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Peter L. Courtier: Ode to Peace


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

British writers on peace and war


Peter L. Courtier
Ode to Peace (1796)

Spirit of Harmony, descend;
Thro’ universal Man
Diffuse thy godlike plan!
Shall mortal still by fellow mortal bleed,
And unavailing Pity mourn the deed?
Let the revolving years more swiftly flee,
And bring the promis’d time
When Animosity shall end;
Joy sound to ev’ry clime
The sweet return of Peace – Creation’s Jubilee!

Forgive the Muse: Peace is her darling theme –
The groans of Widows, and the Virgin’s scream,
The sack of cities, and the daring fight,
Afford her no delight!
Willing from Devastation’s reign she turns,
With trembling nerves and bitterness of soul,
To scenes for which with ecstasy she burns!
When Happiness shall reach the farthest pole;
When Amity each barrier will remove,
And hostile nations join the bands of love.

Philanthropy! thy influence can chase
Each dreadful purpose of revenge,
Charm the dark mind of Discord to embrace,
And with Benevolence avenge.
He whom thy powers invigorate
Feels not the galling force of hate;
Anger ne’er clouds his gen’rous face:
He knows the frailties of this mortal frame,
If others err – that he has done the same;
And feels compassion for the human race.

Bring the transcendent age,
Reveal’d in Prophecy’s unerring page,
When war and tyranny shall ne’er disgrace
Th’ unsullied earth, nor Discord find a place
Throughout Creation’s unrecorded space:
But Concord’s amaranthine chain
Unite the Continent, embrace the Main:
From Albion’s shores, to the last southern isle,
Prosperity extend, and Nature smile!

Millions in joyful expectation wait
To see the heart of enmity dilate;
To see wide Liberality divest
Contracted notions from the human breast;
Candour the bonds of sectaries unbind,
And heav’n-born Charity exalt the mind!
Welcome, celestial morn!
Whose beams no intervening mists will shroud;
On thee the sun of truth shall dawn,
Attain meridian strength, and shine without a cloud.

Bright Day-star of the skies,
Eternal Truth, arise!
The lingering shades of Prejudice dispel;
Let thy resistless charm
His votaries disarm,
And ‘keen Enquiry’ break the hoary spell;
Then shall sweet harmony resound
Through Nature’s universal round,
Nor fiend-like deeds deform the vernal year!
Justice and Reason shall preside,
And Philanthropy’s blissful tide,
In one vast sea, encircle every sphere!


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