William Henry Ogilvie

The Pilot

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Time was when the sportsman, with chivalrous care,
Would find a safe line for his follower fair,
And clearing the double stiff-planted and strong ,
Would turn in his saddle to cheer her along.
But now we've for pilot a damsel astride
On a stud-book and blood one, determined to ride,
With an eye for a country and vowed to the van;
And the slow ones may keep her in sight if they can.
As she lashes along in the wake of the pack
Not a man need expect her to pause or look back,
And the laggards who ride on her resolute trail
Need not wait for her cheer over bullfinch or rail.
To those who may follow not hers to give heed
So long as no rival shall challenge her lead!
If she levels a gap, if she smashes a bar,
They may take it or leave it, whoever they are.
As she rips at her fences our ears she may shock
With the' Damn you, come up !' of the steeplechase jock;
Should we choose her picked panel, avoiding a worse,
We may find ourselves warned with a suitable curse.
Yet later, at tea, she's all glamour and charm,
Low-voiced, with a laughter and smile that disarm ;
And, witched by her grace, we forget what we heard,
While we only remember she went like a bird.

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William Henry Ogilvie