Home > Uncategorized > Joseph Cottle: War’s noxious breath fills earth with discord, dread, and death

Joseph Cottle: War’s noxious breath fills earth with discord, dread, and death

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

British writers on peace and war

Joseph Cottle: Selections on war

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Joseph Cottle
From War, A Fragment

“Say, bleeding Youth, what urg’d thee thus to stray
“Far from thy kindred and thy coast away
“To dare the fight with indignation blind,
“To lift the spear against thy fellow kind?
“Know’st thou the cause for which the crimson tide
“Deserts thine heart, and oozes from thy side?
“Perchance some statesman’s pique, some shrine profan’d,
“A flag insulted, or a skiff detain’d;
“These blow the blasts of war – whose noxious breath
“Fills the wide earth with discord, dread, and death.
“Speak; gently speak, that some may mark thy grave,
“And flee from blood, the nurture tyrants crave.”

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