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Byron: I loathe all war and warriors

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

British writers on peace and war

Byron: Selections on war

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Byron
From Sardanapalus

Why, child, I loathe all war, and warriors;
I live in peace and pleasure: what can man
Do more?

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I pray you note,
That there are worse things betwixt earth and heaven
Than him who ruleth many and slays none;
And, hating not himself, yet he loves his fellows
Enough to spare even those who would not spare him…

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I am content: and, trusting in my cause,
Think we may yet be victors and return
To peace the only victory I covet.
To me war is no glory conquest no
Renown. To be forced thus to uphold my right
Sits heavier on my heart than all the wrongs
These men would bow me down with. Never, never
Can I forget this night, even should I live
To add it to the memory of others.
I thought to have made mine inoffensive rule
An era of sweet peace ‘midst bloody annals,
A green spot amidst desert centuries,
On which the future would turn back and smile,
And cultivate, or sigh when it could not
Recall Sardanapalus’ golden reign.
I thought to have made my realm a paradise,
And every moon an epoch of new pleasures.

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