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Robert Blair: Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?

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

British writers on peace and war

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Robert Blair
From The Grave

Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war,
The Roman Caesars and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brain’d youth,
Who the tiara at his pleasure tore
From kings of all the then discovered globe;
And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hamper’d,
And had not room enough to do its work.

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Here all the mighty troublers of the earth,
Who swam to sov’reign rule through seas of blood;
Th’ oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
Who ravag’d kingdoms, and laid empires waste,
And in a cruel wantonness of pow’r
Thinn’d states of half their people, and gave up
To want the rest; now, like a storm that’s spent,
Lie hush’d, and meanly sneak behind the covert.
Vain thought! to hide them from the general scorn,
That haunts and dogs them like an injured ghost
Implacable!

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Sicknesses,
Of every size and symptom, racking pains,
And bluest plagues, are thine! See how the fiend
Profusely scatters the contagion round!
Whilst deep-mouth’d Slaughter, bellowing at her heels,
Wades deep in blood new-spilt; yet for to-morrow
Shapes out new work of great uncommon daring,
And inly pines till the dread blow is struck.

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