Betwixt Peace and War
The Monthly Mirror, VII (April 1799), pp. 209-210
War makes the vulgar multitude to drink
In at the ear, the foul and muddy sink
Of factious tales, by which they dizzy grow,
That the clear sight of truth they do not know,
But reeling stand, know not what way to take,
And when they chuse, 'tis wrong, so War they make.
Thou flatt'ring and most unjust Peace, which draws
The vulgar by thy rhet'rick to hard laws,
Which makes them silly, and content to be
To take up voluntary slavery.
Thou mak'st great inequalities beside;
Some bear like asses, some on horse-back ride.
O War, thou cruel enemy to life,
Unquiet neighbour, breeding always strife;
Tyrant thou art, to rest wilt give no time,
And blessed peace thou punishest as crime;
All natural affections are by thee
Massacred, none escape thy cruelty;
The root of all religion thou pull'st up,
Dost ev'ry branch of ceremony lop;
Civil society to manners base
Thou turn'st, no laws nor customs can get place;
Each mind within itself cannot agree,
But all do strive for superiority:
In the whole world thou dost disturbance make;
To save themselves none know what ways to take.
O Peace, thou idle drone, which lov'st to dwell,
If it but keep thee safe, in a poor cell;
Thy life thou sleep'st away, thoughts lazy lie:
Sloth buries Fame, makes all great actions die.
I am the bed of rest, and couch of ease,
My conversation doth all creatures please;
The parent I of learning and of arts,
Religion's nurse, and comfort to all hearts;
I am the guardian, virtue safe do keep,
Under my roof she may securely sleep;
I am adorn'd with pastimes and with sports,
Each sev'ral creature still to me resorts.
A school am I, where all men may grow wise;
For prudent wisdom in experience lies;
A theatre, where noble minds do stand,
A mint of honour, coin'd for valour's hand;
I am a throne, which is for valour fit,
And a great court, where royal fame may sit;
A field, in which ambition much doth run;
Courage still seeks me, cowards only shun.