Home > Uncategorized > Thomas Holcroft: In wars and wretchedness I cannot say that I delight

Thomas Holcroft: In wars and wretchedness I cannot say that I delight

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

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Holcroft: Reaping vast crops of famine, sword, and fire

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Thomas Holcroft
From The Soldier’s Tale

‘Here men have writh’d in agonizing pain!
‘Here bodies, limbs, and heads, have strew’d the ground;
‘While thousands gnash’d the teeth, and call’d in vain
‘On death t’ inflict a last relieving wound.

‘Rivers have I forded, cities have sacked,
‘Batter’d their ramparts, climbed their counterscarps:
‘To find his treasure have the ruler rack’d;
‘Matrons have ravish’d on the husband corpse:

‘Kingdoms have plunder’d, lands laid desolate:
‘The Sultan bad me march, his foes invade;
‘With famine, fire, and sword exterminate!
‘His dread commands proudly have I obey’d!

‘Many and dreadful battles have I fought;
‘Defenseless towns and provinces have plunder’d…

‘Giaffar, thy turn is come, I wait to hear
‘Tale of a softer kind, and less affright;
‘In wars and wretchedness, to be sincere,
‘I cannot say, my sons, that I delight.’

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