Home > Uncategorized > F. Marion Crawford: Find a priest for those I have killed

F. Marion Crawford: Find a priest for those I have killed


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

American writers on peace and against war

F. Marion Crawford: The real issue is between civilization and barbarism, between peace and war

F. Marion Crawford: When everyone understands war it will stop by universal consent

F. Marion Crawford: The world dreads the very name of war, lest it should become universal once it breaks out


F. Marion Crawford
From Via Crucis
A Romance of the Second Crusade

In a moment the peace of nature was rent by the scream of war….

Yet when he was alone in the evening, a sadness and a horror of what he had done came over him; for he had taken life that day as a man mows down grass, in swaths, and he could not tell why he had slain, for he knew not the men who fought on the two sides, nor their difference. He had charged because he saw men charging, he had struck for the love of strife, and had killed because it was of his nature to kill. But now that the blood was shed, and the sun which had risen on life was going down on death, Gilbert Warde was sorry for what he had done, and his brave charge seemed but a senseless deed of slaughter, for which he should rather have done penance than received knighthood.

“I am no better than a wild beast,” he said, when he had told Dunstan what he felt. “Go and find out a priest to pray for those I have killed to-day.”

He covered his brow with his hand as he sat at the supper table.

“I go,” answered the young man. “Yet it is a pleasant sight to see the lion weeping for pity over the calf he has killed.”

“The lion kills that he may eat and himself live,” answered Gilbert. “And the men who fought to-day fought for a cause. But I smote for the wanton love of smiting that is in all our blood, and I am ashamed. Bid the priest pray for me also.”


He could understand well enough that the monastery might hold the only life for men who had fought through many failures, from light to darkness, from happiness to sorrow – men who loved nothing, hoped nothing, hated nothing any longer, in the great democracy of despair. They sought peace as the only earthly good they might enjoy, and there was peace in the cloister. Hope being dead in life, they tasted refreshment in the hope of a life to come. The convent was good enough for the bankrupt of love and war.

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