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James Thomson: Philosophy’s plans of policy and peace

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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

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James Thomson
From The Seasons
Summer

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.

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[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…

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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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