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Joanna Baillie: And shall we think of war? 


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

British writers on peace and war

Joanna Baillie: Do children return from rude jarring war?

Joanna Baillie: Thy native land, freed from the ills of war, a land of peace!


Joanna Baillie
From Ethwald: A Tragedy

I know, tho’ peace dilates the heart of man,
And makes his stores increase; his countenance smile,
He is by nature form’d, like savage beasts,
To take delight in war.
‘Tis a strong passion in his bosom lodged.
For ends most wise, curb’d and restrain’d to be…

We should desire our people’s good, and peace
Makes them to flourish. We confess all this…

We, therefore, stand with graceful boldness forth.
The advocates of those who wish for peace.
Worn with our rude and long continued wars,
Our native land wears now the altered face
Of an uncultur’d wild. To her fair fields
With weeds and thriftless docks now shagged o’er.
The aged grandsire, bent and past his toil,
Who in the sunny nook had plac’d his seat
And thought to toil no more, leads joyless forth
His widow’d daughters and their orphan train,
The master of a silent, cheerless band.
The half-grown stripling, urged before his time
To manhood’s labour, steps, with feeble limbs
And sallow cheek, around his unroof’d cot.
The mother on her last remaining son
With fearful bodings looks. The cheerful sound
Of whistling ploughmen, and the reaper’s song,
And the flail’s lusty stroke is heard no more.
The youth and manhood of our land are laid
In the cold earth, and shall we think of war?

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