Author:

Part Ii: The Fields Of Coleraine

On the fields of Col’raine there’ll be labour in vain
Before the Great Western is ended,
The nags will have toil’d, and the silks will be soil’d.
And the rails will require to be mended.

For the gullies are deep, and the uplands are steep,
And mud will of purls be the token,
And the tough stringy-bark, that invites us to lark,
With impunity may not be broken.

Though Ballarat’s fast, and they say he can last,
And that may be granted hereafter,
Yet the judge’s decision to the Border division
Will bring neither shouting nor laughter.

And Blueskin, I’ve heard that he goes like a bird,
And I’m told that to back him would pay me ;
He’s a good bit of stuff, but not quite good enough,
‘Non licuit credere famae.’

Alfred ought to be there, we all of us swear
By the blood of King Alfred, his sire ;
He’s not the real jam, by the blood of his dam,
So I shan’t put him down as a flyer.

Now, Hynam, my boy, I wish you great joy,
I know that when fresh you can jump, sir ;
But you’ll scarce be in clover, when you’re ridden all over,
And punish’d from shoulder to rump, sir.

Archer goes like a shot, they can put on their pot,
And boil it to cover expenses ;
Their pot will boil over, the run of his Dover
He’ll never earn over big fences.

There’s a horse in the race, with a blaze on his face,
And we know he can gallop a docker !
He’s proved himself stout, of his speed there’s no doubt,
And his jumping’s according to Cocker.

When Hynam’s outstripp’d, and when Alfred is whipp’d,
To keep him in sight of the leaders,
While Blueskin runs true, but his backers look blue,
For his rider’s at work with the bleeders ;

When his carcase of beef brings ‘the bullock’ to grief,
And the rush of the tartan is ended ;
When Archer’s in trouble—who’s that pulling double,
And taking his leaps unextended ?

He wins all the way, and the rest—sweet, they say,
Is the smell of the newly-turn’d plough, friend,
But you smell it too close when it stops eyes and nose,
And you can’t tell your horse from your cow, friend.

Zu Der Edlen Yagd

I remember some words my father said,
When I was an urchin vain ;—
God rest his soul, in his narrow bed
These ten long years he hath lain.
When I think one drop of the blood he bore
This faint heart surely must hold,
It may be my fancy and nothing more,
But the faint heart seemeth bold.

He said that as from the blood of grape,
Or from juice distilled from the grain,
False vigour, soon to evaporate,
Is lent to nerve and brain,
So the coward will dare on the gallant horse
What he never would dare alone,
Because he exults in a borrowed force,
And a hardihood not his own.

And it may be so, yet this difference lies
‘Twixt the vine and the saddle-tree,
The spurious courage that drink supplies
Sets our baser passions free ;
But the stimulant which the horseman feels,
When he gallops fast and straight,
To his better nature most appeals
And charity conquers hate.

As the kindly sunshine thaws the snow,
E’en malice and spite will yield,
We could almost welcome our mortal foe
In the saddle by flood and field ;
And chivalry dawns in the merry tale
That ‘Market Harborough’ writes,
And the yarns of ‘Nimrod’ and ‘Martingale’
Seem legends of loyal knights.

Now, tell me for once, old horse of mine
Grazing round me loose and free,
Does your ancient equine heart repine
For a burst in such companie,
Where ‘the Powers that be’ in the front rank ride,
To hold your own with the throng,
Or to plunge at ‘Faugh-a-Ballagh’s’ side
In the rapids of Dandenong ?

Don’t tread on my toes, you’re no foolish weight,
So I found to my cost, as under
Your carcass I lay, when you rose too late,
Yet I blame you not for the blunder.
What ! sulky, old man, your under lip falls !
You think I too ready to rail am
At your kinship remote to that duffer at walls,
The talkative roadster of Balaam.

Cito Pede Preterit Aetas

A mellower light doth Sol afford,
His meridian glare has pass’d
And the trees on the broad and sloping sward
Their length’ning shadows cast.
‘Time flies.’ The current will be no joke,
If swollen by recent rain,
To cross in the dark, so I’ll have a smoke,
And then I’ll be off again.

What’s up, old horse ? Your ears you prick,
And your eager eyeballs glisten ;
‘Tis the wild dog’s note in the tea-tree thick,
By the river, to which you listen.
With head erect, and tail flung out,
For a gallop you seem to beg,
But I feel the qualm of a chilling doubt
As I glance at your fav’rite leg.

Let the dingo rest, ’till all for the best,
In this world there’s room enough
For him and you and me and the rest,
And the country is awful rough.
We’ve had our gallop in days of yore,
Now down the hill we must run ;
Yet at times we long for one gallop more,
Although it were only one.

Did our spirits quail at a new four-rail,
Could a ‘double’ double-bank us,
Ere nerve and sinew began to fail
In the consulship of Plancus ?
When our blood ran rapidly, and when
Our bones were pliant and limber,
Could we stand a merry cross-counter then,
A slogging fall over timber ?

Arcades ambo ! Duffers both
In our best of days, alas !
(I tell the truth, though to tell it loth)
‘Tis time we were gone to grass ;
The young leaves shoot, the sere leaves fall,
And the old gives way to the new,
While the preacher cries, ‘ ‘Tis vanity all,
And vexation of spirit, too.’

Now over my head the vapours curl
From the bowl of the soothing clay,
In the misty forms that eddy and whirl
My thoughts are flitting away ;
Yes, the preacher’s right, ’tis vanity all,
But the sweeping rebuke he showers
On vanities all may heaviest fall
On vanities worse than ours.

We have no wish to exaggerate
The worth of the sports we prize,
Some toil for their Church, and some for their State,
And some for their merchandise ;
Some traffic and trade in the city’s mart,
Some travel by land and sea,
Some follow science, some cleave to art,
And some to scandal and tea ;

And some for their country and their queen
Would fight, if the chance they had,
Good sooth, ’twere a sorry world, I ween,
If we all went galloping mad ;
Yet if once we efface the joys of the chase
From the land, and outroot the Stud,
GOOD-BYE TO THE ANGLO-SAXON RACE !
FAREWELL TO THE NORMAN BLOOD !

Where the burn runs down to the uplands brown,
From the heights of the snow-clad range,
What anodyne drawn from the stifling town
Can be reckon’d a fair exchange
For the stalker’s stride, on the mountain side
In the bracing northern weather,
To the slopes where couch, in their antler’d pride,
The deer on the perfum’d heather.

Oh ! the vigour with which the air is rife !
The spirit of joyous motion ;
The fever, the fulness of animal life,
Can be drain’d from no earthly potion !
The lungs with the living gas grow light,
And the limbs feel the strength of ten,
While the chest expands with its madd’ning might,
GOD’S GLORIOUS OXYGEN.

Thus the measur’d stroke, on elastic sward,
Of the steed three parts extended,
Hard held, the breath of his nostrils broad,
With the golden ether blended ;
Then the leap, the rise from the springy turf,
The rush through the buoyant air,
And the light shock landing—the veriest serf
Is an emperor then and there.

Such scenes ! sensation and sound and sight,
To some undiscover’d shore
On the current of Time’s remorseless flight
Have they swept to return no more ?
While, like phantoms bright of the fever’d night,
That have vex’d our slumbers of yore,
You follow us still in your ghostly might,
Dead days that have gone before.

Vain dreams, again and again re-told,
Must you crowd on the weary brain,
Till the fingers are cold that entwin’d of old
Round foil and trigger and rein,
Till stay’d for ay are the roving feet,
Till the restless hands are quiet,
Till the stubborn heart has forgotten to beat,
Till the hot blood has ceas’d to riot ?

In Exeter Hall the saint may chide,
The sinner may scoff outright,
The Bacchanal steep’d in the flagon’s tide,
Or the sensual Sybarite ;
But NOLAN’S name will flourish in fame,
When our galloping days are past,
When we go to the place from whence we came,
Perchance to find rest at last.

Thy riddles grow dark, oh ! drifting cloud,
And thy misty shapes grow drear,
Thou hang’st in the air like a shadowy shroud,
But I am of lighter cheer ;
Though our future lot is a sable blot,
Though the wise ones of earth will blame us,
Though our saddles will rot, and our rides be forgot,
‘Dum Vivimus, Vivamus !’

A Legend Of Madrid

Francesca

Crush’d and throng’d are all the places
In our amphitheatre,
‘Midst a sea of swarming faces
I can yet distinguish her ;
Dost thou triumph, dark-brow’d Nina ?
Is my secret known to thee ?
On the sands of yon arena
I shall yet my vengeance see.
Now through portals fast careering
Picadors are disappearing ;
Now the barriers nimbly clearing
Has the hindmost chulo flown.
Clots of dusky crimson streaking,
Brindled flanks and haunches reeking,
Wheels the wild bull, vengeance seeking,
On the matador alone.

Features by sombrero shaded,
Pale and passionless and cold ;
Doublet richly laced and braided,
Trunks of velvet slash’d with gold,
Blood-red scarf, and bare Toledo,—
Mask more subtle, and disguise
Far less shallow, thou dost need, oh
Traitor, to deceive my eyes.
Shouts of noisy acclamation,
Breathing savage expectation,
Greet him while he takes his station
Leisurely, disdaining haste;
Now he doffs his tall sombrero,
Fools ! applaud your butcher hero,
Ye would idolize a Nero,
Pandering to public taste.
From the restless Guadalquivir
To my sire’s estates he came,
Woo’d and won me, how I shiver !
Though my temples burn with shame.
I, a proud and high-born lady,
Daughter of an ancient race,
‘Neath the vine and olive shade I
Yielded to a churl’s embrace.
To a churl my vows were plighted,
Well my madness he requited,
Since, by priestly ties, united
To the muleteer’s child,
And my prayers are wafted o’er him,
That the bull may crush and gore him,
Since the love that once I bore him
Has been changed to hatred wild.

Nina

Save him ! aid him ! oh Madonna !
Two are slain if he is slain ;
Shield his life, and guard his honour,
Let me not entreat in vain.
Sullenly the brindled savage
Tears and tosses up the sand ;
Horns that rend and hoofs that ravage,
How shall man your shock withstand ?
On the shaggy neck and head lie
Frothy flakes, the eyeballs redly
Flash, the horns so sharp and deadly
Lower, short, and strong, and straight ;
Fast, and furious, and fearless,
Now he charges ;—Virgin peerless,
Lifting lids all dry and tearless,
At thy throne I supplicate.

Francesca

Cool and calm the perjured varlet
Stands on strongly planted heel,
In his left a strip of scarlet,
In his right a streak of steel ;
Ah ! the monster topples over,
Till his haunches strike the plain !—
Low-born clown and lying lover,
Thou hast conquer’d once again.

Nina

Sweet Madonna, Maiden Mother,
Thou hast saved him, and no other ;
Now the tears I cannot smother,
Tears of joy my vision blind ;
Where thou sittest I am gazing,
These glad, misty eyes upraising,
I have pray’d, and I am praising,
Bless thee ! bless thee ! Virgin kind.

Francesca

While the crowd still sways and surges,
Ere the applauding shouts have ceas’d,
See, the second bull emerges—
‘Tis the famed Cordovan beast,—
By the picador ungoaded,
Scathless of the chulo’s dart.
Slay him, and with guerdon loaded,
And with honours crown’d depart.
No vain brutish strife he wages,
Never uselessly he rages,
And his cunning, as he ages,
With his hatred seems to grow ;
Though he stands amid the cheering,
Sluggish to the eye appearing,
Few will venture on the spearing
Of so resolute a foe.

Nina

Courage, there is little danger,
Yonder dull-eyed craven seems
Fitter far for stall and manger
Than for scarf and blade that gleams ;
Shorter, and of frame less massive,
Than his comrade lying low,
Tame, and cowardly, and passive,—
He will prove a feebler foe.
I have done with doubt and anguish,
Fears like dews in sunshine languish,
Courage, husband, we shall vanquish,
Thou art calm and so am I.
For the rush he has not waited,
On he strides with step elated,
And the steel with blood unsated,
Leaps to end the butchery.

Francesca

Tyro! mark the brands of battle
On those shoulders dusk and dun,
Such as he is are the cattle
Skill’d tauridors gladly shun ;
Warier than the Andalusian,
Swifter far, though not so large,
Think’st thou, to his own confusion,
He, like him, will blindly charge ?
Inch by inch the brute advances,
Stealthy yet vindictive glances,
Horns as straight as levell’d lances,
Crouching withers, stooping haunches ;—
Closer yet, until the tightening
Strains of rapt excitement height’ning
Grows oppressive. Ha ! like lightning
On his enemy he launches.

Nina

O,er the horn’d front drops the streamer,
In the nape the sharp steel hisses,
Glances, grazes,—Christ ! Redeemer !
By a hair the spine he misses.

Francesca

Hark ! that shock like muffled thunder,
Booming from the Pyrenees !
Both are down—the man is under—
Now he struggles to his knees,
Now he sinks, his features leaden,
Sharpen rigidly and deaden,
Sands beneath him soak and redden,
Skies above him spin and veer ;
Through the doublet, torn and riven,
Where the stunted horn was driven,
Wells the life-blood—We are even,
Daughter of the muleteer !

Flowers Of The Rock

Flowers of the rock facing the green sea
with veins that reminded me of other loves
glowing in the slow fine rain,
flowers of the rock, figures
that came when no one spoke and spoke to me
that let me touch them after the silence
among pine-trees, oleanders, and plane-trees.

The Companions In Hades

<i>fools, who ate the cattle of Helios Hyperion;
but he deprived them of the day of their return. </i>
— Odyssey

Since we still had some hardtack
how stupid of us
to go ashore and eat
the Sun’s slow cattle,

for each was a castle
you’d have to battle
forty years, till you’d become
a hero and a star!

On the earth’s back we hungered,
but when we’d eaten well
we fell to these lower regions
mindless and satisfied.

Cinderella

I guess you think you know this story.
You don’t. The real one’s much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all soft and sappy
just to keep the children happy.
Mind you, they got the first bit right,
The bit where, in the dead of night,
The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
Departed for the Palace Ball,
While darling little Cinderella
Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
Where rats who wanted things to eat,
Began to nibble at her feet.

She bellowed ‘Help!’ and ‘Let me out!
The Magic Fairy heard her shout.
Appearing in a blaze of light,
She said: ‘My dear, are you all right?’
‘All right?’ cried Cindy .’Can’t you see
‘I feel as rotten as can be!’
She beat her fist against the wall,
And shouted, ‘Get me to the Ball!
‘There is a Disco at the Palace!
‘The rest have gone and I am jealous!
‘I want a dress! I want a coach!
‘And earrings and a diamond brooch!
‘And silver slippers, two of those!
‘And lovely nylon panty hose!
‘Done up like that I’ll guarantee
‘The handsome Prince will fall for me!’
The Fairy said, ‘Hang on a tick.’
She gave her wand a mighty flick
And quickly, in no time at all,
Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

It made the Ugly Sisters wince
To see her dancing with the Prince.
She held him very tight and pressed
herself against his manly chest.
The Prince himself was turned to pulp,
All he could do was gasp and gulp.
Then midnight struck. She shouted,’Heck!
I’ve got to run to save my neck!’
The Prince cried, ‘No! Alas! Alack!’
He grabbed her dress to hold her back.
As Cindy shouted, ‘Let me go!’
The dress was ripped from head to toe.

She ran out in her underwear,
And lost one slipper on the stair.
The Prince was on it like a dart,
He pressed it to his pounding heart,
‘The girl this slipper fits,’ he cried,
‘Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!
I’ll visit every house in town
‘Until I’ve tracked the maiden down!’
Then rather carelessly, I fear,
He placed it on a crate of beer.

At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,
(The one whose face was blotched with blisters)
Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,
And quickly flushed it down the loo.
Then in its place she calmly put
The slipper from her own left foot.
Ah ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,
And Cindy’s luck starts looking sicker.

Next day, the Prince went charging down
To knock on all the doors in town.
In every house, the tension grew.
Who was the owner of the shoe?
The shoe was long and very wide.
(A normal foot got lost inside.)
Also it smelled a wee bit icky.
(The owner’s feet were hot and sticky.)
Thousands of eager people came
To try it on, but all in vain.
Now came the Ugly Sisters’ go.
One tried it on. The Prince screamed, ‘No!’
But she screamed, ‘Yes! It fits! Whoopee!
‘So now you’ve got to marry me!’
The Prince went white from ear to ear.
He muttered, ‘Let me out of here.’
‘Oh no you don’t! You made a vow!
‘There’s no way you can back out now!’
‘Off with her head!’The Prince roared back.
They chopped it off with one big whack.
This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said,
‘She’s prettier without her head.’
Then up came Sister Number Two,
Who yelled, ‘Now I will try the shoe!’
‘Try this instead!’ the Prince yelled back.
He swung his trusty sword and smack
Her head went crashing to the ground.
It bounced a bit and rolled around.
In the kitchen, peeling spuds,
Cinderella heard the thuds
Of bouncing heads upon the floor,
And poked her own head round the door.
‘What’s all the racket? ‘Cindy cried.
‘Mind your own bizz,’ the Prince replied.
Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone
Who does that sort of thing for fun?

The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut?
‘Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’
Just then, all in a blaze of light,
The Magic Fairy hove in sight,
Her Magic Wand went swoosh and swish!
‘Cindy! ‘she cried, ‘come make a wish!
‘Wish anything and have no doubt
‘That I will make it come about!’
Cindy answered, ‘Oh kind Fairy,
‘This time I shall be more wary.
‘No more Princes, no more money.
‘I have had my taste of honey.
I’m wishing for a decent man.
‘They’re hard to find. D’you think you can?’
Within a minute, Cinderella
Was married to a lovely feller,
A simple jam maker by trade,
Who sold good home-made marmalade.
Their house was filled with smiles and laughter
And they were happy ever after.

The Old Man

An old man sat beneath a tree
Alone;
So still was he
That, if he had been carved in stone,
He could not be
More quiet or more cold:
He was an ancient man
More than
A thousand ages old.

The Cherry Tree

Come from your bed my drowsy gentleman!
And you, fair lady, rise and braid your hair,
And let the children wash, if wash they can;
If not, assist you them, and make them fair
As is the morning and the morning sky,
And every tree and bush and bird in air.

The sun climbed on the heights three hours ago,
He laughed above the hills and they were glad;
With bubbled pearl he made the rivers flow
And laced their mists in silver, and he clad
The meads in fragrant pomp of green and gold,
And bade the world forget it had been sad.

So lift yourself, good sir! and you, sweet dame,
Unlash your evening eyes of pious grey;
Call on the children by each loved name,
And set them on the grass and let them play;
And play with them a while, and sing with them
Beneath the cherry bush a roundelay.

The Daisies

IN THE scented bud of the morning—O,
When the windy grass went rippling far,
I saw my dear one walking slow,
In the field where the daisies are.

We did not laugh and we did not speak
As we wandered happily to and fro;
I kissed my dear on either cheek,
In the bud of the morning—O.

A lark sang up from the breezy land,
A lark sang down from a cloud afar,
And she and I went hand in hand
In the field where the daisies are.