Home > Uncategorized > Anna Laetitia Barbauld: War’s least horror is th’ ensanguined field

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: War’s least horror is th’ ensanguined field


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

British writers on peace and war

Women writers on peace and war

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: Peace and Shepherd

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: The storm of horrid war rolls dreadful on


Anna Laetitia Barbauld

From Eighteen Hundred and Eleven

In vain with orange-blossoms scents the gale,
The hills with olives clothes, with corn the vale;
Man calls to Famine, nor invokes in vain,
Disease and Rapine follow in her train;
The tramp of marching hosts disturbs the plough,
The sword, not sickle, reaps the harvest now,
And where the soldier gleans the scant supply,
The helpless peasant but retires to die;
No laws his hut from licensed outrage shield,
And war’s least horror is th’ ensanguined field.
Fruitful in vain, the matron counts with pride
The blooming youths that grace her honoured side;
No son returns to press her widowed hand,
Her fallen blossoms strew a foreign strand.
Fruitful in vain, she boasts her virgin race,
Whom cultured arts adorn and gentlest grace;
Defrauded of its homage, Beauty mourns,
And the rose withers on its virgin thorns.
Frequent, some stream obscure, some uncouth name,
By deeds of blood is lifted into fame;
Oft o’er the daily page some soft one bends
To learn the fate of husband, brothers, friends,
Or the spread map with anxious eye explores,
Its dotted boundaries and penciled shores,
Asks where the spot that wrecked her bliss is found,
And learns its name but to detest the sound.


From The Invitation

While others, consecrate to higher aims.
Whose hallowed bosoms glow with purer flames,
Love in their heart, persuasion in their tongue,
With words of peace shall charm the listening throng,
Draw the dread veil that wraps the’ eternal throne,
And launch our souls into the bright unknown.


From Ovid to His Wife

No steadfast faith is here, no sure repose;
An armed truce is all this nation knows:
The rage of battle works, when battles cease;
And wars are brooding in the lap of peace.


From The Epiphany

No more the fond complaint renew,
Of human guilt and mortal woe,
Of knowledge checked by doubt, and hope with fear:
What angels wished to see, ye view;
What angels wished to learn, ye know;
Peace is proclaimed to man, and heaven begun below.


Written on a Marble

The world’s something bigger,
But just of this figure
And speckled with mountains and seas ;
Your heroes are overgrown schoolboys
Who scuffle for empires and toys,
And kick the poor ball as they please.
Now Caesar, now Pompey, gives law;
And Pharsalia’s plain,
Though heaped with the slain,
Was only a game at taw.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: