Home > Uncategorized > Algernon Charles Swinburne : A gospel of war and damnation for the bestial by birth

Algernon Charles Swinburne : A gospel of war and damnation for the bestial by birth

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

British writers on peace and war

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Algernon Charles Swinburne
From A Word for the Country

‘Gaze forward through clouds that environ;
It shall be as it was in the past.
Not with dreams, but with blood and with iron,
Shall a nation be moulded to last.’
So teach they, so preach they,
Who dream themselves the dream
That hallows the gallows
And bids the scaffold stream.

‘With a hero at head, and a nation
Well gagged and well drilled and well cowed,
And a gospel of war and damnation,
Has not empire a right to be proud?
Fools prattle and tattle
Of freedom, reason, right,
The beauty of duty,
The loveliness of light.

‘But we know, we believe it, we see it,
Force only has power upon earth.’
So be it! and ever so be it
For souls that are bestial by birth!

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