you'll like this...

I think I may have put this in before, but kind of in the same line (maybe?):
"The hammer shatters glass but forges steel."
-Russian proverb
You know, the bit about Blood and Iron sounds a lot like something Otto von Bismark said after the Congress of Berlin. Hmmm.... have to do some research on that. More to follow.
OK, found it - sorry for the delay. This is indeed a paraphrase of part of a remark that Otto von Bismarck made September 30, 1862 to the Prussian House of Delegates:

Germany does not look to Prussia's liberalism but to its power. Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden may indulge liberal impulses, but nobody will cast them in Prussia's role for that reason. Prussia must gather its forces and maintain them for the favorable moment, which has already been missed several times. The borders established for Prussia at the Vienna Congress are not favorable for the healthy life of the state. The great issues of the day are not decided through speeches and majority resolutions--that was the great error of 1848 and 1849--but through blood and iron.

[After attacks from the Progressives, Bismarck returned to the podium.]

I must protest that I would never seek foreign conflicts just to get over domestic difficulties; that would be frivolous. I was speaking of conflicts that we could not avoid, even though we do not seek them.

I think the original phrasing was iron and blood (Eisen und Blut), but it was later reversed, as it sounds better as Blood and Iron (Blut und Eisen).

Except Bismarck was speaking about how political issues are decided and Swinburne is talking about the formation of a country. Granted Swinburne might have taken blood and iron from Bismarck but Swinburne still put it into that specific wording, which I like. Anyone ever read "A Word for Country"? I haven't, just curious what it's about.
I haven't read the book either, but you're right it sounds very intriguing (have to take a look) and I agree that Swinburne's phrasing is very good.

However, I disagree with you on the point you made about what Bismarck was speaking about. The political issues he was referring to were those concerning the formation of a unified Germany - look at the date, 1862 - just before the last series of wars that decided who had primacy in Germany (Prussia or Austria) and who was the dominant land power in Europe (The Germany Empire or France). So Swinburne and Bismarck were really referring to the same subject. Scary, yes? :wink:
“Not with dreams but with blood and iron
Shall a nation be moulded at last.”

Ive never heard of the man who wrote this book or the quote itself, but it sounds like somthing early Fascists (futurists Ive heard them called) would have said. It really emplifies the ideology of a "need" for war and conflict, and in a way the concept of Social Darwinism.