Peace! Peace! God of our fathers, grant us peace!
Peace in our hearts – at thine altars, peace.
Peace on the red waters and their blighted shores -
Peace for the leaguered city and the boats
That watch and bleed around them and within -
Peace for the homeless and the fatherless;
For the captive on his weary way
And the rude crowd who jeer his helplessness;
For them that suffer – them that do this wrong -
Sinning and sinned against – O! God, for all,
For a distracted, lorn and bleeding land.
Speed the glad tidings – Give us, give us peace.



Publication:Colne and Nelson Guardian

Published in:Colne


Keywords:peace, religion, war


This untitled and anonymous poem discovered by Maggie Simms of the University of the Third Age calls for peace in the face of devastating conflict. Although it does not specify the war that it describes its publication date and the context of its placing in a Lancashire cotton town newspaper strongly suggest that it refers to the American Civil War. The poem is emphatic in its pacifist stance and the anaphoric repetition of the term ‘peace’ at the beginning of the first four lines combines with the religious language and imagery to make this an impassioned call. It was certainly the case that the American war was by this time the bloodiest in history, and that it had dragged on longer than most commentators had predicted. The poem does not mention the economic cost to Britain or the Lancashire region of the war, but nor does it mention the issue of slavery at its heart. – SR