Giovanni Verga: The Mother of Sorrows

Antiwar literary and philosophical selections

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Giovanni Verga:
From The House by the Medlar-Tree (1890)
Translated by Mary A. Craig

verga

In the group…there were two soldiers of the marine corps, with sacks on their shoulders and their heads bound up, going home on leave…They were telling how there had been a great battle at sea, and how ships as big as Aci Trezza, full as they could hold of soldiers, had gone down just as they were…

“It seems to me that those fellows are all mad,” said Padron Cipolla, blowing his nose with great deliberation. “Would you go and get yourself killed just because the King said to you, ‘Go and be killed for my sake’?”

***

The day after the rumor began to spread that there had been a great battle at sea, over towards Trieste, between our ships and those of the enemy. Nobody knew…

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