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Mark Akenside: Statesmanship versus war


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

British writers on peace and war

Mark Akenside: The hidden plan whence every treaty, every war began


Mark Akenside

From Ode: To the Honourable Charles Townshend

Let vulgar bards, with undiscerning praise,
More glittering trophies raise:
But wisest Heaven what deeds may chiefly move
To favour and to love?
What, save wide blessings, or averted harms?

Nor to the embattled field
Shall these achievements of the peaceful gown,
The green immortal crown
Of valour, or the songs of conquest, yield.


From Ode: To the Right Reverend Benjamin, Lord Bishop of Winchester

For not a conqueror’s sword,
Nor the strong powers to civil founders known,
Were his; but truth by faithful search explored,
And social sense, like seed, in genial plenty sown.
Wherever it took root, the soul (restored
To freedom) freedom too for others sought.

From: Ode: To the Country Gentlemen of England

For, oh! may neither Fear nor stronger Love…
Thee, last of many wretched nations, move,
With mighty armies station’d round the throne
To trust thy safety. Then, farewell the claims
Of Freedom! Her proud records to the flames
Then bear, an offering at Ambition’s shrine…

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