To the Hon. Stephen Coleridge
[On his Labours in Mitigation of Animal Suffering]
SWORDSMAN of Mercy, merciless to these
Who feign that the All-Maker gladly sees
His lowlier creatures racked and riven while
Buys with their agony a dreadful ease,
Not uncompanioned fight you this good fight
Lords of invisible but invincible might,
The poets all are with you evermore,
Marching like morn upon the camps of Night.
They watch you 'twixt the cheers and jeers of
Grappling with cruelty in the dragon's den,
I say they all are with you from of old,
Partisans of that dauntless sword, your pen.
Dark are the times; Death feasts with bloody
When ruth is prone in dust, who heeds your
Yet fight, and faint not; still the stars
And poets acclaim, and Shakespeare leads the
No wonder! For the ancient legends say—
Telling great truth in the great Grecian way—
That horsed on Pegasus was Bellerophon,
When he with joy did the Chimaera slay.
William Watson. Retrogression and Other Poems. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1917.