Lord Gort, per your request for another ancient war poem, here is one by the Roman poet Tibullus (54-19 BC). As the editor of one volume said about him, “Albius Tibullus was a dreamer and a pacifist, and, therefore, a rare Roman.”
The poem is QUITE long, so I’ve cut out a section about the Lares (family gods) and left about a third off of the end.
Quis fuit, horrendos primus qui protulit enses?
quam ferus et vere ferreus ille fuit!
tum caedes hominum generi, tum proelia nata,
tum brevior dirae mortis aperta via est.
an nihil ille miser meruit, nos ad mala nostra
vertimus, in saevas quod dedit ille feras?
divitis hoc vitium est auri, nec bella fuerunt,
faginus astabat cum scyphus ante dapes.
non arces, non vallus erat, somnumque petebat
securus varias dux gregis inter oves.
tunc mihi vita foret, Valgi, nec tristia nossem
arma nec audissem corde micante tubam:
nunc ad bella trahor, et iam quis forsitan hostis
haesura in nostro tela gerit latere.
sed patrii servate Lares: alvistis et idem,
cursarem vestros cum tener ante pedes.
at nobis aerata, Lares, depellite tela,
hostiaque e plena rustica porcus hara.
hanc pura cum veste sequar myrtoque canistra
vincta geram, myrto vinctus et ipse caput.
sic placeam vobis: alius sit fortis in armis,
sternat et adversos Marte favente duces,
ut mihi potanti possit sua dicere facta
miles et in mensa pingere castra mero.
quis furor est atram bellis accersere mortem?
imminet et tacito clam venit illa pede.
non seges est infra, non vinea culta, sed audax
Cerberus et Stygiae navita turpis aquae:
illic percussisque genis ustoque capillo
errat ad obscuros pallida turba lacus.
quam potius laudandus et hic, quem prole parata
occupat in parva pigra senecta casa!
ipse suas sectatur oves, at filius agnos,
et calidam fesso comparat uxor aquam.
sic ego sim, liceatque caput candescere canis,
temporis et prisci facta referre senem.
Who was he, who first forged the dreadful sword?
How cruel and truly of an iron will he was!
Then slaughter was created for men, then war was born,
Then a quicker way was opened to fearful death.
Or does he not deserve the blame at all, that we turn to evil
What he gave to slay the savage beast?
Gold is to blame, there were no wars
When the beechwood cup stood at the feast.
There were no fortresses, no palisades, and the leader of the flock
Sought sleep secure among the sheep.
Would I had lived then, Valgius, and not known of harsh arms,
Or heard with pounding heart the war-trumpet.
Now I’m dragged to war, and perhaps some foe
Bears the spear that will pierce my side.
Save me, Lares of my fathers: the same who raised me,
Running as a child before your feet.
From me, Lares, avert the bronze spears,
And a sacrifice of a pig from my full sty to you.
I will follow you in pure clothing, carrying the basket bound in myrtle,
And my own head wreathed in myrtle.
Thus may I please you: Let another be brave in arms,
And strike down enemy chiefs with the aid of Mars.
While I drink he can tell me his military deeds,
And draw his battlefields with wine.
What madness to call up dark death with war?
It hangs over us, and comes unseen on silent feet.
Below, no crops, no vines,
But only fierce Cerberus and the foul boatman of Styx’ waters.
There with hollow eyes and scorched hair,
A pale crowd wanders by the dark lake.
How much more should he be praised, who with his offspring
Spends a sluggish old age in his modest house!
He tends the sheep, and his son the lambs,
And his wife brings hot water for his tired body.
Thus may I be, and may my head grow glowing grey,
And recall the deeds of ancient times in old age.