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Alfred Noyes: War, hypocritical word for universal murder

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

British writers on peace and war

Alfred Noyes: Selections on war

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Alfred Noyes
The Torch-Bearers
The Last Voyage

“Not long ago
They only laughed at Lister…”
“He has joined
Those other voices now, beyond the storm.
How many lives has Lister saved since then?”
“In eighteen-seventy, armies rotted to death
For lack of what he taught us; and the knife
Sent more than half its victims to the grave.
So, Lister, whom we sneered at, must have saved
Some fifty million lives throughout the world,
Men, women, children. – ”
“More than thrice the number
That fifteen nations, slaughtering night and day,
For those five years of glorious war…”

***

The voice of Science was now on the air
To save that child; but, also on the air,
Blind voices from the dens of state-craft rose,
Threatening war, their hypocritical word
For universal murder; and in the name
Of Science, planned new deaths for half mankind.

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