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- Songs of Action - 5/12 -
It's up and away from our work to-day, For the breeze sweeps over the down; And it's hey for a game where the gorse blossoms flame, And the bracken is bronzing to brown. With the turf 'neath our tread and the blue overhead, And the song of the lark in the whin; There's the flag and the green, with the bunkers between - Now will you be over or in?
The doctor may come, and we'll teach him to know A tee where no tannin can lurk; The soldier may come, and we'll promise to show Some hazards a soldier may shirk; The statesman may joke, as he tops every stroke, That at last he is high in his aims; And the clubman will stand with a club in his hand That is worth every club in St. James'.
The palm and the leather come rarely together, Gripping the driver's haft, And it's good to feel the jar of the steel And the spring of the hickory shaft. Why trouble or seek for the praise of a clique? A cleek here is common to all; And the lie that might sting is a very small thing When compared with the lie of the ball.
Come youth and come age, from the study or stage, From Bar or from Bench--high and low! A green you must use as a cure for the blues - You drive them away as you go. We're outward bound on a long, long round, And it's time to be up and away: If worry and sorrow come back with the morrow, At least we'll be happy to-day.
THE DYING WHIP
It came from gettin' 'eated, that was 'ow the thing begun, And 'ackin' back to kennels from a ninety-minute run; 'I guess I've copped brownchitis,' says I to brother Jack, An' then afore I knowed it I was down upon my back.
At night there came a sweatin' as left me deadly weak, And my throat was sort of tickly an' it 'urt me for to speak; An' then there came an 'ackin' cough as wouldn't leave alone, An' then afore I knowed it I was only skin and bone
I never was a 'eavy weight. I scaled at seven four, An' rode at eight, or maybe at just a trifle more; And now I'll stake my davy I wouldn't scale at five, And I'd 'old my own at catch-weights with the skinniest jock alive.
And the doctor says the reason why I sit an' cough an wheeze Is all along o' varmint, like the cheese-mites in the cheese; The smallest kind o' varmint, but varmint all the same, Microscopes or somethin'--I forget the varmints' name.
But I knows as I'm a goner. They never said as much, But I reads the people's faces, and I knows as I am such; Well, there's 'Urst to mind the 'orses and the 'ounds can look to Jack, Though 'e never was a patch on me in 'andlin' of a pack.
You'll maybe think I'm boastin', but you'll find they all agree That there's not a whip in Surrey as can 'andle 'ounds like me; For I knew 'em all from puppies, and I'd tell 'em without fail - If I seed a tail a-waggin', I could tell who wagged the tail.
And voices--why, Lor' love you, it's more than I can 'elp, It just comes kind of natural to know each whine an' yelp; You might take them twenty couple where you will and let 'em run, An' I'd listen by the coverside and name 'em one by one.
I say it's kind of natural, for since I was a brat I never cared for readin' books, or fancy things like that; But give me 'ounds and 'orses an' I was quite content, An' I loved to ear 'em talkin' and to wonder what they meant.
And when the 'ydrophoby came five year ago next May, When Nailer was be'avin' in a most owdacious way, I fixed 'im so's 'e couldn't bite, my 'ands on neck an' back, An' I 'eaved 'im from the kennels, and they say I saved the pack.
An' when the Master 'eard of it, 'e up an' says, says 'e, 'If that chap were a soldier man, they'd give 'im the V.C.' Which is some kind a' medal what they give to soldier men; An' Master said if I were such I would 'a' got it then.
Parson brought 'is Bible and come to read to me; ''Ave what you like, there's everythink within this Book,' says 'e. Says I, 'They've left the 'orses out!' Says 'e, 'You are mistook;' An' 'e up an' read a 'eap of things about them from the Book.
And some of it amazin' fine; although I'm fit to swear No 'orse would ever say 'Ah, ah!' same as they said it there. Per'aps it was an 'Ebrew 'orse the chap 'ad in his mind, But I never 'eard an English 'orse say nothin' of the kind.
Parson is a good 'un. I've known 'im from a lad; 'Twas me as taught 'im ridin', an' 'e rides uncommon bad; And he says--But 'ark an' listen! There's an 'orn! I 'eard it blow; Pull the blind from off the winder! Prop me up, and 'old me so.
They're drawin' the black 'anger, just aside the Squire's grounds. 'Ark and listen! 'Ark and listen! There's the yappin' of the 'ounds: There's Fanny and Beltinker, and I 'ear old Boxer call; You see I wasn't boastin' when I said I knew 'em all.
Let me sit an' 'old the bedrail! Now I see 'em as they pass: There's Squire upon the Midland mare, a good 'un on the grass; But this is closish country, and you wants a clever 'orse When 'alf the time you're in the woods an' 'alf among the gorse.
'Ark to Jack a'ollering--a-bleatin' like a lamb. You wouldn't think it now, perhaps, to see the thing I am; But there was a time the ladies used to linger at the meet Just to 'ear me callin' in the woods: my callin' was so sweet.
I see the crossroads corner, with the field awaitin' there, There's Purcell on 'is piebald 'orse, an' Doctor on the mare, And the Master on 'is iron grey; she isn't much to look, But I seed 'er do clean twenty foot across the 'eathly brook.
There's Captain Kane an' McIntyre an' 'alf a dozen more, And two or three are 'untin' whom I never seed afore; Likely-lookin' chaps they be, well groomed and 'orsed and dressed - I wish they could 'a seen the pack when it was at its best.
It's a check, and they are drawin' down the coppice for a scent, You can see as they've been runnin', for the 'orses they are spent; I'll lay the fox will break this way, downwind as sure as fate, An' if he does you'll see the field come poundin' through our gate.
But, Maggie, what's that slinkin' beside the cover?--See! Now it's in the clover field, and goin' fast an' free, It's 'im, and they don't see 'im. It's 'im! 'Alloo! 'Alloo! My broken wind won't run to it--I'll leave the job to you.
There now I 'ear the music, and I know they're on his track; Oh, watch 'em, Maggie, watch 'em! Ain't they just a lovely pack! I've nursed 'em through distemper, an' I've trained an' broke 'em in, An' my 'eart it just goes out to them as if they was my kin.
Well, all things 'as an endin', as I've 'eard the parson say, The 'orse is cast, an' the 'ound is past, an' the 'unter 'as 'is day; But my day was yesterday, so lay me down again. You can draw the curtain, Maggie, right across the winder pane.
Master went a-hunting, When the leaves were falling; We saw him on the bridle path, We heard him gaily calling. 'Oh master, master, come you back, For I have dreamed a dream so black!' A glint of steel from bit and heel, The chestnut cantered faster; A red flash seen amid the green, And so good-bye to master.
Master came from hunting, Two silent comrades bore him; His eyes were dim, his face was white, The mare was led before him. 'Oh, master, master, is it thus That you have come again to us?' I held my lady's ice-cold hand, They bore the hurdle past her; Why should they go so soft and slow? It matters not to master.
[Being an humble address to Her Majesty's Naval advisers, who sold Nelson's old flagship to the Germans for a thousand pounds.]
Who says the Nation's purse is lean, Who fears for claim or bond or debt, When all the glories that have been Are scheduled as a cash asset? If times are black and trade is slack, If coal and cotton fail at last, We've something left to barter yet -
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