Hate

by EDGAR GUEST (1881-1959)

They say we must not hate, nor fight in hate.
I’ve thought it over many a solemn hour,
And cannot mildly view the man or state
That has no thought, save only to be great;
I cannot love the creature drunk with power.
I hate the hand that slaughters babes at sea,
I hate that will that orders wives to die.
And there is something rises up in me
When brutes run wild in crime and lechery
That soft adjustments will not satisfy.

Men seldom fight the things they do not hate;
A vice grows strong on mildly tempered scorn;
Rank thrives the weed the gardeners tolerate;
You cannot stroke the snake that lies in wait,
And change his nature with to-morrow’s morn.
If roses are to bloom, the weeds must go;
Vice be dethroned if virtue is to reign;
Honor and shame together cannot grow,
Sin either conquers or we lay it low,
Wrong must be hated if the truth remain.

I hold that we must fight this war in hate
In bitter hate of blood in fury spilled;
Of children, bending over book and slate,
Slaughtered to make a Prussian despot great;
In hate of mothers pitilessly killed.
In hate of liars plotting wars for gain;
In hate of crimes too black for printed page;
In hate of wrongs that mark the tyrant’s reign
And crush forever all within his train.
Such hate shall be the glory of our age.

Edgar Guest Contemporaries
Louis Untermeyer
William Carlos Williams
Clarence Leonard Hay
Wallace Stevens

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