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Nathan Haskell Dole: The Reign of Peace


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
The Reign of Peace

In the ruthful Reign of Peace
When War’s red flag is furled.
When all Armies find release
Around the waking World,
When the battle-scars are healed.
War’s wicked waste redeemed,
Nobler powers shall be revealed
Than ever Prophet dreamed.

Fabled tales of Paradise,
The Poet’s Age of Gold,
Which in Fancy took their rise.
Shall be surpast tenfold.
Gold that winged Destruction’s blasts,
That idle armies fed.
That provided Death’s repasts
Of men untimely dead,
Turned to use beneficent
Will change the face of Earth,
Bring about, when wisely spent,
The end of Plague and Dearth;
Lay smooth roads across the land.
For traffic and for pride,
Where broad Rivers shall be spanned
With Bridges strong and wide;
Found Museums where shall glow
The richest stores of Art –
Schools where happy youth shall grow
In grace of Mind and Heart,
Colleges where Wisdom’s Fount
Shall flow serene and pure –
Libraries where fast shall mount
The books that will endure,
Noble Theatres where plays
Worthy of worthiest stage
Show how the Thespian art can raise
The standards of an age,
Where a school of Song shall claim
Great Operas that shall lift
Their composers into fame,
By reason of their gift.

Sun-scorched, arid Wastes shall smile.
With flowers and fruits and grain;
Water led by many a wile
Thro’ leagues of sandy plain
Shall awake the wilderness
To Beauty and to Gain,
Hosts of men to cheer and bless
Who once had toiled in vain.

Cities shall be beautified
With all that Art and Wealth
From the broad World can provide
For comfort, pleasure, health:
Parks where every tree and flower
Shall yield the eye delight.
Fountains where the crystal shower
Shall cool the Summer night;
Groves where joyous birds shall sing
And raptured lovers rove;
Halls where Eloquence shall bring
Her power to thrill and move;
Statues cast from richest bronze,
From purest marble hewed;
Splendid arches whose carved stones
With voices are endued,
Telling of the glorious lives
Heroic yeomen led
Thro’ whom Liberty survives.
And Happiness is spread.

Music shall sound everywhere,
Like founts of generous Wine,
Lightening human grief and care
With harmonies divine.
Poverty will be a name,
For Work shall hold for all;
Sweet Philanthropy shall flame
Where’er mischance befall;
Bitter rivalries of Trade,
Shall yield to saner ways;
Strikes shall cease with Justice made
The measurer of men’s days,
Arbitration sit on high
To settle feud and broil;
Wise Co-operation’s tie
Shall bind the sons of toil.

Education’s flower shall bloom.
In Childhood’s freshest time;
Children shall not meet their doom
By drifting into crime.
When the hand of Sympathy
Can lead them safe along
In the path of probity
And leave them wise and strong.

Prisons shall be tactful schools
Where weaker men may learn
Life’s inexorable rules –
The power and will to earn!
Wealth – the unearned increment –
Shall be a public trust.
Ne’er for selfish pleasure spent
Or kept for Lucre’s lust.

When the Golden Rule shall gain
The Sanction of mankind,
When the Son of God shall reign
O’er Heart and Soul and Mind,
Saints will not have prayed in vain
Nor Martyrs life resigned.

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