Home > Uncategorized > Jessie Wiseman Gibbs: Speak peace, that thou and all the lands may live, ere thou and they all perish by the sword!

Jessie Wiseman Gibbs: Speak peace, that thou and all the lands may live, ere thou and they all perish by the sword!

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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

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Jessie Wiseman Gibbs
From Peace Sonnets

I
O my dear Country, thou canst never dare
Deny the Court of Peace! Thou, who art hope
Of the world’s weary nations; ‘neath the slope
Of whose spread wings they seek a sheltering care
Like to the care of God! Thou, who must share
Christ’s saving travail for their sons, who grope
Through toil to thee; must in thy members cope
With all their war, in strength of naught but prayer!

Nay, but thou must be first to own that Court
And set it as a crown upon the brow
Of Christ, the King of Nations; first must thou
Confess his heavenly rule thy last resort,
Even as it is: so shall He judge thy cause
And stablish it in his unfailing laws!

II
Why trust we yet in enginery of war,
O Country of my heart, who have a King
Who has no need of any such a thing?
Who makes us free within, and doth abhor
Aught save the gift of life and freedom, nor
Is willing one should perish? Think we the sting
Of death to ‘scape, with vain imagining
To deal therein , and still his life implore?

Lo, the hour has struck for peace , and we have heard
Christ in our heart speak “Peace!” It is thy hour,
My Country! O shrink not its regnant power,
But stand forth in the strength that Christ doth give
Speak peace, that thou and all the lands may live,
Ere thou and they all perish by the sword!

III
So shalt thou own thy Savior, King, and find
His power; so shall the nations own how great
Thy youth and virtue, that could slough the weight
That crushed the world, and dare be free and kind;
So shall the peace of his untrammelled mind
Rule thine own inward strifes of social hate;
So shalt thou plant that universal state
Wherein his love shall be at last enshrined.

So shalt thou bring again the angels’ song;
So shall the star be seen again in Heaven;
So shall the nations look to it and long
For the salvation to God’s people given;
So shall the Savior promised to all earth,
Through thy pure travail have his modern birth!

IV
Thou shalt not find Him till thou be so great
To give Him to the world: his truth, his peace,
Are known in sharing; evermore increase
From man to man, from loyal state to state;
For they may not be bound, but still must wait
Fulfillment till the last despite shall cease
And all men freely share them. Yet if these
Things seem a mystery, know, before too late:

If states of thine may not lift up the hand
Against thee; if thy striker may not reach
To strike with steel; if tribes that in thee stand
May war no more, but dwell as friend with friend;
Then thou must practice this that thou dost teach
And say among the nations, “War must end!”

V
Lo, now, how Christ doth overcome the world!
Yet we, who bear his name, are feard of it;
Yea, tremble, and conform ourselves to fit
Its will, who should be transformed and unfurled
In power to do his righteousness, who hurled
The planets in their orbits, and who lit
The spark of life within us, infinite,
To blaze when systems are in ashes curled!

But if we dared be free in Him, and say
Among the nations, “He is King indeed,
“And by his truth alone will we be freed!”
There’s not a kindred the blue ocean laves
Would dare to stand before us, more than they
Who went to capture Him with swords and staves!

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