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There couldn't be,—for the Deacon's art
Had made it so like in every part
That there wasn't a chance for one to start.
For the wheels were just as strong as the thills,
And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
And the panels just as strong as the floor,
And the whipple-tree neither less nor more,
And the back-crossbar as strong as the fore,
And spring and axle and hub encore.
And yet, as a whole, it is past a doubt
In another hour it will be worn out!
First of November, 'Fifty-five!
This morning the parson takes a drive.
Now, small boys, get out of the way!
Here comes the wonderful one-hoss shay,
Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
Huddup!" said the parson.-Off went they.
The parson was working his Sunday's text,—
Had got to fifthly, and stopped perplexed
At what the-Moses-was coming next.
All at once the horse stood still,
Close by the meet'n'-house on the hill;
-First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill,—
And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
At half-past nine by the meet'n'-house clock,-
Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
-What do you think the parson found,
When he got up and stared around?
The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground!
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once,—
All at once, and nothing first,-
Just as bubbles do when they burst.
End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
Logic is logic. That's all I say.
HOW THE OLD HORSE WON THE BET.
DEDICATED BY A CONTRIBUTOR TO THE COLLEGIAN," 1830, TO
THE EDITORS OF THE "HARVARD ADVOCATE,” 1876.
'Twas on the famous trotting-ground,
The betting men were gathered round
From far and near; the "cracks" were there,
Whose deeds the sporting prints declare:
The swift g. m., Old Hiram's nag,
The fleet s. h., Dan Pfeiffer's brag,
With these a third-and who is he
That stands beside his fast b. g. ?
Budd Doble, whose catarrhal name,
So fills the nasal trump of fame.
There too stood many a noted steed
Of Messenger and Morgan breed;
Green horses also, not a few;
Unknown as yet what they could do ;
And all the hacks that know so well
The scourgings of the Sunday swell.
Blue are the skies of opening day;
The bordering turf is green with May;
The sunshine's golden gleam is thrown
On sorrel, chestnut, bay, and roan;
The horses paw and prance and neigh,
Fillies and colts like kittens play,
And dance and toss their rippled manes
Shining and soft as silken skeins,
Waggons and gigs are ranged about,
And fashion flaunts her gay turn-out;
Here stands each youthful Jehu's dreamn
The jointed tandem, ticklish team
And there in ample breadth expand
The splendours of the four-in-hand;
On faultless ties and glossy tiles
The lovely bonnets beam their smiles;
(The style's the man, so books avow;
The style's the woman, anyhow ;)
From flounces frothed with creamy lace
Peeps out the pug-dog's smutty face,
Or spaniel rolls his liquid eye,
Or stares the wiry pet of Skye.—
O woman, in your hours of ease
So shy with us, so free with these!
"Come on! I'll bet you two to one
I'll make him do it!" "Will you? Done!
What was it who was bound to do?
I did not hear and can't tell you,—
Pray listen till my story's through.
Scarce noticed, back behind the rest,
By cart and waggon rudely prest,
The parson's lean and bony bay
Stood harnessed in his one-horse shay-
Lent to his sexton for the day;
(A funeral-so the sexton said;
His mother's uncle's wife was dead.)
Like Lazarus bid to Dives' feast,
So looked the poor forlorn old beast;
His coat was rough, his tail was bare,
The gray was sprinkled in his hair;
Sportsmen and jockeys knew him not,
And yet they say he once could trot
Among the fleetest of the town,
Till something cracked and broke him down,-
The steed's, the statesman's common lot!
"And are we then so soon forgot?"
Ah me! I doubt if one of you
Has ever heard the name Old Blue,"
Whose fame through all this region rung
In those old days when I was young!
"Bring forth the horse!" Alas! he showed
Not like the one Mazeppa rode;
Scant-maned, sharp-backed, and shaky-knee'd,
The wreck of what was once a steed,
Lips thin, eyes hollow, stiff in joints,
Yet not without his knowing points.
The sexton, laughing in his sleeve,
As if 'twere all a make-believe,
Led forth the horse, and as he laughed,
Unhitched the breeching from a shaft,
Unclasped the rusty belt beneath,
Drew forth the snaffle from his teeth,
Slipped off his head-stall, set him free
From strap and rein,—a sight to see!
So worn, so lean in every limb,
It can't be they are saddling him!
It is! his back the pig-skin strides
And flaps his lank, rheumatic sides;
With look of mingled scorn and mirth
They buckle round the saddle-girth;
With horsey wink and saucy toss
A youngster throws his leg across,
And so, his rider on his back,
They lead him, limping, to the track,
Far up behind the starting-point,
To limber out each stiffened joint.
As through the jeering crowd he past
One pitying look old Hiram cast;
"Go it, ye cripple, while ye can ! "
Cried out unsentimental Dan ;
"A Fast-Day dinner for the crows!"
Budd Doble's scoffing shout arose.
Slowly, as when the walking-beam
First feels the gathering head of steam,
With warning cough and threatening wheeze
The stiff old charger crooks his knees;
At first with cautious step sedate,
As if he dragged a coach of state;
He's not a colt; he knows full well
That time is weight and sure to tell;
No horse so sturdy but he fears
The handicap of twenty years.
As through the throng on either hand
The old horse nears the judges' stand,
Beneath his jockey's feather-weight
He warms a little to his gait,
And now and then a step is tried
That hints of something like a stride.
"Go!"-Through his ear the summons stung As if a battle-trump had rung;
The slumbering instincts, long unstirred,
Start at the old familiar word;
It thrills like flame through every limb―
What mean his twenty years to him?
The savage blow his rider dealt
Fell on his hollow flanks unfelt;
The spur that pricked his staring hide
Unheeded tore his bleeding side;
Alike to him are spur and rein,—
He steps a five-year-old again!
Before the quarter pole was past,
Old Hiram said, "He's going fast."
Long ere the quarter was a half,
The chuckling crowd had ceased to laugh;
Tighter his frightened jockey clung,
As in a mighty stride he swung,
The gravel flying in his track,
His neck stretched out, his ears laid back,
His tail extended all the while
Behind him, like a rat-tail file!
Off went a shoe,—away it spun,
Shot like a bullet from a gun ;
The quaking jockey shapes a prayer
From scraps of oaths he used to swear;