Home > Uncategorized > Walter Scott: The diffusion of knowledge, not the effusion of blood

Walter Scott: The diffusion of knowledge, not the effusion of blood


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

British writers on peace and war

Walter Scott: Fighting

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

Walter Scott: The worst sort of frenzy, military frenzy, hath possessed man, woman and child


Walter Scott
From The Antiquary

“Each printer in those days, as I have already informed you, had his device, his impresa, as I may call it, in the same manner as the doughty chivalry of the age, who frequented tilt and tournament. My ancestor boasted as much in his, as if he had displayed it over a conquered field of battle, though it betokened the diffusion of knowledge, not the effusion of blood.”


“The eras by which the vulgar compute time have always reference to some period of fear and tribulation, and they date by a tempest, an earthquake, or burst of civil commotion. When such are the facts most alive in the memory of the common people, we cannot wonder,” he concluded, “that the ferocious warrior is remembered, and the peaceful abbots are abandoned to forgetfulness and oblivion.”


“What was your trade in your youth?” continued the Earl.

“A soldier, my lord; and mony a sair day’s kemping I’ve seen. I was to have been made a sergeant, but” –

“A soldier! then you have slain and burnt, and sacked and spoiled?”

“I winna say,” replied Edie, “that I have been better than my neighbours; – it’s a rough trade – war’s sweet to them that never tried it.”

“And you are now old and miserable, asking from precarious charity the food which in your youth you tore from the hand of the poor peasant?”

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