George J Whyte Melville

The Clipper that stands in the stall at the top

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Go strip him, lad! Now, sir, I think you'll declare

Such a picture you never set eyes on before.

He was bought in at Tatt's for three hundred I swear,

And he's worth all the money to look at, and more;

For the pick of the basket, the show of the shop,

Is the Clipper that stands in the stall at the top.



In the records of racing I read their career,

There were none of the sort but could gallop and stay,

At Newmarket his sire was the best of his year,

And the Yorkshiremen boast of his dam to this day;

But never a likelier foal did she drop,

Than this Clipper that stands in the stall at the top.



A head like a snake, and a skin like a mouse,

An eye like a woman, bright, gentle, and brown,

With loins and a back that would carry a house,

And quarters to lift him smack over a town!

What's a leap to the rest, is to him but a hop,

This Clipper that stands in the stall at the top.



When the country is deepest, I give you my word,

'Tis a pride and a pleasure to put him along,

O'er fallow and pasture he sweeps like a bird,

And there's nothing too wide, nor too high, nor too strong;

For the ploughs cannot choke, nor the fences can crop,

This Clipper that stands in the stall at the top.



Last Monday we ran for an hour in the Vale,

Not a bullfinch was trimmed, of a gap not a sign!

All the ditches were double, each fence had a rail;

And the farmers had locked every gate in the line,

So I gave him the office, and over them - Pop!

Went the Clipper that stands in the stall at the top.



I'd a lead of them all when we came to the brook,

A big one - a bumper - and up to your chin.

As he threw it behind him, I turned for a look,

There were eight of us had it, and seven got in!

Then he shook his lean head when he heard them go plop!

This Clipper stands in the stall at the top.



Ere we got to the finish, I counted but few,

And never a coat without dirt, but my own.

To the good horse I rode, all the credit was due,

When the others were tiring, he scarcely was blown;

For the best of the pace is unable to stop

The Clipper that stands in the stall at the top.



You may put on his clothes - every sportsman, they say,

In his lifetime has one that outrivals the rest,

So the pearl of my casket I've shown you today

The gentlest, the gamest - the boldest, the best –

And I never will part, by a sale or a swop,

With my Clipper that stands in the stall at the top!

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George J Whyte Melville