The Opening Run

William Henry Ogilvie

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The rain-sodden grass in the ditches is dying,
The berries are red to the crest of the thorn ;
Coronet-deep where the beech leaves are lying
The hunters stand tense to the twang of the horn ;
Where rides are re-filled with the green of the mosses,
All foam-flecked and fretful their long line is strung,
You can see the white gleam as a starred forehead tosses,
You can hear the low chink as a bit-bar is flung.
The world's full of music. Hounds rustle the rover
Through brushwood and fern to a glad 'Gone away!'
With a 'Come along, Pilot! '-one spur-touch and over-
The huntsman is clear on his galloping grey;
Before him the pack's running straight on the stubble-
Toot-toot-too-too-too-oot ! ,_, Tow-row-ow-ow-ow ! '
The leaders are clambering up through the double
And glittering away on the brown of the plough.
The front rank, hands down, have the big fence's measure;
The faint hearts are craning to left and to right;
The Master goes through with a crash on The Treasure,
The grey takes the lot like a gull in his flight.
There's a brown crumpled up, lying still as a dead one.
There 's a roan mare refusing, as stubborn as sin,
While the breaker flogs up on a green underbred one
And smashes the far-away rail with a grin.
The chase carries on over hilltop and hollow,
The life of Old England, the pluck and the fun;
And who would ask more than a stiff line to follow
With hounds running hard in the Opening Run?

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