They gathered on the strand, with a hatchet in the hand —
And the same was made of stone —
They pointed mammoth spears at the Puzzle of the Years
In the primal dusk alone.
They took the hollowed bole and they nosed it to the roll
In a neolithic dawn;
And sang a cave-man’s song as they crept the shores along —
Going westward with the morn.
Each new-found land they trod did they dedicate to god —
Who was fashioned out of wood;
They looted and they lied, and they devilled and they died,
And the whole result was good:
For the traders of the clan followed slowly on the van
Of the Doers who had done;
Till the merchant service grew from a single bark canoe
To a fleet of forty-one!
They bartered bone and hide for the goods of t’otherside,
And they cheated in the trade
That the daughter of a thief might be wedded to a chief —
So the hairy gossips said
When the Punic days were done and Hellenic days begun,
They were beating down the wind,
With their doers in the lead, and the crafty merchant breed
Rowing closely on behind.
And they cut, with classic oaths, many feeble foreign throats
For the benefit of Trade;
Ere they bore the wine and corn from the gateways of the morn,
That their fortunes might be made.
Then the Roman had his day, for his Doer led the way
With unfailing sword in hand;
He was valiant, and he knew that his gods would see him through
For his Roman Fatherland.
The Genoese out went, when the Pinta’s sails were bent,
On his great Immortal Quest,
And he pointed out the road for the trader and his load
To a newer world out west.
Old Magellan and his crew found another highway through;
They were doers in their day,
And their work on Earth was set, as the tasks appointed yet
Of the men who lead the way.
They have left a royal name which is called in song books, “fame;”
But their mighty hands are still,
They are resting near and far, where the quiet legions are
In the “havens by the hill.”
* * * * * * *
Till the coming of the years, when the aerial cannoneers
Sight their Krupps along the blue,
There will ever be a need for the grim and active breed
Of the Doers — who can do.
Let the trader to his stool! Let the teacher to the school!
Let the artist to his art!
It was ever then as now with the farmer at his plough,
And the merchant in the mart.
But, a grim, undaunted band they will strive by sea and land;
They will battle round and through:
And this rolling planet still shall be subject to the will
Of the Doers who can do.
And the further seas shall hold and the desert sands enfold
Their unconquered souls anew;
And the world shall know the sons and the galleys and the guns
Of the Doers who can do.
E. J. Brady, Bells and Hobbles, Melbourne: George Robertson & Co., 1911, pp. 162-164
blue = the phrase “the blue” is a reference to the sky
ere = (archaic) before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)
Krupps = artillery, cannons (the Krupp company was a manufacturer of armaments, which used by the military forces of Germany and other countries from the 1860s to 1945)
mart = market
morn = morning
t’otherside = (vernacular) the other side
van = an abbreviation of “vanguard”: in the lead, at the front; the advance unit of a military force; the forefront in an area, field, movement, profession, or science; the leaders of a cultural, intellectual, political, or social movement