A Dialogue betwixt Peace and War

War makes the vulgar multitude to drink
In at the ear the foul, the muddy sink
Of factious tales, by which they dizzy grow,
That the clear sight of truth they do not know,
But1 reeling stand, know not what way to take,                 5
And2 when they choose, ’tis wrong, so war they3 make.

Thou flattering and most unjust Peace,4 which draws
The vulgar by thy rhet’rick to hard laws,
Which makes them silly and5 content to be,
To take up voluntary slavery,                                                 10
Thou6 mak’st great inequalities beside:
Some bear like asses, some7 on horseback ride.

O War, thou cruel enemy to life,8
Unquiet9 neighbor, breeding always strife,
Tyrant thou art, to rest wilt10 give no time,                        15
And blessed Peace thou punish’st11 as a crime.
Factions thou mak’st in every public weal,
From bonds of friendship tak’st off wax and seal.
All natural affections are by thee12
Massacred; none escapes thy cruelty.13                               20
The root of all religion thou pull’st up,
Dost14 every branch of ceremony lop.15
Civil society is turned to16 manners base;
No laws or customs can by thee17 get place.
Each mind within itself cannot agree,                                 25
But all do strive for superiority.
In the whole world thou dost18 disturbance make;
To save themselves, none knows19 what ways to take.

O Peace, thou idle drone, which lov’st to dwell,
If it but keep thee20 safe, in a poor cell,                               30
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.
I the parent of learning am, and21 arts,                               35
Religion’s nurse,22 and comfort to all hearts.
I am the guardian, virtue safe do keep;23
Under my roof she may securely sleep.24
I am adorned with pastimes and with sports;
Each several creature still to me resorts.                             40

A school am I, where all men25 may grow wise,
For prudent wisdom in experience lies;
A theater, where noble minds do stand;26
A mint of honor, coined for valor’s hand.27
I am a throne, which is for valor fit,28                                  45
And a great court where royal29 Fame may sit.30
I am a large field, where doth ambition31 run.
Courage still seeks me; cowards do32 me shun.

  1. But] And 1653
  2. And] But 1653
  3. war they] a War 1653
  4. and most unjust Peace,] Peace, and most unjust, 1653
  5. and] Ones, 1653
  6. Thou] And 1653
  7. bear like asses, some] like to Asses beare, others 1653
  8. life,] Life! 1668
  9. Unquiet] Unquieted 1653
  10. wilt] will 1653
  11. punish’st] punishest 1653
  12. All natural affections are by thee] On Naturall Affections thou dost make 1653
  13. Massacred; none escapes thy cruelty.] A Massacre, that hardly one can ’scape. 1653
  14. Dost] And 1653
  15. lop.] cut. 1653
  16. is turned to] to 1664, 1668
  17. No laws or customs can by thee] Thou turn’st, no Laws nor Customs can 1664; Thou turn’st; no Laws nor Customs can 1668
  18. thou dost] dost such 1653
  19. knows] know 1668
  20. thee] the 1653
  21. I the parent of learning am, and] The Parent I’m of Learning and of 1664; The Parent I’m of Learning, and of 1668
  22. Religion’s nurse,] Nurse to Religion, 1653
  23. virtue safe do keep;] which keepes Vertue safe, 1653
  24. she may securely sleep.] security shee hath. 1653
  25. A school am I, where all men] I a great Schoole am, where all 1653
  26. A theatre, where noble minds do stand;] And am a Theatre to all Noble Minds, 1653
  27. honor, coined for valor’s hand.] true Honour, that Valour still coines. 1653
  28. throne, which is for valor fit,] high Throne for Valour to sit, 1653
  29. royal] all 1653
  30. sit.] get. 1653
  31. I am a large field, where doth ambition] A Field, in which Ambition much doth 1664, 1668
  32. cowards do] though Cowards 1653