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Felicia Hemans: War and Peace

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

British writers on peace and war

Women writers on peace and war

Felicia Hemans: Selections on peace and war

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Felicia Hemans
From War and Peace

‘High the peaceful streamers wave!
‘Lo!’ they sing, ‘we come to save!
‘Come to smile on ev’ry shore,
‘Truth and Eden to restore!
‘Come, the balm of joy to bring,
‘Borne on softest gales of spring!
‘Rapture! swell the choral voice,
‘Favor’d earth! rejoice, rejoice!

‘Now the work of death is o’er,
‘Sleep, thou sword! to wake no more!
‘Never more Ambition’s hand
‘Shall wave thee o’er a trembling land!

‘Never more, in hopeless anguish,
‘Caus’d by thee, shall virtue languish!
‘Rapture! swell the choral voice,
‘Favor’d earth, rejoice, rejoice!

‘Cease to flow, thou purple flood,
‘Cease to fall, ye tears of blood!
‘Swell no more the clarion’s breath,
‘Wake no more the song of death!
‘Rise, ye hymns of concord, rise,
‘Incense, worthy of the skies!
‘Wake the Pæan, tune the voice,
‘Favor’d earth, rejoice, rejoice!

‘Nature, smile! thy vivid grace,
‘Now no more shall war deface;
‘Airs of spring, oh! sweetly breathe,
‘Summer! twine thy fairest wreath!
‘Not the warrior’s bier to spread,
‘Not to crown the victor’s head;

‘But with flowers of every hue,
‘Love and mercy’s path to strew!
‘Swell to heaven the choral voice,
‘Favor’d earth! rejoice, rejoice!

‘Sleep, Ambition! rage, expire!
‘Vengeance! fold thy wing of fire!
‘Close thy dark and lurid eye,
‘Bid thy torch, forsaken, die!
‘Furl thy banner, waving proud,
‘Dreadful as the thunder-cloud!
‘Shall destruction blast the plain?
‘Shall the falchion rage again?
‘Shall the sword thy bands dissever?
‘Never, sweet Affection! never!
‘As the halcyon o’er the ocean,
‘Lulls the billow’s wild commotion,
‘So we bid dissension cease.
‘Bloom, O Amaranth of peace!’

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Let peace on earth resound from heav’n once more,
And angel-harps th’ exulting anthems pour;
While faith, and truth, and holy wisdom bind,
One hallow’d zone – to circle all mankind!

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