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William Wordsworth: Proclaimed heroes for strewing meadows with carcasses

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

British writers on peace and war

William Wordsworth: Selections on peace and war

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William Wordsworth
From The Borderers

…we hear
Of towns in flames, fields ravaged, young and old
Driven out in troops to want and nakedness;
Then grasp our swords and rush upon a cure
That flatters us, because it asks not thought:
The deeper malady is better hid;
The world is poisoned at the heart.

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One a King,
General or Cham, Sultan or Emperor,
Strews twenty acres of good meadow-ground
With carcases, in lineament and shape
And substance, nothing differing from his own,
But that they cannot stand up of themselves
Another sits i’ th’ sun, and by the hour
Floats kingcups in the brook – a Hero one
We call, and scorn the other as Time’s spendthrift…

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