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George Saintsbury: The odious profession

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

British writers on peace and war

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George Saintsbury
From A Short History of French Literature

The procureurs (advocates) of arms and of ladies endeavour to show each that his client – war or love – deserves the chief attention of a prince. Here, as elsewhere with Coquillart, though of course more covertly, satire dominates. But the best of the pieces attributed to Coquillart are his monologues. There are three of these, the Monologue Coquillart, the Monologue du Puys, and the Monologue du Gendarme Cassé. This last is a ferocious satire on its subject, coarse in language, like most of the author’s poems, but full of rude vigour. The professional soldier as distinguished from the feudal militia or the train-bands of the towns was odious to the later middle ages.

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