The Arab's Farewell To His Horse Poem by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

The Arab's Farewell To His Horse

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MY beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by
With thy proudly arched and glossy neck, and dark and fiery eye;
Fret not to roam the desert now, with all thy winged speed-
I may not mount on thee again-thou'rt sold, my Arab steed!
Fret not with that impatient hoof-snuff not the breezy wind-
The further that thou fliest now, so far am I behind;
The stranger hath thy bridle rein-thy master hath his gold-
Fleet-limbed and beautiful! farewell! -thou'rt sold, my steed-thou'rt sold!

Farewell! those free untired limbs, full many a mile must roam,
To reach the chill and wintry sky, which clouds the stranger's home;
Some other hand, less fond, must now thy corn and bed prepare;
The silky mane I braided once, must be another's care!
The morning sun shall dawn again, but never more with thee
Shall I gallop through the desert paths, where we were wont to be:
Evening shall darken on the earth; and o'er the sandy plain
Some other steed, with slower step, shall bear me home again.

Yes, thou must go! the wild free breeze, the brilliant sun and sky,
Thy master's home-from all of these, my exiled one must fly.
Thy proud dark eye will grow less proud, thy step become less fleet,
And vainly shalt thou arch thy neck, thy master's hand to meet.
Only in sleep shall I behold that dark eye, glancing bright
Only in sleep shall hear again that step so firm and light:

And when I raise my dreaming arm to check or cheer thy speed,
Then must I starting wake, to feel-thou'rt sold, my Arab steed!

Ah! rudely then, unseen by me, some cruel hand may chide,
Till foam-wreaths lie, like crested waves, along thy panting side:
And the rich blood, that is in thee swells, in thy indignant pain,
Till careless eyes, which rest on thee, may count each started vein.
Will they ill-use thee? If I thought-but no, it cannot be-
Thou art so swift, yet easy curbed; so gentle, yet so free.
And yet, if haply when thou'rt gone, my lonely heart should yearn-
Can the hand which casts thee from it now, command thee to return?

Return! -alas! my Arab steed! what shall thy master do,
When thou who wert his all of joy, hast vanished from his view?
When the dim distance cheats mine eye, and through the gath'ring tears
Thy bright form, for a moment, like the false mirâge appears.
Slow and unmounted will I roam, with weary foot alone,
Where with fleet step, and joyous bound, thou oft hast borne me on;
And, sitting down by that green well, I'll pause and sadly think,
'It was here he bowed his glossy neck, when last I saw him drink! '

When last I saw thee drink! -away! the fevered dream is o'er-
I could not live a day, and know, that we should meet no more!
They tempted me, my beautiful! for hunger's power is strong-
They tempted me, my beautiful! but I have loved too long.
Who said that I had given thee up? Who said that thou wert sold?
'Tis false-'tis false, my Arab steed! I fling them back their gold!
Thus, thus, I leap upon thy back, and scour the distant plains;
Away! who overtakes us now, shall claim thee for his pains!

Brian Jani 10 May 2014

Very good poem Caroline.

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Lesley O’Neil 10 August 2018

You do realize this was written in the 1800s? It’s a classic.

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* Sunprincess * 05 June 2014 amazing write.....could envision this beautiful nicely written..

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Linda Miller 22 February 2020

Norton’s biography is astonishing. This poem always makes me cry.

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Debbie 08 October 2019

aah, the memories of being a young girl with her much adored pony! I still have an arab - a rescue horse, at deaths door - and he's the sweetest little boy. I loved this poem then, and it's as much if not more beautiful now.

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Ibrahim El-Ayoud 07 March 2019

lovely poem

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Jean Sherer 25 February 2019

Poem mentioned in novel of Herman Wouk, The City Boy. I googled it, and poet Caroline Norton was mentioned in a recent Victoria story line. Very interesting.

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Lisa Cashman 13 February 2018

One of my favorite poems- for the last 40 years! As time would have it, I see/feel this poem about people too, not just my horses. Very touching.

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Aisha 27 December 2021

Can you give me theme to this poem

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Lesley O’Neil 10 August 2018

Yes—I’ve loved this poem since first reading it in the early 50s (I’m now 76.) used to be repeat the first stanza. Still love it!

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