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Walter Scott: Fighting

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

British writers on peace and war

Walter Scott: War’s cannibal priest, druid red from his human sacrifice

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Walter Scott
From Waverley

‘For mere fighting,’ answered Flora,’ I believe all men (that is, who deserve the name) are pretty much alike; there is generally more courage required to run away. They have besides, when confronted with each other, a certain instinct for strife, as we see in other male animals, such as dogs, bulls, and so forth….’

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“And on a more general view, Colonel, to confess the truth, though it may lower me in your opinion, I am heartly tired of the trade of war, and am, as Fletcher’s Humorous Lieutenant says, “even as weary of this fighting – ‘”

‘Fighting! pooh, what have you seen but a skirmish or two? Ah! if you saw war on the grand scale – sixty or a hundred thousand men in the field on each side!’

‘I am not at all curious, Colonel. “Enough,” says our homely proverb, “is as good as a feast.” The plumed troops and the big war used to enchant me in poetry, but the night marches, vigils, couches under the wintry sky, and such accompaniments of the glorious trade, are not at all to my taste in practice….’

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