And then I have a wond’rous tale
Of men all clad in coats of mail.
With glitt’ring swords——you nod, I think?
Your fixed eyes begin to wink:
Down on your bosom sinks your head:
You do not hear me, dad.
Brac’d in the sinewy vigour of thy breed,
In pride of gen’rous strength, thou stately steed,
Thy broad chest to the battle’s front is given,
Thy mane fair floating to the winds of heaven.
Thy champing hoofs the flinty pebbles break;
Graceful the rising of thine arched neck.
White churning foam thy chaffed bits enlock;
And from thy nostril bursts the curling smoke.
Thy kindling eye-balls brave the glaring south;
And dreadful is the thunder of thy mouth:
Whilst low to earth thy curving haunches bend,
Thy sweepy tail involv’d in clouds of sand;
Erect in air thou rear’st thy front of pride,
And ring’st the plated harness on thy side.
But, lo! what creature, goodly to the sight,
Dares thus bestride thee, chaffing in thy might?
Of portly stature, and determin’d mien?
Whose dark eye dwells beneath a brow serene?
And forward looks unmov’d to fields of death:
And smiling, gently strokes thee in thy wrath?
Whose brandish’d falch’on dreaded gleams afar?
It is a British soldier, arm’d for war!