Home > Uncategorized > Romain Rolland: The equivocating sages of Armed Peace

Romain Rolland: The equivocating sages of Armed Peace


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

Nobel prize in literature recipients on peace and war

French writers on war and peace

Romain Rolland: Selections on war


Romain Rolland
From Liluli
Translator unknown

Noise of a heavy brigade marching with a ponderous beat; breathless bugles. At the head of the procession – all of them loaded with knapsacks and arms – is a stout man, tightly strapped into his uniform; plumed helmet of an Offenbach soldier, enormous knapsack, saber and rifle – sweating, puffing, mopping his face.

What harness to wear when one has to climb a steep hill without shade in the middle of the day! You’re mad, my friends! Throw away your shells…Are they convicts condemned to hard labor? Who is that fat black beetle, pot-bellied and whiskered, who, like Agamemnon, marches, rolls along at their head?

The fat man stumbles.

It’s Peace advancing – advancing backwards.


O, well, of course – Armed Peace.



Why do you move? You have a sound pair of legs at any rate. March a little, let me see. Swing your arms, lift your legs…What a fine soldier!

Yes, I should be good at running away.

That’s something. In these days, my friend, one can only run from under one fire into another. So I undertake you will always be a hero. Don’t worry.

I don’t worry at all. A hero on a bier…I prefer beer in my gullet.

But you’ll get it, in addition to everything else. Cool beer, good cheer, glory, obituary…”0 glorious dead, I envy you!”…by one of the great gentlemen of our Academies, whose greatness keeps him, poor man! on the hither shore…


ONE OF THE RECRUITING SERGEANTS at the foot of the tree, nose in air.

Come, sir, come. They’re only waiting for you. Everybody has enlisted. Come now, we’re shutting up shop. Look at these uniforms! This helmet would suit you nicely. It’s a bargain. Would you like some gold lace?

That isn’t done. Kindly understand, sir, that a single man, if he isn’t a soldier, has no right to defend himself. It’s criminal.


Never! Laughter is a weapon against Illusion.

You’re mistaken, my good friend. You work for me. You think yourself clever because you “don’t believe in it.” “You don’t believe in it,” you laugh; but you do as the rest do. Laugh away, my boy, laugh! Your laughter helps the men I enlist to march.

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