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SONGS FOR
BOYHOOD.
173
Few, few shall part where many meet! The snow shall be their winding-sheet, And every turf beneath their feet Shall be a soldier's sepulchre!
And the thick, heavy spume-flakes, which, aye and
anon, His fierce lips shook upward in galloping on.
By Hasselt Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, " Stay spur!
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her;
We'll remember at Aix"�for one heard the quick wheeze
Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and stagger�ing knees,
And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Loos and past Tongres � no cloud in the
sky; The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh, 'Neath our foot broke the brittle, bright stubble
like chaff; Till, over by Dalhem, a dome-tower sprung white, And, " Gallop !" cried Joris, " for Aix is in sight!"
" How they'll greet us!"�and, all in a moment, hit
roan Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone; And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight Of the news which alone could save Aix from her
fate, With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim, And with circles of red round his eye-sockets' rim.
Then I cast my loose buff-coat, each holster let
fall, Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all, Stood up in my stirrup, leaned, patted his ear, Called my Roland his pet name, my horse without
peer, Clapped my hands, laughed and sung�any noise.
bad or good� Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
And all I remember is friends flocking round, As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the
ground; And no voice but was praising this Roland of
mine, As I poured down his throat our last measure of
wine, Which (the burgesses voted by common consent) Was no more than his due who brought good news
from Ghent.
HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX.
Eobekt Browning.
I sprung to the stirrup, and Joris and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three.
" Good-speed!" cried the watch, as the gate-bolts
undrew; " Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through: Behind shut the postern, the lights sunk to rest, And into the midnight we galloped abreast.
Not a word to each other: we kept the great pace, Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our
place. I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight, Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique
right, Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the
bit, Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.
'Twas moonset at starting ; but while we drew
near Lokeren, the cocks crew, and twilight dawned
clear; At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see; At Duffield, 'twas morning as plain as could be; And from Mecheln church - steeple we heard the
half-chime; So Joris broke silence with " Yet there is time!"
At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun, And against him the cattle stood black, every one, To stare, through the mist, at us galloping past; And I saw my stout galloper, Roland, at last, With resolute shoulders, each butting away The haze, as some bluff river-headland its spray;
And his low head and crest�just one sharp ear
bent back For my voice, and the other pricked out on his
track; And one eye's black intelligence�ever that glance O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance;







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III