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Nathan Haskell Dole: Here are War’s pomp and circumstance


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

American writers on peace and against war

Nathan Haskell Dole: Selections on peace


Nathan Haskell Dole
From Peace and Progress: Two Symphonic Poems

Harpy-faced Passions of War – Rapine, Destruction, and Slaughter,
Cruelty, Hatred, Despair – spread your wings and depart!
White-robed Angel of Peace – God’s Star-crowned merciful Daughter,
Come and dwell in the Earth; throne thyself in its Heart!

Clear the seas of the Cruisers! Let the Battleships perish!
Turn the Forts into Parks! Melt the great Guns into Bells!
Spirit of Love and of Joyance fulfil the Hopes that men cherish.
Bring them the Golden Age such as the prophet foretells!


The Festival of Peace

Why is the vast Cathedral crowded with jubilant throngs?
Why are the Streets hung with Banners, resounding with shouts and with songs?
Tidings have come that the War is ended, that Peace has been signed.
Hence the shouts of Joy and the Banners that wave in the Wind.


All War is at an end,
All cruel Passions cease.
The former Foe shall be a Friend,
The Earth shall smile with Peace.


The Sunlight flashes on the steel
Of polisht rifles that conceal
The baleful purpose of their beauty.
The silken Banners flaunt the air;
The shrill heart-stirring Trumpets blare.
On, in bright billows, on they pass!
Oh, the brave spectacle! But, alas!
When the dark web of War is spun
Mayhap from all that host not one
Unscathed will reach his home again.
The “Now” will scarce compensate then!
The memory of the great parade
Like midnight visions soon will fade.
How many will fill nameless graves!
How many roll ‘neath mocking waves!
Those Banners, now so proudly borne,
Will droop begrimed, blood-stained, and torn!
The glorious, soul-enthralling strain
Will end in dirges for the slain:
Here are War’s pomp and circumstance
That cheat the superficial glance.


The insolent monitors
With turrets impregnable,
The solid steel battleships,
The brine-cleaving cruisers
With their dread, bristling cannon,
Combine and concentrate: –
They silence the earthworks,
They dash by the fortresses;
And then on the City
The huge floating batteries
Pour death and destruction!

The works on which peaceable,
Industrious Artisans
Had lavisht their labors : –
The intricate carvings
Of wood and of marble,
The pride of the City –
The columns and arches,
The picturesque towers,
The statued memorials
Of Heroes departed,
Of Scholars and Poets,
The Schools and the Colleges,
The world-famed Museums
Where the Art of past ages
Is kept for men’s marvel,
All crumble to powder!

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