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William Congreve: Cursed ambition wakes the world to war and ruin

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

British writers on peace and war

William Congreve: No more do youth leave the sacred arts for stubborn arms

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William Congreve
From Paraphrase Upon Horace

Of savage Scythian arms no more I write,
Or Parthian archers, who in flying fight,
And make rough war their sport;
Such idle themes no more can move…

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From A Hymn to Harmony

‘Tis done; and now tumultuous passions cease;
And all is hush’d, and all is peace.
The weary world with welcomed ease is blessed,
By music lull’d to pleasing rest.

Ah, sweet repose, too soon expiring!
Ah, foolish man, new toils requiring!
Curs’d ambition, strife pursuing,
Wakes the world to war and ruin.
See, see, the battle is prepar’d!
Behold the hero comes!
Loud trumpets with shrill fifes are heard;
And hoarse resounding drums.
War, with discordant notes and jarring noise,
The harmony of peace destroys.

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