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William Shakespeare: Tame the savage spirit of wild war

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

British writers on peace and war

William Shakespeare: Selections on war and peace

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William Shakespeare
From King John

Now for the bare-pick’d bone of majesty
Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace:
Now powers from home and discontents at home
Meet in one line; and vast confusion waits,
As doth a raven on a sick-fall’n beast,
The imminent decay of wrested pomp.

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O, it grieves my soul,
That I must draw this metal from my side
To be a widow-maker!

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Therefore thy threat’ning colours now wind up,
And tame the savage spirit of wild war;
That, like a lion foster’d up at hand,
It may lie gently at the foot of peace,
And be no further harmful than in show.

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