The Horseback Ride

by Sara Jane Lippincott (Grace Greenwood)

When troubled in spirit, when weary of life, When I faint 'neath its burdens, and shrink from its strife, When its fruits, turned to ashes, are mocking my taste, And its fairest scene seems but a desolate waste, Then come ye not near me, my sad heart to cheer With friendship's soft accents or sympathy's tear. No pity I ask, and no counsel I need, But bring me, oh, bring me my gallant young steed, With his high archèd neck, and his nostril spread wide, His eye full of fire, and his step full of pride! As I spring to his back, as I seize the strong rein, The strength to my spirit returneth again! The bonds are all broken that fettered my mind, And my cares borne away on the wings of the wind; My pride lifts its head, for a season bowed down, And the queen in my nature now puts on her crown!
Now we're off—like the winds to the plains whence they came; And the rapture of motion is thrilling my frame! On, on speeds my courser, scarce printing the sod, Scarce crushing a daisy to mark where he trod! On, on like a deer, when the hound's early bay Awakes the wild echoes, away, and away! Still faster, still farther, he leaps at my cheer, Till the rush of the startled air whirs in my ear! Now 'long a clear rivulet lieth his track,— See his glancing hoofs tossing the white pebbles back! Now a glen dark as midnight—what matter?—we'll down Though shadows are round us, and rocks o'er us frown; The thick branches shake as we're hurrying through, And deck us with spangles of silvery dew!
What a wild thought of triumph, that this girlish hand Such a steed in the might of his strength may command! What a glorious creature! Ah! glance at him now, As I check him a while on this green hillock's brow; How he tosses his mane, with a shrill joyous neigh, And paws the firm earth in his proud, stately play! Hurrah! off again, dashing on as in ire, Till the long, flinty pathway is flashing with fire! Ho! a ditch!—Shall we pause? No; the bold leap we dare, Like a swift-wingèd arrow we rush through the air! Oh, not all the pleasures that poets may praise, Not the 'wildering waltz in the ball-room's blaze, Nor the chivalrous joust, nor the daring race, Nor the swift regatta, nor merry chase, Nor the sail, high heaving waters o'er, Nor the rural dance on the moonlight shore, Can the wild and thrilling joy exceed Of a fearless leap on a fiery steed!