George J Whyte Melville

The Galloping Squire

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Come, I'll show you a country that none can surpass,
For a flyer to cross like a bird on the wing,
We have acres of woodland and oceans of grass,
We have game in the autumn and cubs in the spring,
We have scores of good fellows hang out in the shire
But the best of them all is the Galloping Squire.
The Galloping Squire to the saddle has got,
While the dewdrop is melting in gems on the thorn,
From the kennel he's drafted the pick of his lot,
How they swarm to his cheer! How they fly to his horn!
Like harriers turning or chasing like fire,
I can trust 'em, each hound!' says the Galloping Squire.
One wave of his arm to the covert they throng,
Yoi! wind him! and rouse him! By Jove! he's away!'
Through a gap in the oaks see them speeding along,
O'er the open like pigeons, 'They mean it today!
You may jump till you're sick - you may spur till you tire!
For it's catch 'em who can!' says the Galloping Squire.
Then he takes the old horse by the head and he sails,
In the wake of his darlings, all ear and all eye
As they come in his line, o'er banks, fences and rails
The cramped ones to creep, and the fair ones to fly.
It's a very queer place that will put in the mire,
Such a rate one to ride as the Galloping Squire.
Rut a fallow has brought to their noses the pack,
And the pasture beyond is with cattle-stains spread,
One wave of his arm, and the Squire in a crack
Has lifted and thrown in his beauties at head.
'On a morning like this, it's small help you require,
But he's forward, I'll swear!' says the Galloping Squire.
So forty fair minutes they run and they race,
'Tis heaven to some! 'tis a lifetime to all,
Though the horses we ride are such gluttons for pace,
There are stout ones that stop, there are safe ones that fall,
But the names of the vanquished need never transpire,
For they're all in the rear of the Galloping Squire
Till the gamest old varmint that ever drew breath,
All stiffened and draggled, held high for a throw,
O'er the Squire's jolly visage, is grinning in death
Ere he dashes him down to be eaten below;
While the doves flutter out from a neighbouring spire

At the thrilling who-whoop of the Galloping Squire.
And the labourer at work, and the lord in his hall,
Have a jest or a smile when they hear of the sport,
In ale or in claret he's toasted by all,
For they never expect to see more of the sort.
And long may it be ere he's forced to retire,
For we breed very few like the Galloping Squire.

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George J Whyte Melville