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Mary Robinson: Anticipate the day when ruthless war shall cease to desolate

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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

Mary Robinson: Selections on war

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Mary Robinson

From Stanzas on May 1799

War teaches the bosom of Nature to sigh,
While she gazes with anguish around,
While the tear of Religion falls fast from her eye,
And each morn blushes deep on her wound.

From The Maniac

Or say, does flush’d Ambition’s wing
Around thy feverish temples fling
Dire incense, smoking from th’ ensanguined plain,
That, drain’d from bleeding warriors’ hearts,
Swift to thy shatter’d sense imparts
The victor’s savage joy, that thrills through every vein ?

From The Progress of Liberty

Pale Nature trembled: for infuriate man,
Wild with the fateful plenitude of power,
Warr’d ‘gainst his desperate fellow. Not alone
O’er proud oppression flew the bolts of fate;
But all around, as the swift summer storm
Tears from the mountain’s brow the sturdy oak,
While the small floweret and the poisonous weed
Alike are levell’d, so the vengeful shaft
Bore down the breathing race: the clang of arms
Deafen’d the ear of reason: the loud shout
Of uproar, frantic, now was heard to ring
The vanity arch of heaven, while mingling groans
Drown’d the deep sighs of nature!

Such was the mendicant that haunts thy gate!
So were his useful hours consumed for thee;
When o’er the rocking deck the sulphur’d flash
Of desolating war its terrors threw
Midst dying groans: while thundering peal on peal
The brazen tongue of slaughter roar’d revenge,
Making heaven’s concave tremble!

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How glows the patriot soul, while fancy’s dream
Anticipates the day when ruthless war
Shall cease to desolate!

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