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John Milton: No war or battle’s sound was heard the world around

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

British writers on peace and war

Milton: Men levy cruel wars, wasting the earth, each other to destroy

John Milton: What can war but endless war still breed?

Milton: Without ambition, war, or violence

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John Milton
From On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity

[T]he meek-ey’d Peace:
She, crown’d with olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphere,
His ready harbinger,
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing;
And waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.

No war or battle’s sound
Was heard the world around;
The idle spear and shield were high uphung;
The hooked chariot stood
Unstain’d with hostile blood;
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;
And kings sate still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

But peaceful was the night
Wherein the Prince of Light
His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,
Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

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