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

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


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

British writers on peace and war

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: Peace and Shepherd

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


Anna Laetitia Barbauld

From The Caterpillar

A single wretch, escaped the general doom,
Making me feel and clearly recognise
Thine individual existence, life,
And fellowship of sense with all that breathes,
Present’st thyself before me, I relent,
And cannot hurt thy weakness. So the storm
Of horrid war, overwhelming cities, fields,
And peaceful villages, rolls dreadful on:
The victor shouts triumphant; he enjoys
The roar of cannon and the clang of arms,
And urges, by no soft relentings stopped,
The work of death and carnage. Yet should one,
A single sufferer from the field escaped,
Panting and pale, and bleeding at his feet,
Lift his imploring eyes, the hero weeps;
He is grown human, and capricious Pity,
Which would not stir for thousands, melts for one
With sympathy spontaneous: T’is not Virtue,
Yet ’tis the weakness of a virtuous mind.


To Mrs. Marissal

Whither whither, wearied dove,
Wilt thou fly to seek thy rest?
Beat with many a heavy storm,
Where repose thy tender breast?

Hither, hither, gentle dove,
Bend thy flight and build thy home
Here repose thy tender breast,
Fix thy foot, and never roam.

Welcome, welcome, soft-eyed dove,
To the sheltering low-roofed cot,
Leave the splendid city’s throng,
Meekly kiss thy quiet lot.

Low-roofed cots and whispering groves
Suit thy pensive sweetness best;
Health shall bloom, and Peace shall smile
Round thy small but downy nest.

Try thy thrilling notes once more,
Plume again thy ruffled wing;
With thy sister turtles coo,
Drink at Pleasure’s native spring.

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