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James Russell Lowell: Dante and universal peace

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

American writers on peace and against war

James Russell Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood

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James Russell Lowell
From Dante

Without peace, which only good government could give, mankind could not arrive at the highest virtue, whether of the active or the contemplative life. And since what is true of the part is true of the whole, and that it happens in the particular man that by sitting quietly he is perfected in prudence and wisdom, it is clear that the human race in the quiet or tranquillity of peace is most freely and easily disposed for its proper work which is almost divine, as it is written, ‘Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.’ Whence it is manifest that universal peace is the best of those things which are ordained for our beatitude. Hence it is that not riches, not pleasures, not honors, not length of life, not health, not strength, not comeliness, was sung to the shepherds from on high, but peace…

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