Home > Uncategorized > James Montgomery: ‘Twas but a dream. But one word found utterance – “Peace, peace! peace!”

James Montgomery: ‘Twas but a dream. But one word found utterance – “Peace, peace! peace!”

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

British writers on peace and war

James Montgomery: Selections on war and peace

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James Montgomery
From Lord Falkland’s Dream

Oft from his lips a shrill, sad moan would start,
And cold misgivings creep around his heart,
When he beheld the plague of war increase,
And but one word found utterance – “Peace, peace! peace!”

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“Henceforth let civil war for ever cease;
Henceforth, my sons and daughters, dwell in peace;
Amidst the ocean-waves that never rest.
My lovely Isle, be thou the halcyon’s nest;
Amidst the nations, evermore in arms,
Be thou a haven, safe from all alarms;
Alone immovable ‘midst ruins stand,
Th’ unfailing hope of every failing land:

To thee for refuge kings enthroned repair;
Slaves flock to breathe the freedom of thine air.
Hither, from chains and yokes, let exiles bend
Their footsteps; here the friendless find a friend;
The country of mankind shall Britain be,
The home of peace, the whole world’s sanctuary.”

The pageant fled; ’twas but a dream: he, woke,
And found himself beneath the Druid-oak,
Where first the phantom on his vigil broke.
Around him gleam’d the morn’s reviving light;
But distant trumpets summon’d to the fight,
And Falkland slept among the slain at night.

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