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Louise Imogen Guiney: The voice of Peace

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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

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Louise Imogen Guiney
From The Two Voices

A grateful spirit would fain bestow on the glorious voice an ardent welcome, and on the gentle voice a lingering caress. Both I loved, and unto both my soul hearkened; for they were the voices of angels, and one was Joy, and one was Peace.

Then, as in a vision, I beheld a fair prospect before me, and in the centre of its green beauty arose two hills, from whose separate summits the voices ruled perennially, showering blessings, healing sorrow, banishing care, cheering and solacing the earth. Now the weak needed not to rely on the strong; and pity and protection were scarcely asked or given; for music, “the most divine striker of the senses,” – music alone was the arbitress of the world. And all day, past twilight into the deep gloom, were the voices singing, not incapable of being wearied, but revivified forever by the smiles and tears of pilgrims who departed from the hill-top with hearts made whole.

I watched, time on time, soldiers marching to the wars, sustained by the glad voice, and hastening forwards with its spell upon them like a consecration; and again, the weary troops returning, with tattered colors and broken ranks, pausing in the lovely courts of the grave voice, to chant with it a song of memory and reparation and thanksgiving….

It may be that even in my day-dream I might have called my beloved singers by their earthly names; and that so I might this hour, were it not for a clinging scruple. For I have been made wiser, and know verily that both are angels, and that one is Joy, and one is Peace.

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