Home > Uncategorized > Ernest Crosby: Peace has outgrown all that, for Peace is a man

Ernest Crosby: Peace has outgrown all that, for Peace is a man


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

American writers on peace and against war

Ernest Crosby: Selections against war, for peace

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Ernest Crosby
From War and Hell

XIII
What do they accomplish who take the sword? Now and then they cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest;
Quite as often they lose their own.
While they who say, “Put up thy sword into its place,” tho’ they die, yet succeed sometimes in changing the heart of the world.

XIV
What is true peace but conscious strength?
What is war but conscious weakness seeking to give proof of its strength?
Peace is a god, not a goddess, a man not a woman –
A brawny, bearded man of might, with nothing but the kindly look in his eyes to distinguish him from the vulgar giant.
He can afford to smile at War, the headstrong boy, rushing, red-faced, blundering, blustering, with impetuous arms, hither and thither.
Peace has outgrown all that, for Peace is a man.

XVI
I am a great inventor, did you but know it.
I have new weapons and explosives and devices to substitute for your obsolete tactics and tools. Mine are the battle-ships of righteousness and integrity –
The armor-plates of a quiet conscience and self-respect –
The impregnable conning-tower of divine manhood –
The Long Toms of persuasion –
The machine guns of influence and example –
The dum-dum bullets of pity and remorse –
The impervious cordon of sympathy –
The concentration camps of brotherhood –
The submarine craft of forgiveness –
The torpedo-boat-destroyer of love –
And behind them all the dynamite of truth!
I do not patent my inventions.
Take them. They are free to all the world.

XVII
I am a soldier too, and I have the battle of battles on my hands.
You little warriors who, while fighting each other,
are yet at heart agreed, and see the same false life with the same distorted eyes,
I have to make war upon all of you combined, and I set my courage against your courage.
It is fine not to flinch under fire.
It is also fine to tell an unwelcome truth to a mob and to call you the mad lot of murderers that you are.
It is war between us to the knife, and I will not tell you how well I love you until you are shamed into unconditional surrender.
Then I will show you my commission, and you will see that it is signed by a Commander-in-Chief who may wait long for victory, but never waits in vain.

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