Milton warns Parliament’s general Fairfax that justice must break free from violence if “endless war” is to be avoided (1648)

John Milton

John Milton (1608-1674) extolls the success of General Fairfax, the head of Parliament’s New Model Army, in his war against the Royalists. However, Milton warns the general that war will only breed more war until “truth and right” are separated from the violence of war:

O yet a nobler task awaites thy hand;

For what can Warr, but endless warr still breed,

Till Truth, & Right from Violence be freed,

And Public Faith cleard from the shamefull brand

Of Public Fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed

While Avarice, & Rapine share the land.

General Thomas Fairfax (1612-1671) was the head of the New Model Army which defended the interests of Parliament in the English Revolution against the supporters of the Stuart Monarchy. The Siege of Colchester took place in 1648 when the Republican Army defeated Royalist forces in the town of Colchester in Essex after a lengthy siege.