I am that dreadful, blighting thing,
Like rat holes to the flood.
Like rust that gnaws the faultless blade,
Like microbes to the blood.
I know no mercy and no truth,
The young I blight, the old I slay.
Regret stalks darkly in my wake,
And ignominy dogs my way.
Sometimes, in virtuous garb I rove,
With facile talk of easier way;
Seducing where I dare not rape,
Young manhood, from it’s honor’s sway.
Again, in awesome guise I rush,
Stupendous, through the ranks of war,
Turning to water, with my gaze,
Hearts that, before, no foe could awe.
The maiden who has strayed from right,
To me must pay the mead of shame.
The patriot who betrays his trust,
To me must owe his tarnished name.
I spare no class, nor cult, nor creed,
My course is endless through the year.
I bow all heads and break all hearts,
All owe me homage — I am FEAR.
— General George S. Patton Jr.