Drivers of cabs who ill-treat their horses are being specially searched for today by members of the S.P.C.A.
Now, you wouldn't imagine, to look at me, That I was a racehorse once. I have done my mile in -- let me see -- No matter. I was no dunce. But you'd not believe me if I told Of gallops I did in days of old. I was first in -- ah, well! What's the good? It hurts to recall those days When I drew from men, as a proud horse should, Nothing but words of praise: Oh, the waving hats, and the cheering crowd! How could a horse help being proud? My owner was just as proud as I; I was cuddled and petted and praised. My fame was great and my price was high, And every year 'twas raised. Then I strained a sinew in ninety-nine, And that's when started my swift decline. I was turned to grass for a year or so; Then dragged to an auction sale; And a country sport gave me a go; But how could I hope but fail? "A crock," said he. And I here began To learn of the ways of cruel man. A year I spent as a lady's hack -- I was growing old and spent -- But she said that the riding hurt her back; So we parted; and I went For a while - and it nearly broke my heart -- Dragging a greasy butcher's cart. Then my stifle went. And I, proud horse, Son of the nobly born, The haughty king of a city course, Knew even a butcher's scorn! So down the ladder I quickly ran; Till I came to be owned by a bottle man. And my bed was hard and my food was poor, And my work was harder still Dragging a cart from door to door -- The slave of Bottle-oh Bill. Till even he, for a few mean bob, Sold me into this hateful job. As I dozed and dreamed in the ranks one day, Thinking of good days past, I heard a voice that I knew cry, "Hey! Say, cabby, is this horse fast?" And he looked at me in a way I know. 'Twas the man I'd loved in the long ago. 'Twas my dear, old master of ninety-nine, And I waited, fair surprised. But ne'er by a look and ne'er by sign Did he show he recognised. Then I heard his words ('twas my last hard knock): "Why don't you pole-axe the poor old crock?" And he turned aside to a low-bred mare That was foaled on some cockie's farm, And he drove away. What do I care? I can come to no more harm. In a knacker's yard I am worth at least Some pence for a hungry lion's feast.
Herald, 20 May 1922
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002|