Home > Uncategorized > Thomas Chatterton: Peace, gentlest, softest of the virtues

Thomas Chatterton: Peace, gentlest, softest of the virtues

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

British writers on peace and war

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Thomas Chatterton

From The Bacchanalian

What is war and all its joys?
Useless mischief, empty noise.
What are arms and trophies won?
Spangles glittering in the sun.

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From The Prophesy

When Civil Power shall snore at ease,
While soldiers fire – to keep the peace;
When murders sanctuary find,
And petticoats can Justice blind;
Look up ye Britons, cease to sigh,
For your redemption draweth nigh.

When soldiers, paid for our defence,
In wanton pride slay innocence;
Blood from the ground for vengeance reeks,
Till Heaven the inquisition makes;
Look up ye Britons, cease to sigh,
For your redemption draweth nigh.

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From Elegy On The Death Of Mr. Phillips

Peace, deck’d in all the softness of the dove,
Over thy passions spread her silver plume;
The rosy veil of harmony and love
Hung on thy soul in eternal bloom.

Peace, gentlest, softest of the virtues, spread
Her silver pinions, wet with dewy tears,
Upon her best distinguished poet’s head,
And taught his lyre the music of the spheres.

Temp’rance, with health and beauty in her train,
And massy-muscled strength in graceful pride,
Pointed at scarlet luxury and pain,
And did at every frugal feast preside.

Black melancholy stealing to the shade
With raging madness, frantic, loud, and dire,
Whose bloody hand displays the reeking blade,
Were strangers to thy heaven-directed lyre.

Content, who smiles in every frown of fate,
Wreath’d thy pacific brow and sooth’d thy ill:
In thy own virtues and thy genius great,
The happy muse laid every trouble still.

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