The Song of the Pen

A poem by Allan F. Wilson

Like my friend the Sword, I am fond of a drink,
And am intimate with the bottle,
But the tipple is never red blood, but ink,
Wherewith I moisten my throttle.
That the Sword is a mighty power I know,
Yet methinks I am more than its match.
For that which requires from the Sword a blow
I do with a quiet scratch.

That the Sword has travelled the wide world round
I am quite prepared to own,
But let me ask has it ever found
A spot where the Pen's unknown?
My faith! though the Sword in times past schooled
The various breeds of men,
To-day the affairs of the world are ruled
As much by the peaceful Pen.

Majestic indeed is the ship of steel
As it ploughs the billowy seas,
But the sailor in charge of the steering wheel
Can demolish it should he please.
Of the engine's strength we are often told
With its ponderous driving gear,
But its giant forces are all controlled
By the hand of the engineer.

I do not flash in the sun's bright ray,
'Midst the shouting of armed men.
Yet none the less must the Sword give way
To the mightier power of the Pen.
Yet which of us two has the greatest might
Let men for themselves decide:
'Tis the role of the Sword to drive and smite,
 'Tis that of the Pen to guide.


First published in Melbourne Punch, 14 November 1907.

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