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The Veteran
(21 August 1869 – 30 January 1963 / Kelso, Scotland)

The Veteran

He asks no favour from the Field, no forward place demands
Save what he claims by fearless heart and light and dainty hands;
No man need make a way for him at ditch or gap or gate,
He rides on level terms with all, if not at equal weight

His eyes are somewhat dimmer than they were in days of yore,
A blind fence now might trap him where it never trapped before;
But when the rails stand clean and high, the walls stand big and bare,
There's no man rides so boldly as there's no man rides so fair.

There is no other in the Field so truly loved as he;
We better like to see him out than any younger three;
And yet one horseman day by day rides jealous at his rein
Old Time that smarts beneath the whip of fifty years' disdain.

He crowds him at his fences, for he envies his renown;
Some day he'll Cross him at a leap and bring a good man down,
And Time will take a long revenge for years of laughing scorn,
And fold the faded scarlet that was ne'er more nobly worn.

Here's luck! Oh! good, grey sportsman! May Time be long defied
By careful seat and Cunning hand and health and heart to ride,
And when that direful day be come that surely shall befall,
We'll know you still unbeaten, save by Time that beats us all!

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