1793.13 - "The Bishop of London's Opinion on War"

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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1793.13
The Bishop of London's Opinion on War
Beilby Porteous
The Cambridge Intelligencer (September 14, 1793)

_____________ONE murder makes a Villain,
MILLIONS a Hero: Princes are privileged
To kill, and numbers sanctify the crime.
Ah! Why will Kings forget that they are men?
And men that they are brethren? Why delight
In HUMAN SACRIFICE? Why burst the ties
Of Nature, that should knit their souls together
In one soft bond of amity and love.

They yet still breathe destruction, still go on,
Inhumanly ingenious, to find out
New pains for life, new terrors for the grave,
Artificers of death! Still Monarchs dream
Of universal empire, growing up
From universal ruin. Blast the design
Great God of Hosts, nor let thy creatures fall
Unpitied Victims at Ambitions shrine!

From Dr. Porteous's Poem on Death.[1]


Notes

1. Beilby Porteous (1731-1808) became Bishop of London in 1787. While a student at Cambridge in 1759, he won the Seatonian prize for his long poem, Death, from which this is extracted. (The extravagant elegy of George II in this poem was later satirized by Thackeray in The Four Georges.) As Bishop of London, Porteous was friendly to evangelicals and was a special friend of Hannah More. Although interested in reform, he was opposed to the French Revolution and preached against the Rights of Man.

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Published @ RC

September 2004

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