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Aphra Behn: The pen triumphs over the sword


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

British writers on peace and war

Aphra Behn: No rough sound of war’s alarms


Aphra Behn

From A Pindaric Poem

Oh Strange effect of a Seraphick Quill!
That can by unperceptable degrees
Change every Notion, every Principle
To any Form, its Great Dictator please:
The Sword a Feeble Pow’r, compar’d to That,
And to the Nobler Pen subordinate;
And of less use in Bravest turns of State:
While that to Blood and Slaughter has recourse,
This Conquers Hearts with soft prevailing Force:
So when the wiser Greeks o’recame their Foes,
It was not by the Barbarous Force of Blows.
When a long Ten Years Fatal War had fail’d,
With luckier Wisdom they at last assail’d,
Wisdom and Counsel which alone prevail’d.
Not all their Numbers the Fam’d Town could win,
‘Twas Nobler Stratagem that let the Conquerour in.


From Song

But now for Jemmy must I mourn,
Who to the Warrs must go;
His Sheephook to a Sword must turne:
Alack what shall I do?
His Bag-pipe into War-like Sounds,
Must now Exchanged bee:
Instead of Braceletts, fearful Wounds;
Then what becomes of me?



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