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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

R. St. John Tyrwhitt b. c.1826

The Glory of Motion

THREE twangs of the horn, and they ’re all out of cover!

Must brave you, old bull-finch, that ’s right in the way!

A rush, and a bound, and a crash, and I ’m over!

They ’re silent and racing and for’ard away;

Fly, Charley, my darling! Away and we follow;

There ’s no earth or cover for mile upon mile;

We ’re wing’d with the flight of the stork and the swallow;

The heart of the eagle is ours for a while.

The pasture-land knows not of rough plough or harrow!

The hoofs echo hollow and soft on the sward;

The soul of the horses goes into our marrow;

My saddle’s a kingdom, and I am its lord:

And rolling and flowing beneath us like ocean,

Gray waves of the high ridge and furrow glide on,

And small flying fences in musical motion,

Before us, beneath us, behind us, are gone.

O puissant of bone and of sinew availing,

On thee how I ’ve long’d for the brooks and the showers!

O white-breasted camel, the meek and unfailing,

To speed through the glare of the long desert hours!

And, bright little barbs, ye make worthy pretences

To go with the going of Solomon’s sires;

But you stride not the stride, and you fly not the fences!

And all the wide Hejaz is naught to the shires.

O gay gondolier! from thy night-flitting shallop

I have heard the soft pulses of oar and guitar;

But sweeter the rhythmical rush of the gallop,

The fire in the saddle, the flight of the star.

Old mare, my beloved, no stouter or faster

Hath ever strode under a man at his need;

Be glad in the hand and embrace of thy master,

And pant to the passionate music of speed.

Can there e’er be a thought to an elderly person

So keen, so inspiring, so hard to forget,

So fully adapted to break into burgeon

As this—that the steel is n’t out of him yet;

That flying speed tickles one’s brain with a feather;

That one’s horse can restore one the years that are gone;

That, spite of gray winter and weariful weather,

The blood and the pace carry on, carry on?