William Henry Ogilvie
Once We Went Gaily - Poem by William Henry Ogilvie
Once we went gaily with never a care,
And the bigger the fences, the bolder we were;
Once the wild wind was our spur and our lash,
Once we would laugh at the splinter and crash
As the rails broke behind us, and thrill to the call
Of twelve foot of water or five foot of wall.
Once we could cope with the bucker's demands,
Once the hard puller came back to our hands;
Once the green four-year-old, fretting and free,
Flinging the foam in white flecks to his knee,
Bent to our bidding and held us our place,
O'er the stiffest of country whatever the pace.
To blood running hotly, to hearts beating strong,
Not the longest of days was a moment too long;
‘Till the evening drew over its mantle of stars
We would ride to the hoof-beat and rattle of bars.
There was song in the gale, there was kiss in the rain;
Ah! Once we went gaily-but never again!
For the harsh years have stolen that magical zest
When with confident courage we rode with the best.
Now swift and unchallenged the braver may pass
On their reefing blood horses, hard held, on the grass;
The nerve is departed, the rapture denied,
And the chase must be left to the young ones to ride.
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