Home > Uncategorized > Anna Seward: Fierce War has wing’d the arrow that wounds my soul’s repose

Anna Seward: Fierce War has wing’d the arrow that wounds my soul’s repose


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

British writers on peace and war

Women writers on peace and war


Anna Seward

The stormy ocean roving,
My William seeks the foe;
Ah me! the pain of loving,
To war when lovers go!

O! why my locks so yellow,
Should rosy garlands bind,
When trembles yonder willow,
As blows the sullen wind?

Ye nymphs, who feel no anguish,
My garlands gay ye wove,
But I in absence languish,
And fear for him I love.

Nor yet the sprays of willow
Shall wave my temples o’er,
But weeds, that ocean’s billow
Leaves dark upon the shore.

Pale willows suit the sorrow
The fair forsaken knows;
Fierce War has wing’d the arrow
That wounds my soul’s repose.

Sad on the beach I linger,
And watch the altering sea;
But no cold doubts shall injure,
My love is true to me!

Yet, till rest crown my pillow,
Till peace my love restore,
Be mine the weeds yon billow
Leaves dark upon the shore!


Address to Hope

Thou sun of the spirit, dispersing each cloud,
When the sad sense of danger my bosom would shroud,
Not Spring, as she chases the Winters loud storm,
Ever blest the chill earth with a lustre so warm.
O! how had I borne the dire thoughts of the fray,
When War’s cruel voice called my lover away,
Had’st not thou, gentle Hope, veil’d the battles’ increase,
And bent thy soft beams on the harbour of Peace!

To cheer and irradiate a bosom like mine,
Can the splendour of Glory be potent as thine?
It plays on the crest of the hero, but shews
Red traces of danger thro’ legions of foes;
It gilds e’en destruction, I know, to the brave,
But to love, what can brighten the gloom of the grave?
Then do thou draw a veil o’er the battle’s fierce gleams,
And on Safety’s dear harbour O! bend thy soft beams!

And now, gentle Hope, art thou faithful as kind,
Not false were thy fires while they shone on my mind;
My hero returns ! – the dread danger is o’er,
And, crown’d with new laurels, he speeds to the shore;
Yet to light the dim Future, sweet Hope, do not
Thro’ life let thy torch be the guard of my peace;
That still it may gild the warm day-spring of youth,
As it shone on his safety, now shine on his truth.

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