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Edwin Arnold Brenholtz: The Demon, War


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

American writers on peace and against war

Edwin Arnold Brenholtz: The Dying Warrior

Edwin Arnold Brenholtz: The Passion of Peace


Edwin Arnold Brenholtz
The Demon, War

The demon, War, has doomed the race,
Has damned the race,
Enslaved the race!
Through ages past his hated face
Wore no disguise;
Before the eyes
He seized his prize,
And men applauding praised,
And altars to him raised.

The demon, War, has cursed the race,
Has culled the race,
Has conned the race!
At times he hides his hated face:
In business guise,
Before men’s eyes,
Seizes his prize,
And men applauding praise –

New altars to him raise.
Behind the peaceful mask he wears
There is the demon and his snares.
He conned the race, saw tender hearts;
He culled the race by hunger’s darts;
He cursed the race for frantic fools
That would not openly be tools,
But would betray into his hands
All people, property and lands
If much-loved mask were worn –
Look! it is from him torn.

He hates the mask, for War is bold:
His method force, not bought and sold.
Enslaved the race to Business stands,
And doomed, delivered to War’s hands –
And forced to do his loathsome deeds
In face of Peace who pleads and pleads;
Who pleads with us, “Be more than wise:
Shall this disguise hide him from eyes?
Scarce dare he show his face this day
Lest men refuse to brothers slay
On battle’s bloodstained field –
Look! he is here revealed.”

Stand forth, O War, not now concealed;
Stand forth, thy hideous front revealed!
We fear thee, dread thee, but will dare
Thy utmost power in combat fair.
In peace and love all men should be;
If fight must we, it shall be thee.
Thou art a cruel coward caught
Disguised behind gilt trappings wrought
By Business for thy proper use.
The sight of thee calls forth abuse;
For, loving Peace, we would not fight;
But thou on earth art mortal blight,
And war must die or we –
This combat sets us free.

O War, whatever thy disguise,
We hate thee, loathe thee, and despise.
We pity people praised by thee
As those who never will be free.
Enslaver, thou thyself art tool
And scarecrow used to daunt that fool
That dares not claim his rights for fear
Thy horrid head should then appear.
Thou braggart strutter saying, “I
Have caused mankind to rise so high.”
That lie immense should Satan choke
As larger than he ever spoke,
And we this day deny thy claim
And all man’s baseness on thee blame.
O War, that woe and want attend,
Thou hast not one unpurchased friend!
Peace on thy grave shall stand,
Triumphant in a loving land.

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