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Matthew Arnold: Man shall live in peace, as now in war

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

British writers on peace and war

Matthew Arnold: New Age. Uphung the spear, unbent the bow.

Matthew Arnold: Tolstoy’s commandments of peace

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Matthew Arnold
From Balder Dead

“For I am long since weary of your storm
Of carnage, and find, Hermod, in your life
Something too much of war and broils, which make
Life one perpetual fight, a bath of blood.
Mine eyes are dizzy with the arrowy hail;
Mine ears are stunn’d with blows, and sick for calm.
Inactive therefore let me lie, in gloom,
Unarm’d, inglorious; I attend the course
Of ages, and my late return to light,
In times less alien to a spirit mild,
In new-recover’d seats, the happier day.”
He spake; and the fleet Hermod thus replied: –
“Brother, what seats are these, what happier day?
Tell me, that I may ponder it when gone.”
And the ray-crowned Balder answer’d him: –
“Far to the south, beyond the blue, there spreads
Another Heaven, the boundless – no one yet
Hath reach’d it; there hereafter shall arise
The second Asgard, with another name.
Thither, when o’er this present earth and Heavens
The tempest of the latter days hath swept,
And they from sight have disappear’d, and sunk,
Shall a small remnant of the Gods repair;
Hoder and I shall join them from the grave.
There re-assembling we shall see emerge
From the bright Ocean at our feet an earth
More fresh, more verdant than the last, with fruits
Self-springing, and a seed of man preserved,
Who then shall live in peace, as now in war…”

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