An Excerpt from
 Fulke Greville's

A Treatie of Warres


I

Peace is the haruest of Mans rich creation,
Where Wit and Paine haue scope to sow, and reape
The minde, by Arts, to worke her eleuation ;
Care is sold deare, and Sloth is neuer cheape,
    Beyond the intent of Nature it proues
    The earth, and fruitfull industry it loues.

2

Vnder the ground concealements it discouers ;
It doth giue forme, and matter multiply ;
Her arts beget on Nature like a louer ;
But for increase, no seeds within her dye :
    Exchange, the language is she speakes to all ;
    Yet least confusion feeles of Babels fall.

3

Seas yeeld their fish, and Wildernesse their woods,
Foules for her food, and feathers for her pleasure,
Beasts yeeld their labour, fleeces, flesh, and blouds,
The Elements become her seruants, and her treasure ;
    To her alone, God made no Creature vaine,
    No power, but Need, is idle in her raigne.

4

When she hath wrought on earth, she Man improues,
A shop of Arts, a rich and endlesse mine,
Workes by his labour, wit, his feare, and loue,
And in refining him, all else refines ;
    Nature yeelds but the matter, Man the forme,
    Which makes the world a manifold returne.

5

His good, and ill, his need, and vanity,
Both sets himselfe a-worke, and others too ;
Trades, and exchangeth our humanity ;
Her Marts are more than Lawes, to make men doe ;
    Nature brings nothing forth that is not wrought,
    And Art workes nothing on her but is bought.

6

If Peace be such, what must we thinke of Warre,
But Horrour from aboue, below Confusion,
Where the vnhappy onely happy are,
As making mischiefe euer her conclusion ;
    Scourges of God, figures of hell to come,
    Of vanity, a vaine, infamous tombe.

7

Where neither Throne, nor Crowne haue reuerence,
Sentence, nor Writ, nor Sergeant be in fashion ;
All terror scorn'd, of guiltinesse no sense ;
A Discipline whereof the rule is Passion :
    And as mens vices, beasts chiefe vertues are,
    So be the shames of Peace, the Pride of Warre.

8

Here Northerne bodies vanquish Southerne wit,
Greeke Sciences obey the Romane pride,
Order serues both to saue, and kill with it,
Wisdome to ruine onely is apply'd :
    Fame, Worth, Religion, all doe but assure,
    Vain Man, which way to giue wounds, and endure.

9

And when the reines of humane hope and feare,
Are thus laid on our neckes, and order chang'd,
Pride will no more the yoke of heauen beare,
Nor our desires in any bounds be rang'd ;
    The world must take new forms of wrong and right,
    For Warre did neuer loue things definite.

10

Here Bookes are burnt, faire monuments of minde,
Here Ignorance doth on all Arts tyrannise,
Vertue no other mould but Courage findes,
All other being in her being dyes ;
    Wisdome of times grows infancy againe,
    Beasts rule in man, and men doe beastly raigne.
11

Audit the end : how can Humanity
Preserved be in ruine of Mankinde?
Both Feare, and Courage feele her cruelty,
The good, and bad, like fatall ruine finde :
    Her enemies doe still prouide her food,
    From those she ruines, she receiues her good.





Source:
Greville, Fulke. Poems and Dramas of Fulke Greville.
Geoffrey Bullough, ed.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1945. 214-216.




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