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(21 August 1869 – 30 January 1963 / Kelso, Scotland)

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A Gallop from the Train

Though I can't afford a hunter -more's the pity,
I love a rousing gallop like the rest!-
Every morning as I travel to the city
I have five and forty minutes of the best.

As we leave our country station there's a holloa
(If it's but the engine whistle, never mind!).
By the window I am sitting, and I follow
Where the horn of fancy tells me of a find.

Through the rattle of our going comes the chorus,
'Tis a south wind and a proper scenting day,
There's a topping piece of country spread before us,
And I'll jump it all in fancy on the grey.

How he dances as I edge him through the others;
He is fond of this finessing for a start,
Just a little bit more eager than his brothers
By a beat, or maybe two beats of his heart

There's a gap we know of leading from the stubble,
And we have it while the other people pass.
A crash behind us! Some one tasting trouble!
We are over, in the lead, and on the grass.

How he lays him down to revel in his freedom!
How he snatches at his snaffle as he goes!
The field will have to gallop when we lead 'em!
Hark, behind us! There's another on his nose!

Here's an oak rail with a trappy ditch behind it,
And I feel the little beggar-shortening stride.
It's a big one, but I know he wouldn't mind it
Were it twice as big and half again as wide!

So I catch him by the head a little shorter,
And his answer comes a-thrilling from the bit;
Then I loose him, and he flies it. What a snorter!
And he never made the shadow of a hit!

So we take those rasping fences -well, perhaps a wee bit faster
Than we'd take 'em if we were not on a train!
And there's not a soul before us but the huntsman and the Master
And a toiling field is squandered once again.

By a grey suburban station, to the sullen air-brake's grinding,
We kill our dog fox handsomely at last.
It was five and forty minutes to the finish from the finding-
And at fifty miles an hour 'twas pretty fast!

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010


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