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Robert Browning: The devil’s doctrine, the paraded shame of war


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

British writers on peace and war

Robert Browning: Selections on peace and war


Robert Browning
From Saviour of Society

Still, so the dry-rot had been nursed into
Blood, bones and marrow, that, from worst to best,
All, – clearest brains and soundest hearts, save here, –
All had this lie acceptable for law
Plain as the sun at noonday – “War is best.
Peace is worst; peace we only tolerate
As needful preparation for new war:
War may be for whatever end we will –
Peace only as the proper help thereto.
Such is the law of right and wrong for us
Hohenstiel-Schwangau: for the other world,
As naturally, quite another law.
Are we content? The world is satisfied.
Discontent? Then the world must give us leave
Strike right and left to exercise our arm
Torpid of late through overmuch repose,
And show its strength is still superlative
At somebody ‘s expense in life or limb:
Which done, – let peace succeed and last a year!’
Such devil’s-doctrine was so judged God’s law…


Understand! – war for war’s sake, war for the sake
O’ the good war gets you as war’s sole excuse,
Is damnable and damned shall be. You want
Glory? Why so do I, and so does God.
Where is it found, – in this paraded shame, –
One particle of glory? Once you warred
For liberty against the world, and won:
There was the glory. Now, you fain would war
Because the neighbour prospers overmuch, –
Because there has been silence half-an-hour.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Thank you! I appreciate your literature greatly! Peace.

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