Posts tagged ‘war’



Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.

Carl Sandburg, “The People, Yes” (1936)



The most persistent sound which reverberates through men’s history is the beating of war drums.

Arthur Koestler, Janus: A Summing Up (1978)


a mighty heart

…The generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing. While we are permitted to scorn nothing but indifference, and do not pretend to undervalue the worldly rewards of ambition, we have seen with our own eyes, beyond and above the gold fields, the snowy heights of honor, and it is for us to bear the report to those who come after us. But, above all, we have learned that whether a man accepts from Fortune her spade, and will look downward and dig, or from Aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Memorial Day” (1884)



One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.

Agatha Christie, Autobiography (1977)



Lord, bid war’s trumpet cease; / Fold the whole earth in peace.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, “God Bless our Fatherland” (1910?)


a cause

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill, “The Contest in America,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (1862)


the grateful

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?

George Canning, “The Pilot That Weathered the Storm” (1802)


the wounded

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.

Jose Narosky, Si todos los tiempos (1977)

Note: The first record I could find of this quote being translated into English is in Reader’s Digest, vol. 118, issue 1. (1981)


so small a number

It may be doubted whether so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater and more lasting effects upon the history of the world.

George Otto Trevelyan, The American Revolution, vol. 2 (1905)*

*The three-volume set was published in 1905; Volume 2 may have been published earlier on its own.

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