William Henry Ogilvie
The Huntsman's Horse - Poem by William Henry Ogilvie
The galloping seasons have slackened his pace,
And stone wall and timber have battered his knees
It is many a year since he gave up his place
To live out his life in comparative ease.
No more does he stand with his scarlet and white
Like a statue of marble girth deep in the gorse;
No more does he carry the Horn of Delight
That called us to follow the huntsman's old horse.
How many will pass him and not understand,
As he trots down the road going cramped in his stride,
That he once set the pace to the best in the land
Ere they tightened his curb for a lady to ride!
When the music begins and a right one's away,
When hoof-strokes are thudding like drums on the ground,
The old spirit wakes in the worn-looking grey
And the pride of his youth comes to life at a bound.
He leans on the bit and he lays to his speed,
To the winds of the open his stiffness he throws,
And if spirit were all he'd be up with the lead
Where the horse that supplants him so easily goes.
No double can daunt him, no ditch can deceive,
No bank can beguile him to set a foot wrong,
But the years that have passed him no power can retrieve-
To the swift is their swiftness, their strength to the strong!
To the best of us all comes a day and a day
When the pace of the leaders shall leave us forlorn,
So we'll give him a cheer - the old galloping grey -
As he labours along to the lure of the Horn.
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