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Victor Hugo: Common-sense opposition to war

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

French writers on war and peace

Victor Hugo: Selections on war

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Victor Hugo
From William Shakespeare
Translator unknown

Common-sense is not a virtue; it is the eye of interest. It would have encouraged Themistocles and dissuaded Aristides. Leonidas has no common-sense; Regulus has no common-sense; but in the face of egotistical and ferocious monarchies dragging poor peoples into wars undertaken for themselves, decimating families, making mothers desolate, and driving men to kill each other with all those fine words, – military honour, warlike glory, obedience to discipline, etc., – it is an admirable personification, that common-sense coming all at once and crying to the human race, “Take care of your skin!”

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