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Thomas Middleton: The soldier’s fate

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

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Middleton: Selections on peace and warmaker

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Thomas Middleton
From Father Hubburd’s Tales

Thy colour wasted, thy blood lost,
Thy limbs broke with the violent rape
Of hot impatient cannons, which desire
To ravish lives, spending their lust in fire.

O what a ruthful sight it is to see.
Though in a soldier of the mean’st degree,
That right member perish’d
Which the  body cherish’d!
That limb dissever’d, burnt, and gone.
Which the best part was borne upon:
And then, the greatest ruth of all,
Returning home in torn estate,
Where he should rise, there most to fall,
Trod down with’envy, bruis’d with hate;
Yet, wretch, let this thy comfort be,
That greater worms have far’d like thee.

So here thou left’st, bloodless and wan.
Thy journeys thorough man and man;
These two cross’d shapes, so much opprest,
Did fray thy weakness from the rest.

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