Home > Uncategorized > Felicia Hemans: Thousands doomed to moan, condemned by war to hopeless grief unknown

Felicia Hemans: Thousands doomed to moan, condemned by war to hopeless grief unknown


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

British writers on peace and war

Felicia Hemans: Selections on peace and war


Felicia Hemans
From War and Peace

Till stern Ambition falls, in mid career!
Then let the falchion sleep, the combat cease,
The sun of conquest light the path of peace.
Let the green laurel with tlie palm entwine,
And rear on trophies bright, her firm, eternal shrine.
Dawn, age of bliss! the wounds of discord close,
Furl the red standard, bid the sword repose…

But, ah! bold Victory! can thy festal train,
Thy purple streamers, or thy choral strain;
Can thy proud spear, in wreaths immortal drest.
Thy radiant panoply, thy wavy crest;
Can these one grief, one bosom pang beguile.
Or teach despair one heart reviving smile?
Tint the pale cheek with pleasure’s mantling hue.
Light the dim eye with joy and lustre new?
Or check one sigh, one sad, yet fruitless tear,
Fond love devotes to martyred valour’s bier,
Lo! where, with pallid look and suppliant hands,
Near the cold urn th’ imploring mother stands;
Fixed is her eye, her anguish cannot weep,
There all her hopes with youth, all virtue sleep!
There sleeps the son, whose opening years displayed
Each flattering promise, doomed so soon to fade.


Ah, who can tell the thousands doomed to moan,
Condemned by war, to hopeless grief unknown?


Power of the ruthless arm, the deathful spear,
Unmoved, unpitying, in thy dread career;
Whom no sad cries, no mournful scenes impede.
Melt thy proud heart, and curb thy lightning speed;
Around whose throne malignant spirits wait.
Whose path is ruin, and whose arm is fate!

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