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Thomas Hardy: Ever consign all Lords of War to sleep

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

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Hardy: Selections on war

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Thomas Hardy
I Met A Man

I met a man when night was nigh,
Who said, with shining face and eye
Like Moses’ after Sinai: –

“I have seen the Moulder of Monarchies,
Realms, peoples, plains and hills,
Sitting upon the sunlit seas! –
And, as He sat, soliloquies
Fell from Him like an antiphonic breeze
That pricks the waves to thrills.

“Meseemed that of the maimed and dead
Mown down upon the globe, –
Their plenteous blooms of promise shed
Ere fruiting-time – is words were said,
Sitting against the western web of red
Wrapt in His crimson robe.

“And I could catch them now and then:
-‘Why let these gambling clans
Of human Cockers, pit liege men
From mart and city, dale and glen,
In death-mains, but to swell and swell again
Their swollen All-Empery plans,

“‘When a mere nod (if my malign
Compeer but passive keep)
Would mend that old mistake of mine
I made with Saul, and ever consign
All Lords of War whose sanctuaries enshrine
Liberticide, to sleep?

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