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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Charles Graham Halpine (1829–1868)

The Trooper to His Mare

OLD girl that has borne me far and fast

On pawing hoofs that were never loath,

Our gallop to-day may be the last

For you, or for me, or perhaps for both!

As I tighten your girth do you nothing daunt?

Do you catch the hint of our forming line?

And now the artillery moves to the front,

Have you never a qualm, Bay Bess of mine?

It is dainty to see you sidle and start,

As you move to the battle’s cloudy marge,

And to feel the swells of your wakening heart

When our sonorous bugles sound a charge.

At the scream of the shell and the roar of the drum

You feign to be frightened with roguish glance;

But up the green slopes where the bullets hum

Coquettishly, darling, I’ve known you dance.

Your skin is satin, your nostrils red,

Your eyes are a bird’s, or a loving girl’s;

And from delicate fetlock to stately head

A throbbing vein-cordage around you curls.

O joy of my heart! if you they slay,

For triumph or rout I little care;

For there isn’t in all the wide valley to-day

Such a dear little bridle-wise, thoroughbred mare!