Home > Uncategorized > Thomas Hood: As gentle as sweet heaven’s dew beside the red and horrid drops of war

Thomas Hood: As gentle as sweet heaven’s dew beside the red and horrid drops of war

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

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Hood: Freelance soldiering

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Thomas Hood
Selections

“Man even strives with Man, but we eschew
The guilty feud, and all fierce strifes abhor;
Nay, we are gentle as the sweet heaven’s dew
Beside the red and horrid drops of war,
Weeping the cruel hates men battle for,
Which worldly bosoms nourish in our spite:
For in the gentle breast we ne’er withdraw,
But only when all love hath taken flight,
And youth’s warm gracious heart is harden’d quite.”

***

“O fret away the fabric walls of Fame,
And grind down marble Caears with the dust:
Make tombs inscriptionless – raze each high name,
And waste old armors of renown with rust:
Do all of this, and thy revenge is just:
Make such decays the trophies of thy prime,
And check Ambition’s overweening lust,
That dares exterminating war with Time, –
But we are guiltless of that lofty crime.”

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Whereas the blade flash’d on the dinted ground,
Down through his steadfast foe, yet made no scar
On that immortal Shade, or death-like wound;
But Time was long benumb’d, and stood a-jar,
And then with baffled rage took flight afar,
To weep his hurt in some Cimmerian gloom,
Or meaner fames (like mine) to mock and mar,
Or sharp his scythe for royal strokes of doom,
Whetting its edge on some old Caesar’s tomb.

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