Hello Cruel World
Monday, February 27, 2006
War Prayer, repeated again
I am re-posting URLs for a short Mark Twain story (THE WAR PRAYER) I mentioned back on the 10th of October, 2002 (just before the Bali Bombing). It might be useful to keep bringing its message back into mind in the times we are going through: www.classicalfencing.com/sorrow/warprayer.html
While checking out some things about TV series Babylon 5 (parts of which reflect current subjects of interest). One of my reasons for reading science fiction (as opposed to sword & sorcery style fantasy or space-located varieties of westerns, &c) is that it can deal with all sorts of ideas & speculations about humanity, society, reality, &c.
[In-depth analysis of Babylon 5: www.midwinter.com/lurk/toc.html; www-theory.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~aaa/B5.Ref.html; www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_5],
I was intrigued to find episode title "The War Prayer" (Synopsis at www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/007.html Background at www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/007.html came from a short Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorn Clemens) story. Pertinent whenever & wherever someone is whipping up bellicose feeling, e.g. India v Pakistan, etc, etc, etc. He also is an interesting writer in several ways. Here we are rather fond of his comments about Australia when he visited.
Links to The War Prayer (It's been used recently too, about current subjects):
THE WAR PRAYER
An extract from the short story by Mark Twain
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth
to battle — be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go
forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.
O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds
with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale
forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the
guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us
to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us
to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing
grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children
to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and
hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy
winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring
Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it - for our sakes
who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract
their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way
with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their
We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love,
is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek
His aid with humble and contrite hearts.
The New York Times, April 24, 1910
MARK TWAIN --- PHILOSOPHER OF DEMOCRACY
The Serious Side of the Famous Humorist Whose Dominant Note Was Love of Liberty and Hate of Shams.
- Call a philosopher a humorist, and for the rest of his life, though he live to be more than 70, people will grin expectantly whenever he heaves a sigh...
This is a short biography of Twain/Clemens, with links to several stories:
and a more 'literary' discussion of him, especially his skepticism:
Down at Circular Quay in Sydney here, there is a "Writers' Walk" with inlaid plaques commemorating both Australian writers' work about Sydney & foreign writers' visits or their writing about us. Think he's there, commenting on his travels in Australia.
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