[Editor: This poem by Marie E. J. Pitt was published in The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses (1911).]
We are the Arch-Destroyers! white-handed, soft and fair,
We kneel at the shrine of Fashion, our watchword “Never Spare!”
We are the Arch-Destroyers! timid-souled, frail and slim,
Who have ravaged earth’s war-worn borders to their faintest, furthermost rim.
Only the great dumb sorrow, that never was clothed in words,
Only the unwrit anguish of an army of bright-winged birds,
Measures our meed of triumph — echoes it everywhere —
We are the Arch-Destroyers, our watchword “Never Spare!”
We are the Arch-Destroyers! for us have the ships gone forth
And wrestled with dark and danger and the frost-fiend of the North!
We are the Arch-Destroyers! for us the ice gleams red,
Where, on the Arctic ice-floes, the seal-calf mourns her dead.
We, who have never shivered ’neath the shreds of a wretched clout,
Send for a splendid caprice our toiling bond-slaves out! —
And never a sea so sullen, and never a sky so grey,
That they flinch from the face of danger and nerve them to disobey.
We are the Arch-Destroyers! woes of the world attest! —
For us are the reeking altars of sacrifice daily drest! —
From the poles to the burnt equator our minions have riven and torn
From the shuddering brute creation the glories that we have worn.
The jewels that blazon bravely on bosom and haughty head
Flash forth with a baleful lustre grim messages from the dead!
The gold that is girt about us in bracelet and brooch and stud,
Is heavy with guilt of murder — is tarnished with mire and blood.
We are the Arch-Destroyers! — timid-souled, soft, and fair —
Queens of the world of Fashion, whose queendoms are everywhere,
Quick! to your posts, ye hallions! wielders of fire and steel,
Ours is the right pre-emptive to harry, and not to heal!
There is treasure yet for the winning, where the bones of the lost men lie!
There is treasure yet for the buying, no ransom but blood will buy!
Spare not, an ye would serve us! Serve us not, an ye dare!
For we are the Arch-Destroyers, our watchword “Never Spare.”
Marie E. J. Pitt, The Horses of the Hills and Other Verses, Melbourne: Specialty Press, 1911, pages 57-59
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