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Edwin Arnold Brenholtz: The Passion of Peace


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

American writers on peace and against war

Edward Arnold Brenholtz: Selections on peace and war


Edwin Arnold Brenholtz
The Passion of Peace

The passion for Peace has preempted my soul.
How can words that work otherwise issue from me!

I recall how Revenge roved abroad in my life;
How the work of the world seemed to sanctify strife;
How the slaughter on battlefields seemed a necessity; –

How I loathed all the years that had yielded to Peace.
For I pictured this Peace as a weakling whose baseness bred cowards; whose miser-insanity stultified souls; whose willess supineness sent manhood to death –
For I fed on the lies War delivered with unction;
I believed;
But I ne’er had beheld in her passion this Power eternal.

I accepted as hers miscalled children of Cowardice.
I surprised Peace (and knew her) with passion unspeakable, passing them by.
I was stirred to my soul, and spake instantly, sternly: “Art thou then not the mother of these; of the vices that riot when War is withholden; of the crimes we accept as thy children, brought forth when the Nations are resting from slaughter, in the years when we yield to soft Pity’s enticements?”

Oh, the passion, impelling, that leaped to her eyes!
Oh, the loathing that looked where that progeny flourished!
Oh, the longing, the love unappeased that pervaded the answer:
“I am virgin; awaiting one day that denies War’s dominion; awaiting to welcome the soul that has never mistaken War’s children and Greed’s as the fruit of my body, my soul’s reproduction.
I am peace; I am virgin; – and waiting the day of espousal.”

Oh, the passion that spoke from the soul I encountered!
Oh, the long years of waiting, to make myself worthy!
For the passion for Peace has preempted my soul!

“Still lives for Earth, which friends so long have trod,
The great hope resting on the truth of God, –
Evil shall cease and Violence pass away,
And the tired world breathe free through a long Sabbath day.”


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