There will be those who turn off like a library light at six o'clock when confronted with the subtitle: From 2300 B.C. to the Present. Four thousand years of anything has always been rather much to contemplate between book covers. Mr. Bates has grouped the poetry by specific and general antiwar issues and attitudes. No one can fault the choices -- with a few exceptions, including an amiable ripple from Scotland concerning a Polaris base (""och, there's a monster in the loch""). From the Bible, Aristophanes to ""Ain't Gonna Study War No More,"" -- it's all meaningful and chosen with some care. However, as with many anthologies roaming the centuries and guided by theme, there is a troublesome diversity of historical context and thereby tone. With introductions by Louis Untermeyer and Kenneth Patchen (who contributes a poem), this is worthy but perhaps less immediately pertinent than Lowenfels' The Writing on the Wall (p. 725).