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William Stokes: Invocation to the Spirit of Peace


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

British writers on peace and war

William Stokes: Selections on peace and war


William Stokes
Invocation to the Spirit of Peace

Come over the mountain, come over the sea,
Thou First-born of heaven, thou Pride of the free!
Come fresh on the morning, with wings of the dove,
And strew in thy passage the blessings of love.

Appear in thy radiance, thou Angel of lights
And chase from creation the gloom of the night ;
Disperse the thick shadows that over us spread,
And be to all nations as life from the dead.

Drive back to their caverns the dark hosts of death,
And scatter the forces of war with thy breath ;
Proclaim to the world a new era begun.
And let it be lasting as light from the sun.

In broad open day shew the scroll of the dead,
And let it by heroes and monarchs be read;
And give them to blush for the guilt of the hour.
That made war and bloodshed the “balance of power.”

Array to their vision the souls of the slain,
With heart-broken widows and orphans in train:
Tear off the disguise from their “glory” and pride,
And ask what they shew for the men who have died?

Before them display, in its ruin and fire,
Some Kertch or Canton, with the woe of the sire;
Then, pointing to wealth spent in battle and flame,
Demand what they give in return – but a name.

Proclaim that the Judge of the quick and the dead
Will “make inquisition for blood” they have shed;
Yet turn far away heavy judgments in store.
If, mourning their folly, they “learn war no more.”

Thus come, gentle Peace, fix thy reign upon earth.
And bring the glad day of the world’s second birth:
“The bow in the cloud,” when dark thunder-storms cease.
Be thou to creation, sweet Spirit of Peace.

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