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William Shakespeare: O war, thou son of hell

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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 Henry IV Part 2

O wondrous him!
O miracle of men! – him did you leave –
Second to none, unseconded by you –
To look upon the hideous god of war
In disadvantage…

O yet, for God’s sake, go not to these wars!

From Henry VI Part 2

Shame and confusion! All is on the rout,
Fear frames disorder, and disorder wounds
Where it should guard. O war, thou son of hell,
Whom angry heavens do make their minister,
Throw in the frozen bosoms of our part
Hot coals of vengeance!

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From Pericles

What would you have me do? go to the wars, would you? where a man may serve seven years for the loss of a leg, and have not money enough in the end to buy him a wooden one?

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