The Song of the Pen by Allan F. Wilson

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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

Author: Allan Fullerton Wilson (1857-1917) was born in Glasgow, Scotland and arrived in Australia around 1861.  Wilson was educated in Geelong and Melbourne, and worked for his father before moving to rural Queensland and New South Wales to work on the land. He eventually returned to Geelong where he died in 1917.

Author reference site: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 14, 2011 7:18 AM.

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