Home > Uncategorized > Oscar Wilde: Who would dare to praise the barren pride of warring nations?

Oscar Wilde: Who would dare to praise the barren pride of warring nations?

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

British writers on peace and war

Oscar Wilde: Antidote to war

Oscar Wilde: Crimson seas of war, Great Game in Central and South Asia

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Oscar Wilde
From Ravenna

Thou hast not followed that immortal Star
Which leads the people forth to deeds of war.
Weary of life, thou liest in silent sleep,
As one who marks the lengthening shadows creep,
Careless of all the hurrying hours that run…

Yet wake not from thy slumbers, – rest thee well,
Amidst thy fields of amber asphodel,
Thy lily-sprinkled meadows, – rest thee there,
To mock all human greatness: who would dare
To vent the paltry sorrows of his life
Before thy ruins, or to praise the strife
Of kings’ ambition, and the barren pride
Of warring nations!

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For as the olive-garland of the race,
Which lights with joy each eager runner’s face,
As the red cross which saveth men in war,
As a flame-bearded beacon seen from far
By mariners upon a storm-tossed sea, –
Such was his love for Greece and Liberty!

Byron, thy crowns are ever fresh and green:
Red leaves of rose from Sapphic Mitylene
Shall bind thy brows; the myrtle blooms for thee,
In hidden glades by lonely Castaly;
The laurels wait thy coming: all are thine,
And round thy head one perfect wreath will twine.

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