Home > Uncategorized > Leslie Pinckney Hill: The patriotism of pacifism

Leslie Pinckney Hill: The patriotism of pacifism


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

American writers on peace and against war


Leslie Pinckney Hill
Ode to Patriotism

Fair goddess, though thy devotees
Are men of every land and tongue.
Thy heart they never yet could please;
And though thy majesty is sung
By statesman, warrior, and bard,
Still on thy brow a stern regard
Proves thy disdain, and, quickening their fears,
Brings them before thy fane in penitential tears.

As when a suitor, plighting all
His troth unto some high-souled maid
Makes protestations prodigal,
But finds her loftily afraid,
And still reluctant to aver
Like passion, till that love of her
Enters the temple of her purer mind
As homage less for one than for all womankind.

So, holier mistress, hast thou shown
Why still we fall on horrid days,
Why our best hopes are overthrown,
In spite of all our prayer and praise:
For thou wouldst have our love expand
Beyond mere race or bounded land;
And thou wouldst test our proffered troth to thee
By what we deeply crave for all humanity.

Build up again our broken faith,
Fair deity; unloose the gyves
Of hate; allay the gruesome wraith
Of murderous war; and lead our lives
Back to the peace that springs of love
For Man as Man, and mounts above
Land, caste, or creed! 0 teach our wrathful time
That Brotherhood is still Man’s destiny sublime.

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