Ode on War

by John Corry

Now martial music loudly sounds,
And rouzes ardent youth to arms;
With valour ev'ry bosom bounds,
Warm'd by fallacious Glory's charms:
Behold the death-despising train,
In thronging myriads on the plain,
In terrible array; —
Their polish'd arms reflect the light,
And, beauteous to the gazing sight,
In air, their banners play.

See, full advancing on the foe,
Another army meets the sight;
Now sulph'rous fires begin to glow,
And smoke involves their ranks in night;
Ten thousand jarring thunders tear
With deaf'ning noise, the smoaky air,
And groans and clamours rise;
Relentless Rage the face deforms —
With martial pride the bosom warms,
And lightens from the eyes.

Ah! Scene of woe! in youthful bloom,
The gasping soldier bleeding lies;
Death, raging 'mid the burning gloom,
With triumph views his prostrate prize.
Here lies the valiant husband, slain,
Whose widow shall, with frantic mein,
Bewail his sudden death;
And there the mangled youth, whose love
Shall, plaintive as the guiltless dove,
Mourn War's destructive wrath.

These are thy triumphs, horrid War! —
Depopulation, woe, and pain —
Thy desolation spread afar,
And famine wastes the cultur'd plain —
Sack'd cities, wealthy towns, in flames,
Where, horror-struck, Despair exclaims,
And blasted Misery —
The virgin's shriek — the widow's tear —
The infant's cry — the aged's fear —
All, all are caus'd by thee.

O, Peace ! thou friend of human kind,
With happiness the nations bless;
In everlasting fetters bind
Fierce War, and all his pow'r repress;
Then, to the spritely viol's sound,
Shall lively youths and maidens bound,
And songs of joy and love
Shall, swelling in the trembling air,
The kind return of Peace declare,
Deputed from above.

Last updated February 18, 2023