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Alexander Pope: Where Peace scatters blessings from her dovelike wing


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

British writers on peace and war

Alexander Pope: Peace o’er the world her olive wand extend

Alexander Pope: War, horrid war, your thoughtful walks invades


Alexander Pope
From Windsor Forest

‘Hail, sacred Peace! hail, long-expected days,
That Thames’s glory to the stars shall raise!
Tho’ Tiber’s streams immortal Rome behold,
Tho’ foaming Hermus swells with tides of gold,
From Heav’n itself tho’ sev’nfold Nilus flows,
And harvests on a hundred realms bestows;
These now no more shall be the Muse’s themes,
Lost in my fame, as in the sea their streams.
Let Volga’s banks with iron squadrons shine,
And groves of lances glitter on the Rhine;
Let barb’rous Ganges arm a servile train,
Be mine the blessings of a peaceful reign.
No more my sons shall dye with British blood
Red Iber’s sands, or Ister’s foaming flood:
Safe on my shore each unmolested swain
Shall tend the flocks, or reap the bearded grain;
The shady empire shall retain no trace
Of war or blood, but in the sylvan chase;
The trumpet sleep, while cheerful horns are blown,
And arms employ’d on birds and beasts alone.
Behold! th’ ascending villas on my side
Project long shadows o’er the crystal tide;
Behold! Augusta’s glitt’ring spires increase,
And temples rise, the beauteous works of Peace.’


‘O stretch thy reign, fair Peace! from shore to shore,
Till conquest cease, and slavery be no more;
Till the freed Indians in their native groves
Reap their own fruits, and woo their sable loves;
Peru once more a race of kings behold,
And other Mexicos be roof’d with gold.
Exiled by thee from earth to deepest Hell,
In brazen bonds shall barb’rous Discord dwell:
Gigantic Pride, pale Terror, gloomy Care,
And mad Ambition shall attend her there:
There purple Vengeance, bathed in gore, retires,
Her weapons blunted, and extinct her fires:
There hated Envy her own snakes shall feel,
And Persecution mourn her broken wheel:
There Faction roar, Rebellion bite her chain,
And gasping Furies thirst for blood in vain.’


‘My humble Muse, in unambitious strains,
Paints the green forests and the flowery plains,
Where Peace descending bids her olives spring,
And scatters blessings from her dovelike wing.’

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