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STANDARD PENNY

READINGS.

HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS

FROM GHENT TO AIX.

BY ROBERT BROWNING.

;

I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he ;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all

three; “Good speed!” cried the watch, as the gate

bolts undrew Speed !” echoed the wall to us galloping

through; Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to

rest, And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

B

Not a word to each other; we kept the great

pace Neck by neck, stride by stride, never chang

ing our place; I turned in my saddle and made its girths

tight, Then shortened each stirrup, and set the

pique right, Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker

the bit, Nor galloped lesss steadily Roland a whit.

'Twas moonset at starting ; but while we

drew near

Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned

clear;

At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see, At Düffeld, 'twas morning as plain as could And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard

be;

the half chime, So Joris broke silence with, “Yet there is

time!”

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun, And against him the cattle stood black

every one, To stare thro' the mistatus galloping

past, And I saw my stout galloper Roland at

last, With resolute shoulders, each butting away The haze, as some bluff river headland its

spray.

And his low head and crest, just one sharp

ear bent back For my voice, and the other pricked out on

his track;

And one eye's black intelligence—ever that

glance O'er its white edge at me, his own master,

askance! And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye

and anon His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris,

“Stay spur! Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not

in her, We'll remember at Aix” ——for one heard

the quick wheeze Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and

staggering knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the

flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered

and sank.

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