Joseph Cottle: If on the slaughter’d field some mind humane…
From War, A Fragment
Oh! Charity, fair daughter of the skies,
How many a hateful form before Thee flies, lo
On whose dark brow, and grinning smile, and yell,
Thou might’st, if justice reign’d, for ever dwell!
Yet thou haft mark’d their faults, whilst pity sigh’d,
And to disturb thy peace, their little powers defy’d.
But whilst of happiness we feebly tell,
And praise her worth, and paint her halcyon cell;
Declare of joys that round their parent twine,
And speak of shores where suns perpetual shine;
How many pence-bought engines wield the spear,
Whose slavish breasts this fun must never cheer!
How many myriads of the human race,
On carnage bent, the name of man disgrace.
Some lazy tyrant’s hireling tool obey,
And rush like blood-hounds on their unknown prey.
If on the slaughter’d field some mind humane,
Should stop to sooth a gasping Soldier’s pain;
Enquire the cause that urg’d him to engage
In war’s fell clangor, and infernal rage;
“I know no cause,” his trembling tongue replies,
And with a hollow groan distends his frame, and dies.