Archive

Archive for August, 2017

Horace Smith: Selections on peace and war

August 15, 2017 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Helen Maria Williams: Heaven-born peace

August 14, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Women writers on peace and war

====

Helen Maria Williams
From Ode To Peace

She comes, benign enchantress, heav’n born PEACE!
With mercy beaming in her radiant eye;
She bids the horrid din of battle cease,
And at her glance the savage passions die.
‘Tis Nature’s festival, let earth rejoice,
And pour to Liberty exulting songs,
In distant regions, with according voice,
Let Man the vict’ry bless, its prize to Man belongs.

Categories: Uncategorized

Horace Smith: Manufactured to machines for killing human creatures

August 13, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Horace Smith: Selections on peace and war

====

Horace Smith
From Projects and Companies

Better our superflux to waste
On peaceful schemes, howe’er misplaced.
Than war and its abuses…

***

From Third Poetical Epistle

Another class there was, in trappings gay,
Fine colours – laces – feathers – ribbons – wreaths,
Who let themselves for hire, to kill and slay,
For which they carried earring knives in sheaths;
Of shoulder-knots, and liveried array,
Prouder than any popinjay that breathes;
And what was strange, the women seemed to love
These men-destroyers other men above.

***

From Charade (Barrack)

My Third is fashion’d to enfold
Strange implements of war. – Behold
Those frames with human features;
By time and artificial means
They’re manufactured to machines
For killing human creatures.
Obedient moves – east, west, north, south,
Up to the breach, or cannon’s mouth:
Each automatic figure, –
‘Gainst friend or foe, whate’er the cause.
With equal nonchalance he draws
His death dispensing-trigger.
Enslaved alike in frame and mind.
Life’s object for its means resign’d,
What gains th’unlucky varlet?
Dying, he sleeps on honours couch,
And living, flaunts with empty pouch.
In outward gold and scarlet.
Never were muscles, bones, and will.
By such self-sacrificing skill,
Made neuter, passive, active.
Machine! thou’rt mechanism’s pride.
But never was its art applied
To purpose less attractive!

Categories: Uncategorized

André Maurois: The killing machine started up with pitiless smoothness

August 12, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

French writers on war and peace

====

André Maurois
From The Family Circle
Translated by Hamish Miles

The killing machine started up with pitiless smoothness. Just as the aprons of the cards slowly and steadily bore the flocks of wool to the hard-pointed rollers that gripped and tore them, so did courage and fear draw this peaceable town into war and carry out the smooth sifting of death. In one single day all the young men vanished. The red-eyed women came back alone to silent houses. The the older men appeared in uniform…

Categories: Uncategorized

Lewis Morris: Selections on war and peace

August 11, 2017 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Remy de Gourmont: If they wage war, in what state must the world be?

August 10, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

French writers on war and peace

Remy de Gourmont: Getting drunk at the dirty cask of militarism

====

Remy de Gourmont
From Mr. Antiphilos, Satyr
Translated by John Howard

The great gods no longer descending to an earth soiled by war, ownership, gold and those human laws which so badly translate the gentle divine laws, we remain the sole immortals that a herdsman can chance upon at the fall of day, as he walks along the path…They say the golden age will return. Let us hope so.

***

She faithfully returns, as she has promised, bringing on each trip a quantity of golden money with the most diverse effigies: I would never have supposed that the world contained so many tyrants. If they wage war, as was customary in the old days, in what state must the world be…?

***

Love is serious. When one has deep sensibility, love can cause tears; laughter, never. It is only among mortals that love is accompanied with laughter. The gods never laugh, except at the silliness of mankind.

***

Like nature, the gods exist only at the instant you speak and think of them, and as soon as your attention is distracted from divine things, they fall again into the dim, pantheistic immensity where their lives glide by, mute, deep and plant-like.

***

We are all,children of destiny and our immortal life is but a succession of mortal lives badly joined to each other by the confused mortar of recollection.

Categories: Uncategorized

Lewis Morris: Red war, the dungeon, and the stake

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Lewis Morris: Selections on war and peace

====

Lewis Morris

From The Youth of Thought

Fulfilled with thoughts, more fair and dear
Than all the lighter joys of yore,
Immeasurable hopes brought near,
And Heaven laid open more and more.

But not with love and peace alone
Time came, which older joys could take;
But with fierce brand and hopeless groan,
Red war, the dungeon, and the stake…

***

From Tantalus

The glitter of the gems, the precious webs
Plundered from every clime by cruel wars
That strewed the sands with corpses…

And only cared for power; content to shed
Rivers of innocent blood, if only thus
I might appease my thirst. Until I grew
A monster gloating over blood and pain.

***

From A Cynic’s Day-Dream

If fate should grant me such a home,
So sweet the tranquil days would come,
I should not need, I trust, to sink
My weariness in lust or drink.
Scant pleasure should I think to gain
From endless scenes of death and pain;
‘Twould little profit me to slay
A thousand innocents a day;
I should not much delight to tear
With wolfish dogs the shrieking hare;
With horse and hound to track to death
A helpless wretch that gasps for breath;
To make the fair bird check its wing,
And drop, a dying, shapeless thing;
To leave the joy of all the wood
A mangled heap of fur and blood,
Or else escaping, but in vain,
To pine, a shattered wretch, in pain;
Teeming, perhaps, or doomed to see
Its young brood starve in misery;
With neither risk nor labour, still
To live for nothing but to kill –
I dare not! If perplexed I am
Between the tiger and the lamb;
If fate ordain that these shall give
Their poor brief lives that I may live:
Whate’er the law that bids them die,
Others shall butcher them, not I,
Not such my work. Surely the Lord,
Who made the devils by a word,
Not men, but those who’d wield them well
Gave these sad tortures of his Hell.

Categories: Uncategorized

George Meredith: All your gains from War resign

====

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

British writers on peace and war

George Meredith: Selections on peace and war

====

George Meredith
From Il y a cent ans

What figures will be shown the century hence?
What lands intact?  We do but know that Power
From piety divorced, though seen immense,
Shall sink on envy of the humblest flower.

Our cry for cradled Peace, while men are still
The three-parts brute which smothers the divine,
Heaven answers: Guard it with forethoughtful will,
Or buy it; all your gains from War resign.

Categories: Uncategorized

Homer: Caging the terrible Lord of War

====

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Homer: The great gods are never pleased with violent deeds

====

Homer
From The Illiad
Translated by George Meredith

Dedicated to the Council at the Hague, 1899

These two combining strength and craft had snared,
Enmeshed, bound fast with thongs, discreetly caged
The blood-shedder, the terrible Lord of War;
Destroyer, ravager, superb in plumes;
The barren furrower of anointed fields;
The scarlet heel in towns, foul smoke to sky,
Her hated enemy, too long her scourge:
Great Ares.  And they gagged his trumpet mouth
When they had seized on his implacable spear,
Hugged him to reedy helplessness despite
His godlike fury startled from amaze.
For he had eyed them nearing him in play,
The giant cubs, who gambolled and who snarled,
Unheeding his fell presence, by the mount
Ossa, beside a brushwood cavern; there
On Earth’s original fisticuffs they called
For ease of sharp dispute: whereat the God,
Approving, deemed that sometime trained to arms,
Good servitors of Ares they would be,
And ply the pointed spear to dominate
Their rebel restless fellows, villain brood
Vowed to defy Immortals.  So it chanced
Amusedly he watched them, and as one
The lusty twain were on him and they had him.
Breath to us, Powers of air, for laughter loud!
Cock of Olympus he, superb in plumes!
Bound like a wheaten sheaf by those two babes!
Because they knew our Mother Gaea loathed him,
Knew him the famine, pestilence and waste;
A desolating fire to blind the sight
With splendour built of fruitful things in ashes;
The gory chariot-wheel on cries for justice;
Her deepest planted and her liveliest voice,
Heard from the babe as from the broken crone.
Behold him in his vessel of bronze encased,
And tumbled down the cave.

***

Among the wheat-blades proud of stalk; beneath
Young vine-leaves pushing timid fingers forth,
Confidently to cling.  And when brown corn
Swayed armied ranks with softened cricket song,
With gold necks bent for any zephyr’s kiss;
When vine-roots daily down a rubble soil
Drank fire of heaven athirst to swell the grape;
When swelled the grape, and in it held a ray,
Rich issue of the embrace of heaven and earth;
The very eye of passion drowsed by excess,
And yet a burning lion for the spring;
Then in that time of general cherishment,
Sweet breathing balm and flutes by cool wood-side,
He the harsh rouser of ire being absent, caged,
Then did good Gaea’s children gratefully
Lift hymns to Gods they judged, but praised for peace,
Delightful Peace, that answers Reason’s call
Harmoniously and images her Law;
Reflects, and though short-lived as then, revives,
In memories made present on the brain
By natural yearnings, all the happy scenes;
The picture of an earth allied to heaven;
Between them the known smile behind black masks;
Rightly their various moods interpreted;
And frolic because toilful children borne
With larger comprehension of Earth’s aim
At loftier, clearer, sweeter, by their aid.

Categories: Uncategorized

George Meredith: Selections on peace and war

Categories: Uncategorized

Xenophon: Guile without guilt. Peace and joy reigned everywhere.

====

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Xenophon: Begin wars as tardily, end them as speedily as possible

Xenophon: Socrates’ war sophistry; civil crimes are martial virtues

Xenophon: War as obsession, warfare as mistress

====

Xenophon
From Cyropaedia
Translated by Walter Miller

“Well, Cyrus, I used to think that you surpassed all other men in that you were the greatest general; and now, I swear by the gods, you seem actually to excel even more in kindness than in generalship.”

“Aye, by God,” answered Cyrus; “and what is more, I assure you that I take much more pleasure in showing forth my deeds of kindness than ever I did in my deeds of generalship.”

“How so?” asked Gobryas.

“Because,” said he, “in the one field, one must necessarily do harm to men; in the other, only good.”

***

At day-break he took his stand with his army between the two and summoned the leaders of the two factions. And when they saw one another they were indignant, for they both thought they had been duped. Adusius, however, addressed them as follows:

“Gentlemen, I gave you my oath that I would without treachery enter your walls for the advantage of those who admitted me. If, therefore, I destroy either party of you, I think that I have come in to the injury of the Carians; whereas, if I can secure peace for you and security for all to till the fields, I think I am here for your advantage. Now, therefore, from this day you must live together like friends, till your lands without fear of one another, and intermarry your children one party with the other; and if any one in defiance of these regulations attempts to make trouble, Cyrus, and we with him, will be that man’s enemies.”

After that, the gates of the city were opened, the streets filled up with people passing to and fro, and the farms with labourers; they celebrated their festivals together, and peace and joy reigned everywhere.

***

“Next to the gods, however, show respect also to all the race of men as they continue in perpetual succession; for the gods, do not hide you away in darkness, but your works must ever live on in the sight of all men; and if they are pure and untainted with unrighteousness, they will make your power manifest among all mankind. But if you conceive any unrighteous schemes against each other, you will forfeit in the eyes of all men your right to be trusted. For no one would be able any longer to trust you – not even if he very much desired to do so – if he saw either of you wronging that one who has the first claim to the other’s love.”

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Music

In progress

Categories: Uncategorized

George Meredith: War’s rivers of blood no crown for future generations

====

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

British writers on peace and war

George Meredith: Selections on peace and war

====

George Meredith
From The Empty Purse

Ask what crown
Comes of our tides of the blood at war,
For men to bequeath generations down!

***

When our Earth we have seen, and have linked
With the home of the Spirit to whom we unfold,
Imprisoned humanity open will throw
Its fortress gates, and the rivers of gold
For the congregate friendliness flow.

***

Nor History written in blood or in foam,
For vendetta of Parties in cursing accursed.

====

From To the Comic Spirit

These, that would have men still of men be foes,
Eternal fox to prowl and pike to feed;
Would keep our life the whirly pool
Of turbid stuff dishonouring History…

====

From Napoléon

Up withered avenues of waste-blood war,
To the pitiless red mounts of fire afume,
As ’twere the world’s arteries opened!  Woe the race!

***

Poured streams of Europe’s veins the flood
Full Rhine or Danube rolls off morning-tide
Through shadowed reaches into crimson-dyed:
And Rhine and Danube knew her gush of blood
Down the plucked roots the deepest in her breast.

====

Philosophy is Life’s one match for Fate.

Categories: Uncategorized

Polybius: Peace is a blessing for which we all pray to the gods

====

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Polybius: The bestialization of man by war

====

Polybius
From The Histories
Translated by W.R. Paton

Peace is a blessing for which we all pray to the gods; we submit to every suffering from the desire to attain it, and it is the only one of the so‑called good things in life to which no man refuses this title. If then there be any people which, while able by right and with all honour to obtain from the Greeks perpetual and undisputed peace, neglect this object or esteem any other of greater importance, everyone would surely agree that they are much in the wrong. Perhaps indeed they might plead that such a manner of life exposes them to the attack of neighbours bent on war and regardless of treaties. But this is a thing not likely to happen often and claiming if it does occur the aid of all the Greeks; while to secure themselves against any local and temporary damage, amidst a plentiful supply of wealth, such as will probably be theirs if they enjoy constant peace, they will be in no want of foreign mercenary soldiers to protect them at the place and time required. But now simply from fear of rare and improbable perils they expose their country and their properties to constant war and devastation.

Categories: Uncategorized