confess thy mighty power.
Effulgent, hence the veiny marble shines;
Hence Labour draws his tools ; hence burnish’d War
Gleams on the day; the nobler works of Peace
Hence bless mankind, and generous Commerce binds
The round of nations in a golden chain.


[T]he softening arts of Peace,
Whate’er the humanizing Muses teach;
The godlike wisdom of the temper’d breast;
Progressive truth, the patient force of thought;
Investigation calm, whose silent powers
Command the world; the light that leads to Heaven;
Kind equal rule, the government of laws,
And all-protecting Freedom, which alone
Sustains the name and dignity of man…

And blind amazement prone, the enlighten’d few,
Whose godlike minds Philosophy exalts…
Nothing, save rapine, indolence, and guile,
And woes on woes, a still-revolving train!
Whose horrid circle had made human life
Than non-existence worse: but, taught by thee,
Ours are the plans of policy and peace;
To live like brothers, and conjunctive all
Embellish life. While thus laborious crowds
Ply the tough oar, Philosophy directs
The ruling helm; or like the liberal breath
Of potent Heaven, invisible, the sail
Swells out, and bears the inferior world along.

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