Archive

Author Archive

Anna Seward: Fierce War has wing’d the arrow that wounds my soul’s repose

November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Women writers on peace and war

====

Anna Seward
Song

The stormy ocean roving,
My William seeks the foe;
Ah me! the pain of loving,
To war when lovers go!

O! why my locks so yellow,
Should rosy garlands bind,
When trembles yonder willow,
As blows the sullen wind?

Ye nymphs, who feel no anguish,
My garlands gay ye wove,
But I in absence languish,
And fear for him I love.

Nor yet the sprays of willow
Shall wave my temples o’er,
But weeds, that ocean’s billow
Leaves dark upon the shore.

Pale willows suit the sorrow
The fair forsaken knows;
Fierce War has wing’d the arrow
That wounds my soul’s repose.

Sad on the beach I linger,
And watch the altering sea;
But no cold doubts shall injure,
My love is true to me!

Yet, till rest crown my pillow,
Till peace my love restore,
Be mine the weeds yon billow
Leaves dark upon the shore!

***

Address to Hope

Thou sun of the spirit, dispersing each cloud,
When the sad sense of danger my bosom would shroud,
Not Spring, as she chases the Winters loud storm,
Ever blest the chill earth with a lustre so warm.
O! how had I borne the dire thoughts of the fray,
When War’s cruel voice called my lover away,
Had’st not thou, gentle Hope, veil’d the battles’ increase,
And bent thy soft beams on the harbour of Peace!

To cheer and irradiate a bosom like mine,
Can the splendour of Glory be potent as thine?
It plays on the crest of the hero, but shews
Red traces of danger thro’ legions of foes;
It gilds e’en destruction, I know, to the brave,
But to love, what can brighten the gloom of the grave?
Then do thou draw a veil o’er the battle’s fierce gleams,
And on Safety’s dear harbour O! bend thy soft beams!

And now, gentle Hope, art thou faithful as kind,
Not false were thy fires while they shone on my mind;
My hero returns ! – the dread danger is o’er,
And, crown’d with new laurels, he speeds to the shore;
Yet to light the dim Future, sweet Hope, do not
Thro’ life let thy torch be the guard of my peace;
That still it may gild the warm day-spring of youth,
As it shone on his safety, now shine on his truth.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized

Richard Furness: Death and demons laugh’d in horrid joy

November 21, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Richard Furness: The plough and the sword

Richard Furness: War and Love

====

Richard Furness
From The Rag-Bag

While thunder brazen-mouth’d roll’d, roaring past;
Whole roods of men fell in the iron blast;
Horse in full charge rush’d onward as a flood
O’er arms, and mangled limbs, and spouting blood,
Follow’d by phalanx’d foot, in breathless haste,
O’er cities burnt and provinces laid waste…

A mother’s groans I heard, – in death she press’d
Her orphan children to her bloody breast;
But shrieks of youth, and moans of helpless age
Are disregarded in the battle’s rage.
I heard the drum with thundering strokes rebound.
Contending hosts obey’d the welcome sound,
And while the trumpet pour’d its pealing throat,
The fire-eyed charger mark’d the brazen note,
As shouts of victory rent the troubled sky,
And death and demons laugh’d in horrid joy.
Then millions wept, while joyful bells were rung,
And murder’s requiem was – “Te Deum” sung.

****

From The Astrologer

His politics extended three long miles,
Far as his mine or up the midland stiles;
With him were Whig and Tory titles vain,
Two factious packs, who hunt for public gain,
Kennel in Stephen’s, while a nation mourns –
Bark – bite the people, and themselves by turns;
Turn rabid oft, foam, wander, wild, afar,
And worry half the world in hateful war…

Rise, righteous Justice! poise thy golden scale.
And war that blasting aim of kings shall fail;
Then shall blest peace, with life and mercy crown’d,
Pour balm into the bleeding world’s wide wound…

Categories: Uncategorized

Leonard Merrick: Strange there weren’t more that didn’t think it a virtue to commit murder if you put on khaki

November 20, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Leonard Merrick
From In the Year of Our Lord 1918

Bit I read in a London paper over there said the “pre-war time, now it had passed away, seemed like an evil dream.” It didn’t seem like that to me. The “bad old days of peace,” the paper called it. Said all us boys would “find it painful to go back to business, after the great romance and glory of war.” I don’t think. I know one of them that would have given something to be back, calling “Sign,” in the bad old days of peace, while he was sticking that great romance. Made me feel funny all over to see London again at last, and look at the “civilian population that was bearing their trials with such heroic fortitude.”

***

It’s “Hope the war lasts for ever,” isn’t it? Mother couldn’t bear to go out, because of what the neighbours are saying. People with sons of their own, too. It makes me wonder who I’ve been doing it for. There’s mother – and there used to be you. Makes me wonder about lots of things, religion and that. At church, on Sunday, the collection was for teaching our Christianity to the heathen, the peaceful heathen that aren’t busy bombing one another. And nobody laughed.

Don’t make any mistake. I’m not saying England hadn’t got to fight. England had got to fight, right enough, because it ain’t a civilised world. But the parsons, and the priests, and the rabbis, and the papers could have said how horrible it was, our not having learnt any way to settle things, ever since we took to wearing clothes, except new ways of slaughtering one another. They hadn’t got to pretend war was something fine, and splendid, and improving. They hadn’t got to pretend war had changed every woman in England to a holy angel, and Englishmen were “finding their souls” by driving bayonets through other men’s bellies. England couldn’t help going to war, but England could have helped praising war. We were told, at the start, as how Armageddon had been led up to by those German writers that had “preached the devilish doctrine” that war did good. They must have had a rare job, if they preached it more than our own newspapers were preaching it before a month was up. Those of them that I saw, anyhow. If the war has been such an “ennobling influence,” if it has “purified” us all half, or a quarter as much as they keep on saying, the Kaiser must be the best benefactor England ever had. Then why don’t they put up a monument to him in Trafalgar Square?

And what did they want to put the “Great War” for on the shrines I see? I should have thought they might have found a better word for it than “great.” Ain’t “great” bringing up the kids to hold with the lie that war is an ennobling influence, like the savages do? If I had my way, I’d put the “Crudest War,” or the “Worst War” on all the shrines.

Remember how I used to hate Gus Hooper for his conscientious objector lay? Well, I’m not keen on him now – Hooper may have been a swine – but I’ve come to see that, if war is ever done away with, it will be just because the real conscientious objectors are top dog. I expect by then they won’t be called conscientious objectors, and it will sound strange to read how, in our time, there weren’t more than a few men or women that didn’t think it a virtue to commit murder if you put on khaki. Even ladies you can’t say too much for – I mean, real ladies, not our disgraceful sort, them that have been heroines, a lot of them, and worked themselves to shadows – I’ve heard more than one of them put in a good word for war, with “They say war brings out men’s best qualities.” You could hear that, under their pity for us, they approved of war. It did come on me as a shock. I used to think we were all so up-to-date, all the finished article, if you know what I mean. I don’t think anybody will look the same to me again, quite, no matter how smart they are dressed. When you look at people in the streets now, you can often fancy them as Ancient Britons, coming along naked. There’s nothing that looks quite the same. Not sunshine in the parks. You cheer up wonderful, for a minute, and then you feel as if the sunshine was camouflage, too. War won’t ever be done away with because kaisers and governments leave off wishing they could grab something that somebody else has grabbed first – it isn’t in human nature – but only because they can’t get men willing to kill, and be mangled for it. “Civilised warfare?” Might as well talk about Peaceful massacre. Why, if this bloody world of ours was civilised, there’d have been no need for England to go to war, or Belgium to go to war, or anybody else to go to war. No need for Fritz to go to war. We shouldn’t have had the Worst War at all. Bill, and his war gang would have been seized by the Germans themselves, and clapped into gaol, or a lunatic asylum, according to what the doctors said about them.

Categories: Uncategorized

Eliza Cook: Selections on peace and war

November 19, 2017 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

F. Benjamin Gage: The Sword and the Plough

November 18, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

F. Benjamin Gage
The Sword and the Plough

Far back in time’s departed years,
Ere earth was drenched in blood and tears,
Two brothers from the father’s hearth,
Went forth to toil upon the earth;
Each with stout heart and hardy frame,
And each in search of wealth and fame:
One was the Sword with haughty brow,
The other was the humble Plough.
The Sword, the fairest of the twain,
Was reckless, cruel, dark and vain;
A daring and ambitious youth,
The foe of virtue, peace and truth.
Forth from his father’s hearth he sprang,
While far and wide his praises rang;
Yet mercy shuddered as he came,
And fled, affrighted, at his name!
Men shrank in terror from his wrath,
While cities blazed along his path!
Kingdoms into the dust he hurled,
And bound in chains a wondering world.
In every land, in every clime,
He wreathed his brow with blood and crime,
Yet still the blood-devouring Sword
Was praised, exulted and adored.
As bold, the humble Plough went forth,
But not to desolate the earth –
To counteract God’s wondrous plan,
And swell the endless woes of man;
But with the heart and hand of toil
To break the deep and fruitful soil –
To scatter wealth on every hand
And beautify and bless the land!
He made the nations thrive in peace,
And swelled their stores with rich increase;
Bound the torn heart of want and woe,
And made the land with plenty flow;
And scattered, wheresoe’er he trod,
The golden harvest-gifts of God!
Yet even then, and until now
Men have despised the humble Plough!
Thus bow the nations to adore
The wretch who stains their hearths with gore,
And thus despise the humble mind
That toils to bless the human kind;
Yet it shall not be so for “aye,”
For lo! there comes a brighter day,
When, through the darkness of the past,
The sun of Truth shall gleam at last.
Then shall the carnage-loving Sword,
So long exalted and adored,
Sink in forgetfulness and shame
Till men shall cease to know his name;
Then shall the Plough, despised so long,
Be theme for universal song:
The first of all in Honor’s van,
The noblest of the friends of man!

Categories: Uncategorized

Edith Matilda Thomas: The Altar of Moloch

November 17, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

Women writers on peace and war

====

Edith Matilda Thomas
The Altar of Moloch
(Balkan War)

The latest Year of our Lord hath Moloch an altar ordained,
And fed it with flesh of men and the wine of their lives hath drained!
And we sit afar and secure, and the Beauty of Peace we praise –
I am sick at my heart at the tale of the world in these blood-crimsoned days!

For the eyes of my soul see the altar that smokes to the South and the East,
Its victims the tiller of the field, the maiden, the child, and the priest;
And a savage (called Christian!), a flamen that runs with the torch and the sword,
Scoureth from village to village, serving his altar abhorred!

He hath taken his tithe of Nigrita, and Seres has rendered grim toll;
He hath plucked out the eye that was glazing, and mocked at the fluttering soul;
The cotter he sacked in his dwelling, and mangled the dead on the plain,
And sped with a ribald song the victim dishonored and slain.

Ah, ah! what burnt off’ring was there – the helpless, the aged, the weak!
Their flesh is now fallen in ashes, their spirits indignant yet speak.
Hear them, thou bright one, thou fair one, thou Greece, rearisen and strong,
And raze to the ground that altar abhorred, and avenge their great wrong!

Categories: Uncategorized

Thomas Hardy: Vaster battalions press for further strands to argue in the self-same bloody mode

November 16, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Thomas Hardy: All-Earth-gladdening Law of Peace, war’s apology wholly stultified

Thomas Hardy: As war-waste classed

Thomas Hardy: Channel Firing

Thomas Hardy: The Man He Killed

====

Thomas Hardy
Embarkation
(Southampton Docks: October, 1899)

Here, where Vespasian’s legions struck the sands,
And Cerdic with his Saxons entered in,
And Henry’s army leapt afloat to win
Convincing triumphs over neighbour lands,

Vaster battalions press for further strands,
To argue in the self-same bloody mode
Which this late age of thought, and pact, and code,
Still fails to mend. – Now deckward tramp the bands,
Yellow as autumn leaves, alive as spring;
And as each host draws out upon the sea
Beyond which lies the tragical To-be,
None dubious of the cause, none murmuring,

Wives, sisters, parents, wave white hands and smile,
As if they knew not that they weep the while.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stephen Spender: The War God

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Stephen Spender: Selections on war

====

Stephen Spender
The War God

Why cannot the one good
Benevolent, feasible
Final dove, descend?

And the wheat be divided?
And the soldiers sent home?
And the barriers torn down?
And the enemies forgiven?
And there be no retribution?

Because the conqueror
Is the victim of his own power
Hammering his will
Out of fear of former fear:
Remembering yesterday
When those he now vanquishes
destroyed his hero-father
And surrounded his cradle
With fabled anguishes.

Today his sun of victory
Hides the night’s anxiety
Lest children of the slain
Prove dragon teeth sown
By their sun going down,
To rise up tomorrow
In sky and sea all blood
And avenge their fathers again.

Those who surrender
On the helpless field
May dream the pious reasons
Of mercy, but alas
They know what they did
In their own sun-high season.
For the world is the world
And not the slain
Nor the slayer forgive
And it writes no histories
That end in love.

Yet under the waves’
Chains chafing despair
Love’s need does not cease.

Categories: Uncategorized

Richard Furness: War and Love

November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Richard Furness: Death and demons laugh’d in horrid joy

Richard Furness: The plough and the sword

====

Richard Furness
War and Love

War and love went forth to fight,
War and love in all their might:
War with force, and love with wiles,
War in frowns, but love in smiles.

War aroused the world to arms;
Love, for peace displayed her charms;
War o’er all in ruin swept.
Love beheld the scene and wept.

War in flames love’s votaries bound.
Love as quick her martyrs crowned;
War prepared the bitter cup,
Love in pity drank it up.

War threw up his bolts ‘gainst heaven:
Love entreated – war’s forgiven;
War ungrateful rages still.
Love o’erburdened bears the ill.

War to dread collision came.
Love stood trenched in scathless flame;
War had swords, but love had darts:
War struck heads, but love struck hearts.

War struck high, but love stooped low:
War felt love’s celestial blow;
War had wounds, but love had none:
War expired and love had won.

Categories: Uncategorized

Isabella Valancy Crawford: The Forging of the Sword

November 12, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

Women writers on peace and war

====

Isabella Valancy Crawford
The Forging of the Sword

At the forging of the Sword –
The mountain roots were stirr’d,
Like the heart-beats of a bird;
Like flax the tall trees wav’d,
So fiercely struck the Forgers of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword –
So loud the hammers fell,
The thrice seal’d gates of Hell,
Burst wide their glowing jaws;
Deep roaring, at the forging of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword –
Kind mother Earth was rent,
Like an Arab’s dusky tent,
And monster-like she fed –
On her children; at the forging of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword –
So loud the blows they gave,
Up sprang the panting wave;
And blind and furious slew,
Shrill-shouting to the Forgers of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword –
The startled air swift whirl’d
The red flames round the world,
From the Anvil where was smitten,
The steel, the Forgers wrought into the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword –
The Maid and Matron fled,
And hid them with the dead;
Fierce prophets sang their doom,
More deadly, than the wounding of the Sword.

At the forging of the Sword –
Swift leap’d the quiet hearts,
In the meadows and the marts;
The tides of men were drawn,
By the gleaming sickle-planet of the Sword!

* * * * *

Thus wert thou forged, O lissome sword;
On such dusk anvil wert thou wrought;
In such red flames thy metal fused!
From such deep hells that metal brought;
O sword, dread lord, thou speak’st no word,
But dumbly rul’st, king and lord!

Less than the Gods by some small span,
Slim sword, how great thy lieges be!
Glint but in one wild camp-fire’s light,
Thy God-like vassals rush to thee.
O sword, dread lord, thou speak’st no word,
But dumbly rul’st, king and lord!

Sharp, God, how vast thy altars be!
Green vallies, sacrificial cups,
Flow with the purple lees of blood;
Its smoke is round the mountain tops.
O sword, dread lord, thou speak’st no word,
But dumbly rul’st, king and lord!

O amorous God, fierce lover thou!
Bright sultan of a million brides,
Thou know’st no rival to thy kiss,
Thy loves are thine whate’re betides,
O sword, dread lord, thou speak’st no word,
But dumbly rul’st, king and lord.

Unflesh thee, sword! No more, no more,
Thy steel no more shall sting and shine,
Pass thro’ the fusing fires again;
And learn to prune the laughing vine.
Fall sword, dread lord, with one accord,
The plough and hook we’ll own as lord!

Categories: Uncategorized

Joseph Fawcett: War Elegy

November 12, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Joseph Fawcett
War Elegy

O’er once the haughty baron’s house of war,
Now to a county’s dreary jail decay’d
Whose ruins frowns on yon tall hill from far,
The dead of night has thrown its deepest shade:

Hush’d lay the captive foes of angry law:
Loud clanking chains the ear no longer fill,
Oblivion blest the felon’s hopeless straw,
And mis’ry’s mad, inebriate mirth was still.

But one there was whose lids refuse to close:
More greatly curst, one daughter of despair,
Who wildly thus pour’d forth her wakeful woes
Thro’ the deep silence of the midnight air: –

“‘Tis well – ’tis well: – my sorest ill is o’er: –
Thou little wretch, that caus’d my keenest pain,
Shalt lift thy piteous looks to me no more,
For food my utmost efforts fail’d to gain!

“Come, kill the mother who her child has kill’d,
Haste, righteous judges, and avenge the deed!
Yes, men of justice, I’ve for ever still’d
The raging famine that I could not feed.

“Death, to thy gate I come at last for aid!
I knock’d at others, and they gave me none:
I and my babe are perishing, I said;
Me and my babe they sternly bad begone!

“Friend of the poor! an outcast wretch receive!
From woes the wealthy will not, thou wilt save!
Thy kinder hand shall all my wants relieve: –
No hunger gnaws us in the easy grave.

“No mother o’er her starving infant there
Her empty hand with raving anguish wrings!
What was it brac’d this heart such pangs to bear?
How came ye not to crack, ye iron strings?

‘Bread? – sweetest suppliant – ask it not of me –
The last, last crumb I had, has LONG been gone
Come, shall I lift thee up, and let thee see,
That shelf thine eager gaze devours, has none!

“Take off those craving, cruel eyes from me;
Look thus at them, who feast on sumptuous fare,
Yonder they sit! – the loaded tables see!
Carry those asking eyes, pale sufferer, there.

“Murd’ress! – tis false – did I the murder do!
Say not ’twas I that stain’d the street with gore
Ye hard, unrelenting sons of wealth, ’twas you!
In vain I wept for succour at your door.

“Ye would not let my little cherub live;
Rocks! – ye refus’d to lend it longer breath:
A mother gave it all she had to give –
Gave it a beggar’d mother’s blessing – DEATH!

“Heav’ns! – how I strove my innocent to save!
Till my worn spirit could no longer strive;
No more endure to hear the breath I gave
All spent in cries for bread I could not give!

“For three long days my wond’rous patience bore!
Those ne’er to be forgot, heart-piercing cries,
Bore to behold the pining looks implore –
Bore the dumb hunger of the hollow eyes.

“For joy a child is born into the world,
Delirous mother, that her pain forgets!
Mine out again this hand in mercy hurl’d!
With juster joy my bounding bosom beats!

“Here what but wolves, but wild destroyers dwell?
They tore my helpless husband from my side,
And, when the father in their battles fell,
A little bread his famish’d babe denied.

“When surfeit swells, while wasting thousands die,
When riot roars amidst surrounding groans,
Whence springs the patience of the quiet sky?
What keeps ye silent, ye unruffled stones?

“Farewell, thou dreary scene of want and woe!
The poor to dust where hard oppressors grind:
Force seas of blood, and seas of tears to flow,
And triumph in the torments of mankind!

“My fellow-victims! that so calmly lie:
Nor join the vigils, these parch’d eyes must keep,
Forgetful each of all his misery,
I also, sound as you shall shortly sleep.

“Fly, my deliverers! – hither wing your way!
Come, in your robes of beautious office, come!
And you, ye brightest sun-beams, deck the day
That to her rest a weary wretch shall doom.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Richard Furness: The plough and the sword

November 11, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Richard Furness: Death and demons laugh’d in horrid joy

Richard Furness: War and Love

====

Richard Furness
From The Rag-Bag

“Your dazzling coach that rattles through the mart,
Is far less useful than the farmer’s cart;
While the brave whittle, dangling by your side,
The gay appendage of your feudal pride,
Rusts in the scabbard, – see! the peasant blithe
Sweeps down whole fields with his broad sword, the scythe.
Leads harvest captive to his stores for food,
And while he conquers famine, sheds no blood;
The barn’s his palace, and the plough’s his throne,
The flail’s his sceptre, and true worth’s his crown.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Francis Coutts: Why was no better gift by thee bequeathed than a sword unsheathed?

November 10, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Francis Coutts
From Egypt

What was thy day of forty centuries worth,
What thy magnificence and conquests, all
The marvel of thy glory, to the Earth,
If night returning followed on thy fall?

To us proud dwellers o’er the northern tide
Why was no better gift by thee bequeathed, –
By thee, whose kings ere death were deified,
Than festal goblets and a sword unsheathed?

At Memphis and at Thebes the full delight
Of all the senses, and that deeper draught,
The vintage of the falchion in the fight,
The wine of red dominion, oft were quaffed;

The lust to conquer…
And all our fame and all our follies fade,
As thine have faded, like a wreath of snow.

***

From Peace

Fold, fold thy wings, thou earth-avoiding dove,
Obey our luring, like a hawk of love,
And when, at last alighting, thou has brought
The close of seeking that so long we sought,
Long as thy sojourn may thy solace be,
Not for Time only, but for Eternity.

Categories: Uncategorized

Edwin Waugh: Who strives to make the world a home where peace and justice meet

November 9, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Edwin Waugh
From The Man of the Time

He is a sterling nobleman
Who lives the truth he knows;
Who dreads the slavery of sin,
And fears no other foes.

Who scorns the folly of pretence;
Whose mind from cant is free;
Who values men for worth and sense,
And hates hypocrisy.

Who glows with love that’s free from taint;
Whose heart is kind and brave;
Who feels that he was neither meant
For tyrant nor for slave.

Who loves the ground, where’er he roam,
That’s trod by human feet,
And strives to make the world a home
Where peace and justice meet.

Categories: Uncategorized

Richard Le Gallienne: Is this to be strong, ye nations, your vulgar battles to fight?

November 8, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

American writers on peace and against war

Richard Le Gallienne: The Illusion of War

====

Richard Le Gallienne
From The Cry of the Little Peoples

But now are we glad to rest, our battles and boasting done,
Glad just to sow and sing and reap in our share of the sun.

Of this O will ye rob us, – with a foolish mighty hand,
Add, with such cruel sorrow, so small a land to your land?

***

Is this to be strong, ye nations, is this to be strong?

Your vulgar battles to fight, and your grocery conquests to keep,
For this shall we break our hearts, for this shall our old men weep?
What gain in the day of battle…?

Categories: Uncategorized

Philip Stanhope Worsley: Not with iron steeped in slaughter

November 7, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Philip Stanhope Worsley

From Strength

Men…
Who sheathed the sword when peace might be,
And, bravely glad, confessed it gain;
In whose severe sublimity
Envy detects no fatal stain;
Men of a perfect mould; and such,
Who knew themselves and knew their time,
We cannot honour over-much
In story or in rhyme.

====

From Advent

How by shining forms attended,
By what golden stair,
He, the Son of God, descended –
Tell me, Earth and Air! –
Hark! the heaven itself is ringing,
All the bine wide arch
Rolls a sonnd of angels singing
His triumphant march.

Not with iron steeped in slaughter,
Nor with blood-red feet,
Comes He, but like rills of water
Where the dry suns beat.
Love with happy eyes before Him
Melteth sin like snow;
All whom He hath made adore Him,
Fount of peace below.

Categories: Uncategorized

Phillis Wheatley: From every tongue celestial Peace resounds

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

Phillis Wheatley
From Liberty and Peace

Lo! Freedom comes. Th’ prescient Muse foretold,
All Eyes th’ accomplish’d Prophecy behold:
Her Port describ’d, “She moves divinely fair,
“Olive and Laurel bind her golden Hair.”
She, the bright Progeny of Heaven, descends,
And every Grace her sovereign Step attends;
For now kind Heaven, indulgent to our Prayer,
In smiling Peace resolves the Din of War.
Fix’d in Columbia her illustrious Line,
And bids in thee her future Councils shine.
To every Realm her Portals open’d wide,
Receives from each the full commercial Tide.
Each Art and Science now with rising Charms
Th’ expanding Heart with Emulation warms.
E’en great Britannia sees with dread Surprize,
And from the dazzling Splendor turns her Eyes!
Britain, whose Navies swept th’ Atlantic o’er,
And Thunder sent to every distant Shore;
E’en thou, in Manners cruel as thou art,
The Sword resign’d, resume the friendly Part!

The Muse’s Ear hears mother Earth deplore
Her ample Surface smoak with kindred Gore:
The hostile Field destroys the social Ties,
And every-lasting Slumber seals their Eyes.

Descending Peace and Power of War confounds;
From every Tongue celestial Peace resounds:
As for the East th’ illustrious King of Day,
With rising Radiance drives the Shades away,
So Freedom comes array’d with Charms divine,
And in her Train Commerce and Plenty shine.

Categories: Uncategorized

J.A. Edgerton: When the cannon’s roar shall be heard no more

November 5, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

J.A. Edgerton: A Song of Peace

====

J.A. Edgerton
A New Sermon

I come to preach on the text of love
From the gospel of brotherhood;
To help if I may in finding a way
That leads to the higher good;
To picture the light that is shining bright
On the Future’s upturned face,
And to whisper a hope whose breadth and scope
Is as wide as the human race.

It is this: the hour is almost here
When the races shall rise as one,
And shall all join hands from the thousand lands
That are kissed by a common sun;
When the cannon’s roar shall be heard no more
And the war flags shall be furled;
When the lily-white banner of peace shall float
O’er a union of all the world.

For God is weary of war and hate,
And the time has come at last
For the race to wake and the chains to break
That bind it unto the past;
To list to the Christ who died for men,
And to hearken unto the call
Of the voice of the common divinity
That stirs in the hearts of all.

Across the morn of the century,
In visions I turn my gaze
To the heights sublime that the race shall climb
To better and grander days.
As earth whirls on from dawn to dawn
Through the seasons that are to be,
There is some sweet day that is on its way
When the whole world shall be free.

There are glimpses of glory in Paradise,
But they all are not so bright
As our own dear earth will be, if we
Can open the reign of right;
If we, as brothers, will love each other,
And work as best we can
In the glorious labor of lifting our fellow man.

Categories: Uncategorized

Arthur Christopher Benson: No carnal triumph of the empurpled sword

November 4, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Arthur Christopher Benson
From Peace

Nay, she is near us yet – ’tis only we
Have lost the skill to hear her shyly pass,
When she with swift and viewless mystery
Fleets like the breeze across the bending grass;
Not in the gaps of profitable toil,
Not in weak intervals of feverish haste
May she be wooed; but when from stain and soil
Our hands are free, and weakness proudly faced,
Then may the gracious form be sisterly embraced.

Ah – unsubstantial prize, ah, faint reward!
Is then the cold gift of thy temperate hand
No carnal triumph of the empurpled sword,
No fiery thought that fills the awestruck land?
But quiet hours, and sober silent truth,
That not in envy, not in acrid scorn,
Can set aside the elvish dreams of youth,
The haggard fears of age and languor born…?

Categories: Uncategorized

James Russell Lowell: Dante and universal peace

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

James Russell Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood

====

James Russell Lowell
From Dante

Without peace, which only good government could give, mankind could not arrive at the highest virtue, whether of the active or the contemplative life. And since what is true of the part is true of the whole, and that it happens in the particular man that by sitting quietly he is perfected in prudence and wisdom, it is clear that the human race in the quiet or tranquillity of peace is most freely and easily disposed for its proper work which is almost divine, as it is written, ‘Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.’ Whence it is manifest that universal peace is the best of those things which are ordained for our beatitude. Hence it is that not riches, not pleasures, not honors, not length of life, not health, not strength, not comeliness, was sung to the shepherds from on high, but peace…

Categories: Uncategorized

Stephen Phillips: Appalled at bloody trophies

November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Stephen Phillips
From Christ in Hades

Before his eyes defiles in bright sunbeams,
An endless host parading past; whom he,
Their leader mild, remorsefully reviewed,
And had no joy in them, although aloud
They cried his name, and with fierce faces glad
Looked up to him for praise, all murmuring proud,
And bloody trophies toward him flourished and waved:
But as he stood, gazing, from time to time
He seemed to swerve, as though his hand grew red.
Or move, as though to interrupt some sight.

Categories: Uncategorized

Albert Durrant Watson: A Prayer for Peace

November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

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

Albert Durrant Watson
A Prayer for Peace

Thy peace, O God, our hearts implore!
No armistice red-shot with gore;
No fist of steel with threatening clad,
But peace that earth has never had,
With Love sun-gilding every shore.

We spurn all peace that dares ignore
Thy justice. Down the battle-roar,
The cry rings clear, though stern and sad;
Thy peace, O God!

We crave no peace that has a score
Of tyrannies deep at its core;
No wealth and squalor, money-mad,
But peace that makes the whole world glad –
Thy peace, O God!

Categories: Uncategorized

Maurice Baring: The Wounded

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Maurice Baring: Unalterable horror, misery, pain and suffering which is caused by modern war

====

Maurice Baring
The Wounded
To H.C.

They turn us from the long-desired door;
Here there is shelter for the sorely spent,
But not for us; since many a dying score
Of maimed and mangled men, whose limbs are rent

With bayonet and with bullet, crowd the floor.
We who have fought since dawn, nor tasted bread,
Although our wounds are slight, our wounds are sore,
We must march on, nor shall we find a bed.

O men, O brothers, is our rest not earned?
Shall we not seek the mountains huge and wide
Whose doors are always open? There the guest

Sweet welcome finds; for thou hast never turned
A stranger from thy gates, nor hast denied,
O hospitable Death, a place to rest.

Fun-Chu-Ling
October 16, 1904

 

Categories: Uncategorized

John Davidson: The blood of men poured out in endless wars

October 30, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

John Davidson: Blood in torrents pour in vain, for war breeds war again

====

John Davidson
From Fleet Street Eclogues

Artist: And of the waste of men
In war – pitiful soldiers, battle-harlots.

Votary: That also I consider.

Artist: Weaklings, fools
In millions who must end disastrously;
The willing hands and hearts, in millions too,
Paid with perdition for a life of toil;
The blood of women, a constant sacrifice,
Staining the streets and every altar-step;
The blood of men poured out in endless wars…

Categories: Uncategorized

Eliza Cook: Not where bullet, sword, and shield lie strown with the gory slain

October 28, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Eliza Cook: Selections on peace and war

====

Eliza Cook
From Harvest Song

I love, I love to see
Bright steel gleam through the land;
‘Tis a goodly sight, but it must be
In the reaper’s tawny hand.
The helmet and the spear
Are twined with laurel wreath;
But the trophy is wet with the orphan’s tear,
And blood-spots rest beneath.
I love to see the field
That is moist with purple stain;
But not where bullet, sword, and shield,
Lie strown with the gory slain.

***

The feast that warfare gives
Is not for one alone –
‘Tis shared by the meanest slave that lives,
And the tenant of a throne.

Then glory to the steel
That shines in the reaper’s hand;
And thanks to God, who has blessed the sod,
And crowns the harvest land

Categories: Uncategorized

Charles Richardson: The Dawn of Peace

October 27, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

Charles Richardson
The Dawn of Peace

Have you felt the mighty moving of the spirit of our Lord,
Piercing through our moral darkness, to again condemn the sword?
Have you heard the voices calling from the nations far and near,
Voices of our brothers crying, Peace and Love shall vanquish Fear?

From the days of Cain and Abel, through the ages that have passed,
One long tale of needless slaughter runs unbroken to the last;
But at length our eyes are opened, and our spirits groan with pain,
As we read the ghastly record of the war fiend’s awful reign.

Men have listened to false teachers praising war in song and story,
Spreading lies about their brethren, urging strife for wealth or glory;
They have led in proud applauding for the crowns by victors worn,
As the savage lauds his chieftain for the scalps from foemen torn.

They have taught a monstrous doctrine, fitting creed for Satan’s priest,
That if man would be more noble, he must be more like the beast.
Men, they said, would lose their manhood, sink beneath the coward’s rule,
If they failed to train their ablest to waste their lives in murder’s school.

Even now if they could lead us as they fain would have us led,
Tools of death would be our products, guns and swords instead of bread.
Every man would be a soldier, every country filled with forts,
Only women for the plowing, only warships in our ports.

But the ruled are now the rulers; they command who once obeyed;
And the edicts that they issue can no longer be gainsaid.
We will have no more of carnage, thus the people’s mandate runs;
Right shall rule instead of powder, courts of law instead of guns.

For at last the dawn is breaking, dreams of ages coming true;
Clouds of war are growing rarer, lights of truth are shining through;
Solemn treaties shall unite us, and in all the time to be
We shall nevermore have battles on the land or on the sea.

Categories: Uncategorized

W. T. Hawkins: A Song of Peace

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

W. T. Hawkins
A Song of Peace

Lord, grant us peace o’er all the world.
Let human passions rage no more,
But joy-bells ring from shore to shore,
And blood-stained battle-flags be furled.

May greed of gold and lust of power
No longer taint the nation’s life;
May bestiality and strife
Grow less and less from hour to hour.

May manhood, passionate for good,
Rise from the slough of mad desire,
And nations join in one glad choir
To sing the song of Brotherhood.

May all men cry, “Hail to the Dawn !”
And seek with Love the world to fill ;
Shaming away the coarser will
Of those who hold men’s souls in pawn.

Hail to the Dawn! Where’er the sun
Sheds warmth and light upon the earth,
May Love and Brotherhood have birth
And Peace’s victory be won.

Hail to the Dawn! Break every sword,
And let dread cannon boom no more ;
But chains of peace bind shore to shore,
And all men live in glad accord.

Then shall all fettered souls be freed,
And tyranny no more shall spoil
The first-fruits of men’s straining toil,
To satisfy unholy greed.

Hail to the Dawn! May bonfires blaze
With gladsome glow on every hill,
And He who murmured “Peace, be still!”
Give Peace on earth through endless days.

Categories: Uncategorized

Eliza Cook: Who can love the laurel wreath, plucked from the gory field of death?

October 25, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Eliza Cook: Selections on peace and war

====

Eliza Cook
From The Wreaths

Whom do we crown with the laurel leaf?
The hero god, the soldier chief,
But we dream of the crushing cannon-wheel,
Of the flying shot and the reeking steel,
Of the crimson plain where warm blood smokes,
Where clangour deafens and sulphur chokes:
Oh, who can love the laurel wreath,
Plucked from the gory field of death.

***

But there’s a green and fragrant leaf
Betokens nor revelry, blood, nor grief:
‘Tis the purest amaranth springing below,
And rests on the calmest, noblest brow:
It is not the right of the monarch or lord,
Nor purchased by gold, nor won by the sword;
For the lowliest temples gather a ray
Of quenchless light from the palm of bay.

Oh, beautiful bay! I worship thee –
I homage thy wreath –  cherish thy tree;
And of all the chaplets Fame may deal,
‘Tis only to this one I would kneel:
For as Indians fly to the banian branch,
When tempests lower and thunders launch,
So the spirit may turn from crowds and strife
And seek from the bay-wreath joy and life.

====

From The Christmas Holly

The laurel the warrior’s brow may wreathe,
But it tells of tears and blood.
I sing the holly, and who can breathe
Aught of that that is not good?

Categories: Uncategorized

Maurice C. Waugh: A Plea for Peace

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

Maurice C. Waugh
A Plea for Peace

The past decade, so filled with might and greed,
Is but the fruitage of the grown-up seed,
Which all the imps of hell in minds had sown.
So that a false philosophy was known
Whereby some men thought nothing could be right
Except o’ertowered by the power of might.

Through years of struggle, blood, and grief, and pain.
We’ve seen how futile is this greed for gain;
We’ve seen the nations which were known for might
Hurled down and trampled under foot o’er night;
We’ve heard the very universe in doubt
Beseech, “Oh, God, can war be blotted out!”

Once more we face a time when cease it must.
For if we fail in this our sacred trust.
The world will reek and reel with profiteers.
With guns, with ships of war, with death, and tears –
More shame on all the human race, for then
We’ll ne’er have “peace on earth, good will to men.”

So, God, in this our time of greatest need
Help us forget our color, race, or creed.
And all unite in such a glorious plan
That we may know the brotherhood of man.
With strife, and conquest, war, and bloody gore
Unknown on earth henceforth forever more.

Categories: Uncategorized

Arthur E. Stilwell: The Day of Peace

October 22, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

Arthur E. Stilwell
The Day of Peace

I see the coming, dawning day,
The peaceful, restful hour
When the light shall hold all earth
And only love have power.
I hear the voice of angels,
From the distant days of old,
Of peace on earth to man,
To waking shepherds told.

I see all barriers broken
Of race and class and creeds,
And man is only judged
By the kindness of his deeds;
I see all armies melt
As the sword shall lose its power
In the glorious day of Peace –
‘Tis the coming, dawning hour.

Then the sword shall be the ploughshare,
Birds shall mate in cannon’s breast,
When all on earth shall be at peace
And shall finds its longed-for rest;
When the Sermon on the Mount
From the hills of Galilee
Shall sway the thoughts of men
Throughout eternity.

Categories: Uncategorized

J.A. Edgerton: A Song of Peace

October 22, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

J.A. Edgerton: When the cannon’s roar shall be heard no more

====

J.A. Edgerton
A Song of Peace

Come sing me a song of peace,
I am tired of war:
Come, sing of the time afar,
When war shall cease.

Come sing of love in her birth,
And prophesy
Of an era when hate shall die
From off the earth.

The shedding of human blood
Is a sickening game,
Though done in the sacred name
Of human good.

Somehow we cannot forget,
And we stand appalled,
That murder, whatever called,
Is murder yet.

And we hear the echo still,
Down the aisles of time,
Of the ancient words sublime:
“Thou shalt not kill.”

I am tired of the songs of strife,
They tell of the dead;
Come, sing to me instead
The songs of life.

Come, sing of an epic bright
In the younger day,
As the earth swings on her way
Through the infinite.

Come sing of an era when,
By the dying Old,
The New shall an age unfold
Of happier men;

And the wrongs of today shall seem,
As they fade away,
Like a tale of yesterday,
And a troubled dream.

At the dawn of a century
A spirit calls,
And a vision on me falls,
Like a prophecy.

A hundred years unroll
Before my gaze,
I see the coming days
Like an open scroll.

I see the whole world
Joined hand in hand,
I see, over every land
One flag unfurled.

‘Tis the milk-white flag of peace,
And from afar
There rises a golden star
O’er the eastern seas.

And I see the wraith of war
As it disappears
Down the path of the vanished years
Forevermore.

Categories: Uncategorized

Eliza Cook: No bloodstain lingers there. The plough and the spear.

October 21, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Eliza Cook: Selections on peace and war

====

Eliza Cook
The Ploughshare of Old England

The sailor boasts his stately ship, the bulwark of the isle;
The soldier loves his sword, and sings of tented plains the while;
But we will hang the ploughshare up within our fathers’ halls,
And guard it as the deity of plenteous festivals.
We’ll pluck the brilliant poppies, and the far-famed barleycorn,
To wreathe with bursting wheat-ears that outshine the saffron morn;
We’ll crown it with a glowing heart, and pledge our fertile land,
The ploughshare of old England, and the sturdy peasant band!

The work it does is good and blest, and may be proudly told;
We see it in the teeming barns, and fields of waving gold:
Its metal is unsullied, no bloodstain lingers there.
God speed it there, and let it thrive unshackled everywhere.
The bark may rest upon the wave, the spear may gather dust;
But never may the prow that cuts the furrow lie and rust.
Fill up, fill up, with glowing heart, and pledge our fertile land,
The ploughshare of old England, and the sturdy peasant band!

Categories: Uncategorized

Eliza Cook: I felt a shuddering horror lurk, to think I’d mingled in such work

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Eliza Cook: Selections on peace and war

 

====

Eliza Cook
From Melaia

‘Twas in the age when Arts and Peace

Revived once more in mighty Greece –
When Fame forsook the camp and blade,
And turned from purple fields to wreathe
Her meeds again for those who bade
The canvass glow, the marble breathe…

***

” ‘Twas on the night-fall of a day,
When slaughter’s red and fierce career
Had lasted from the breaking ray,
Leaving, as twilight died away,
Some thousands on one common bier.

“The night came on, the work was done,
The glory ours, the battle won;
My hand was tired of the sword,
And gladly to its sheath restored
The dripping blade; for though my life
Hath oft been risked in human strife,
Elate and proud to have my name
Grow dreaded for its soldier fame;
Though I have stumbled o’er the slain,
Mid splintered bone and scattered brain;
Though I have seen the streaming blood
Drench the green sod and tinge the flood;
Still, when the raging hour had sped,
I sighed to think such things had been;
And though I helped to strew the dead,
I sickened at the carnage scene.
My soul was reckless in the crash
Of ringing shield and striking clash.
Then I had all the tiger’s will,
And all the lion’s strength, to kill;
But when I trod the dead-strewn plain,
With mercy at her post again,
I felt a shuddering horror lurk,
To think I’d mingled in such work.

Categories: Uncategorized

Aphra Behn: The pen triumphs over the sword

October 14, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Aphra Behn: No rough sound of war’s alarms

====

Aphra Behn

From A Pindaric Poem

Oh Strange effect of a Seraphick Quill!
That can by unperceptable degrees
Change every Notion, every Principle
To any Form, its Great Dictator please:
The Sword a Feeble Pow’r, compar’d to That,
And to the Nobler Pen subordinate;
And of less use in Bravest turns of State:
While that to Blood and Slaughter has recourse,
This Conquers Hearts with soft prevailing Force:
So when the wiser Greeks o’recame their Foes,
It was not by the Barbarous Force of Blows.
When a long Ten Years Fatal War had fail’d,
With luckier Wisdom they at last assail’d,
Wisdom and Counsel which alone prevail’d.
Not all their Numbers the Fam’d Town could win,
‘Twas Nobler Stratagem that let the Conquerour in.

****

From Song

But now for Jemmy must I mourn,
Who to the Warrs must go;
His Sheephook to a Sword must turne:
Alack what shall I do?
His Bag-pipe into War-like Sounds,
Must now Exchanged bee:
Instead of Braceletts, fearful Wounds;
Then what becomes of me?

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Hedd Wynn: War

October 9, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Hedd Wynn
War

Bitter to live in times like these.
While God declines beyond the seas;
Instead, man, king or peasantry,
Raises his gross authority.

When he thinks God has gone away
Man takes up his sword to slay
His brother; we can hear death’s roar.
It shadows the hovels of the poor.

Like the old songs they left behind,
We hung our harps in the willows again.
Ballads of boys blow on the wind,
Their blood is mingled with the rain.

Categories: Uncategorized

Aphra Behn: No rough sound of war’s alarms

October 8, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Aphra Behn: The pen triumphs over the sword

====

Aphra Behn
From The Golden Age

Blest Age! when ev’ry Purling Stream
Ran undisturb’d and clear…

Then no rough sound of Wars Alarms,
Had taught the World the needless use of Arms…

Right and Property were words since made,
When Power taught Mankind to invade:
When Pride and Avarice became a Trade;
Carri’d on by discord, noise and wars,
For which they barter’d wounds and scarrs;
And to Inhaunce the Merchandize, miscall’d it, Fame,
And Rapes, Invasions, Tyrannies,
Was gaining of a Glorious Name:
Stiling their salvage slaughters, Victories…

Categories: Uncategorized

John Galsworthy: Trading in fanatical idiocy at expense of others’ blood and sweat

October 6, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

John Galsworthy: Selections on war

====

John Galsworthy
From The White Monkey

Desert never spoke of the war, it was not possible to learn from his own mouth an effect which he might have summed up thus: “I lived so long with horror and death; I saw men so in the raw; I put hope of everything out of my mind so utterly, that I never more can have the faintest respect for theories, promises, conventions, moralities, and principles. I have hated too much the men who wallowed in them while I was wallowing in mud and blood. Illusion is off. No religion and no philosophy will satisfy me – words, all words. I still have my senses – no thanks to them; am still capable – I find – of passion; can still grit my teeth and grin; have still some feeling of trench loyalty, but whether real or just a complex, I don’t yet know. In am dangerous, but not so dangerous as those who trade in words, principles, theories, and all manner of fanatical idiocy to be worked out in the blood and sweat of other men…”

Categories: Uncategorized

John Greenleaf Whittier: The stormy clangor of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease

October 4, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

John Greenleaf Whittier: Selections on peace and war

====

John Greenleaf Whittier
O Brother Man

O Brother man! fold to thy heart thy brother;
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there;
To worship rightly is to love each other,
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.

Follow with reverent steps the great example
Of Him whose holy work was “doing good”;
So shall the wide earth seem our Father’s temple,
Each loving life a psalm of gratitude.

Then shall all shackles fall; the stormy clangor
Of wild war music o’er the earth shall cease;
Love shall tread out the baleful fire of anger,
And in its ashes plant the tree of peace!

Categories: Uncategorized

Robert Graves: Peace

October 3, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Robert Graves: Selections on war

====

Robert Graves
Peace

When that glad day shall break to match
“Before-the-War” with “Since-the-Peace”,
And up I climb to twist new thatch
Across my cottage roof, while geese
Stand stiffly there below and vex
The yard with hissing from long necks,
In that immense release,
That shining day, shall we hear said:
“New wars to-morrow, more men dead”?

When peace time comes and horror’s over,
Despair and darkness like a dream,
When fields are ripe with corn and clover,
The cool white dairy full of cream,
Shall we work happily in the sun,
And think “It’s over now and done”,
Or suddenly shall we seem
To watch a second bristling shadow
Of armed men move across the meadow?

Will it be over once for all,
With no more killed and no more maimed;
Shall we be safe from terror’s thrall,
The eagle caged, the lion tamed;
Or will the young of that vile brood,
The young ones also, suck up blood
Unconquered, unashamed,
Rising again with lust and thirst?
Better we all had died at first,
Better that killed before our prime
We rotted deep in earthy slime.

Categories: Uncategorized

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Flag of Peace

October 2, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

American writers on peace and against war

====

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Flag of Peace

Men long have fought for their flying flags,
They have died those flags to save;
Their long staves rest on the shattered breast,
They are planted deep in the grave.
Now the world’s new flag is streaming wide,
Far-flying wide and high.
It shall cover the earth from side to side
As the rainbow rings the sky.

The flag of the day when men shall stand
For service, not for fight;
When every race, in every land,
Shall join for the world’s delight;
When all our flags shall blend in one,
And all our wars shall cease,
‘Neath the new flag, the true flag,
The rainbow flag of peace.

Categories: Uncategorized

Ford Maddox Ford: Preparing men like bullocks for the slaughterhouse

October 1, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Ford Maddox Ford: Millions massacred for picturesque phrases in politicians’ speeches

====

Ford Maddox Ford

From Some Do Not…

He loved this country for the run of its hills, the shape of its elm trees and the way the heather, running uphill to the skyline, meets the blue of the heavens. War for this country could only mean humiliation, spreading under the sunlight, an almost invisible pall over the elms, the hills, the heather…

***

From No More Parades

“…You see it means such infinite deaths of men, such an infinite prolongation…I seem to see these fellows with clouds of blood over their heads…And then…I’m to carry out their orders because they’re my superiors…But helping them means unnumbered deaths…”

***

Getting cattle into condition for the slaughterhouse…They were as eager as bullocks running down by Camden Town to Smithfield Market. Seventy per cent of them would never come back…But it’s better to go to heaven with your skin shining and master of your limbs than as a hulking lout…The Almighty’s orderly room will welcome you better in all probability…

…Not of course pro-German, but disapproving of the preparation of men, like bullocks, with sleek healthy skins for the abattoirs in Smithfield…

Categories: Uncategorized

William Congreve: Cursed ambition wakes the world to war and ruin

September 30, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

William Congreve: No more do youth leave the sacred arts for stubborn arms

====

William Congreve
From Paraphrase Upon Horace

Of savage Scythian arms no more I write,
Or Parthian archers, who in flying fight,
And make rough war their sport;
Such idle themes no more can move…

***

From A Hymn to Harmony

‘Tis done; and now tumultuous passions cease;
And all is hush’d, and all is peace.
The weary world with welcomed ease is blessed,
By music lull’d to pleasing rest.

Ah, sweet repose, too soon expiring!
Ah, foolish man, new toils requiring!
Curs’d ambition, strife pursuing,
Wakes the world to war and ruin.
See, see, the battle is prepar’d!
Behold the hero comes!
Loud trumpets with shrill fifes are heard;
And hoarse resounding drums.
War, with discordant notes and jarring noise,
The harmony of peace destroys.

Categories: Uncategorized

Zofia Kossak: Every creature has its day. War and crocodiles.

September 29, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

Women writers on peace and war

====

Zofia Kossak
From Blessed Are The Meek
Translated by Rulka Langer

Frightened hippopotami were fleeing upstream. The crocodiles, those wise lizards once worshipped and held sacred, were scurrying downstream. Behind them was the experience of many thousands of years of dealing with man; they knew the ways of the humans; they could appraise them judiciously. The more armed men crossed the Father of Rivers, the more fiercely they shook their spears and drummed upon their shields, the more abundant would be the food for the rightful inhabitants of the river, the more bodies would float down to the sea. On such occasions one could fill one’s belly enough for several weeks. Only the bumps over their eyes showing above the water, the great reptiles keenly watched the doings of man. Not since the times of Antony and Cleopatra had there been such multitudes here. They clasped their jaws in glee. Every creature has its time. Just as every year the Nile will flood the country, so every once in a while men will slaughter each other so that the crocodiles may gorge themselves.

Categories: Uncategorized

Aelian: That is the benefit of peace

September 28, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Aelian: A parable of two cities

====

Aelian
From Historical Miscellany
Translated by N.G. Wilson

No sculptor or painter has portrayed for us the daughters of Zeus in armour. This proves that life among the Muses must be peaceful and gentle.

***
[N]o one, whether painter or sculptor, has ever succeeded in giving us utterly untrue images of the Muses, false and alien to the nature of the daughters of Zeus. What artist has been so irresponsibly stupid as to depict them for us wearing armour? The fact proves that life dedicated to the Muses must be peaceful, gentle, and worthy of them.

***

Philiscus once said to Alexander: “Take care of your reputation; don’t become a plague, bring peace and health.” By plague he meant violent and savage rule, the capture of cities, the destruction of populations; by health, care for the safety of subjects: that is the benefit of peace.

Categories: Uncategorized

Eliza Cook: Crimson battlefield. When the world shall be spread with tombless dead.

September 27, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Eliza Cook: Selections on peace and war

====

Eliza Cook
From The Song of the Carrion Crow

I have seen the soldier, millions adored,
Do other than deed of the brave;
When he wore a mask as well as a sword,
And dug a midnight grave.

I have fluttered where secret work has been done.
Wrought with a trusty blade;
But what did I care, whether foul or fair,
If I shared the feast it made?

***

Famine and Plague bring joy to me,
For I love the harvest they yield;
And the fairest sight I ever see
Is the crimson battle-field.

Far and wide is my charnel range,
And rich carousal I keep;
Till back I come to my gibbet home,
To be merrily rock’d to sleep.

When the world shall be spread with tombless dead,
And darkness shroud all below;
What triumph and glee to the last will be,
For the sateless Carrion Crow!

Categories: Uncategorized

Lewis Morris: Filled with love of peace

September 26, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

Lewis Morris: Selections on war and peace

====

Lewis Morris
From Antoninus Pius

All his soul
Was filled with love of peace, holding it more
To save a single citizen than slay
A thousand enemies. A thrifty mind
Grudging his people’s toil, not less he planned
Great works and beautiful, which might enrich
The City of the world, and, loving peace,
Yet not the less the reverence for his name
Spread to earth’s limits.

Categories: Uncategorized

Hannah More: War

September 25, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

====

Hannah More
War
From David and Goliath

O War, What art thou?
After the brightest conquest, what remains
Of all thy glories? For the vanquish’d – chains –
For the proud victor – what? Alas! to reign
O’er desolated nations – a drear waste,
By one man’s crime, by one man’s lust of power,
Unpeopled! Naked plains and ravaged fields,
Succeed to smiling harvests and the fruits
Of peaceful olive – luscious fig and vine!
Here, rifled temples are the cavern’d dens
Of savage beasts, or haunt of birds obscene;
There, populous cities blacken in the sun,
And in the general wreck proud palaces
Lie undistinguish’d, save by the dun smoke
Of recent conflagration! When the song
Of dear-bought joy, with many a triumph swell’d,
Salutes the victory’s ear, and soothes his pride,
How is the grateful harmony profaned
With the sad dissonance of virgins’ cries,
Who mourn their brothers slain! Of matrons hoar,
Who clasp their wither’d hands, and fondly ask
With iteration shrill – their slaughter’d sons!
How is the laurel’s verdure stain’d with blood
And soil’d with widows’ tears!

Categories: Uncategorized

Polybius: Diplomacy versus war

September 24, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Polybius: The bestialization of man by war

Polybius: Peace is a blessing for which we all pray to the gods

====

Polybius
From The Histories
Translated by W.R. Paton

And surely to conquer one’s enemies by generosity and equity is of far higher service than any victory in the field; for to arms the vanquished yield from necessity, to virtue from conviction; in the one case the correction of error is made with much sacrifice, in the other the erring are guided to better ways without suffering hurt.

Categories: Uncategorized

William Tennant: While some sing of Mars’s bloody game…

September 23, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

British writers on peace and war

William Tennant: Ode to Peace

====

William Tennant
From Anster Fair

While some of Troy and pettish heroes sing,
And some of Rome and chiefs of pious fame,
And some of men that thought it harmless thing
To smite off heads in Mars’s bloody game,
And some of Eden’s garden gay with spring,
And Hell’s dominions terrible to name,
I sing a theme far livelier, happier, gladder…

Categories: Uncategorized

Marcus Aurelius: Military conquests lead but to the grave

September 22, 2017 Leave a comment

====

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

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

====

Marcus Aurelius
From Meditations
Translated by George Long

Alexander, and Pompeius, and Caius Caesar, after so often completely destroying whole cities, and in battle cutting to pieces many ten thousands of cavalry and infantry, themselves too at last departed from life.

***

Think continually…how many commanders after killing thousands; and how many tyrants who have used their power over men’s lives with terrible insolence as if they were immortal; and how many cities are entirely dead, so to speak, Helice and Pompeii and Herculaneum, and others innumerable. Add to the reckoning all whom thou hast known, one after another. One man after burying another has been laid out dead, and another buries him: and all this in a short time.

***
Alexander the Macedonian and his groom by death were brought to the same state; for either they were received among the same seminal principles of the universe, or they were alike dispersed among the atoms.

***

Alexander and Gaius and Pompeius, what are they in comparison with Diogenes and Heraclitus and Socrates? For they were acquainted with things, and their causes (forms), and their matter, and the ruling principles of these men were the same. But as to the others, how many things had they to care for, and to how many things were they slaves?

Categories: Uncategorized