O! what a devastating curse is war!
What miseries are hidden in that word!
It tells of battlefields and noisy strife,
Of slaughtered hosts and carnage widely spread,
Of fellow mortals weltering in their gore,
Of ghastly looks, of thirst and dying groans;
Of gaping wounds, and mutilated limbs,
Of cities sacked and fruitful fields laid waste,
Of dark revenge and awful massacres,
Of desolation, want, and sore distress,
And other miseries entailed by war.
It makes the heart grow sick to read the sad
Details of war and all its train of woes.
What foolishness to madly rush to arms
And end their petty quarrels with the sword!
If men were wise they'd seek some friendly aid,
To arbitrate and settle their disputes;
And if a head-strong nation should decide
To end the strife in war--if after all
The efforts made for peace have been in vain--
Then let the nations loving peace unite
And awe that nation which delights in war.
War only can be justifiable
When we, in self defense, protect our homes
From the invading foe. Aggressive war
Is found, too often, inexcusable.
In olden times the sword was often sent
To punish guilty nations for their crimes;
Perhaps it is so still, and if it be,
What nation then can claim immunity
From famine, plague, or retributive war?
War is a curse, and must be viewed as such;
A judgment on the conquered, and perhaps
A punishment to both. For victory oft
Is found to be more costly than defeat.
The shout of triumph has its echo in
The orphan's and the widow's wail of woe.
Fame, glory, victory are all too dear
And never worth the precious blood they cost.
The olden prophets sang in plaintive strains
Of coming wars. It seems the time is near
When some war-prophecy must be fulfilled!
The great apocalyptic day foretold--
The day of vengeance, darkness and despair--
Has thrown its shadow over half the world.
The storm clouds gather in the distant East--
Nor is the western hemisphere exempt--
And rumors reach us of a widespread war.
The sable Eagle of the frigid north
Has sought his quarry in the glowing East;
The conflict, doubtless, will be fierce and long,
And armies shall be wasted ere the dove
Of peace shall visit these contending powers.
Mizraim, long the theatre of war,
Is still the scene of conflicts horrible;
Egyptian sands have oft been stained with blood;
And many, too, of England's bravest men
Have helped to swell the number of the slain.
Rebellion, there, is scorched; not yet consumed.
The Upper Nile, and all the vast Soudan
Is one broad battlefield. War rages there,
Fierce battles have been fought and thousands slain
Of Britain's foes. And hundreds of our braves
Have fallen too and died a soldier's death;
And England's glory there has been eclipsed
With clouds of grief. Her culpable delays
Despoiled her hopes and caused death and defeat
To General Gordon and his little band--
Khartoum's brave defender left to meet
His long impending fate and fall--at last
Of hope bereft--but not his hope of heaven.
And other heroes, too, almost as brave,
Have fought and fell and shed their blood in vain.
That foul, false prophet, that vile Mahdi still
Maintains his cruel and despotic reign.
This rebel fanatic, this self-made god--
Or rather fiend incarnate--still bedupes
His followers with boastings of his powers,
And gifts divine of working miracles,
And promises of spoils and paradise,
While those who dare to disobey his will
Must meet their fate and die a cruel death.
Strange as it may appear, the enemies
Of England aid this wretch with arms, and teach
His soldiers how to use them with effect;
But mighty England shall convince the world
That God is still her refuge and defense.
And other storm clouds gather nearer home
And hidden fiends and bold defiant knaves
Athirst for blood are ripe for civil war.
But Britain's lion half awake shall soon
Start up and shake his mane and roar defiance
At the rebel curs, and scatter them
Like chaff before the wind. The struggle may
Be fierce and long, and thousands may be slain,
While miseries untold accumulate;
But truth and loyalty shall stand the test,
And peace and happiness shall be restored.
There shall be wars and rumours of great wars;
But peace--that peace foretold shall come at last,
Mahomet's Crescent Moon is waning fast
And soon shall disappear behind the Cross.
But tho' Mahomet trusted in the sword
To propagate the tenets of his creed--
And cruel Mahdi thinks to do the same--
'Tis not the way the Gospel might be spread.
The heroes of the Cross are called to fight
But not with cruel weapons nor in wrath;
They follow Him who is the Prince of Peace
And wait and hope until the day shall dawn
When peace and righteousness shall fill our Earth.
Then swords and spears and all the arms of war
Shall be transformed to useful implements
To aid the farmer in his healthy toil,
And in this reign of universal peace
The nations shall forget the art of war.