Poem: Harry Morant by Will H. Ogilvie

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Harry Morant was a friend I had
   In the years long passed away,
A chivalrous, wild and reckless lad,
   A knight born out of his day.

Full of romance and void of fears,
   With a love of the world's applause,
He should have been one of the cavaliers
   Who fought in King Charles's cause.

He loved a girl and he loved a horse
   And he never let down a friend,
And reckless he was, but he rode his course
   With courage up to the end.

"Breaker Morant" was the name he earned,
   For no bucking horse could throw
This Englishman who had lived and learned
   As much as the bushmen know.

Many a mile have we crossed together,
   Out where the great plains lie,
To the clink of bit and the creak of leather --
   Harry Morant and I.

Time and again we would challenge Fate
   With some wild and reckless "dare,"
Shoving some green colt over a gate
   As though with a neck to spare.

At times in a wilder mood than most
   We would face them at naked wire,
Trusting the sight of a gidyea post
   Would lift them a half-foot higher.

And once we galloped a steeplechase
   For a bet -- 'twas a short half-mile
With one jump only, the stiffest place
   In a fence of the old bush style.

A barrier built of blue-gum rails
   As thick as a big man's thigh,
And mortised into the posts -- no nails --
   Unbreakable, four foot high.

Since both our horses were young and green
   And had never jumped or raced,
Were we men who had tired of this earthly scene
   We could scarce have been better placed.

"Off" cried "The Breaker," and off we went
   And he stole a length of lead.
Over the neck of the grey I bent
   And we charged the fence full speed.

The brown horse slowed and tried to swerve,
   But his rider with master hand
And flaming courage and iron nerve
   Made his lift leap and land.

He rapped it hard with ever foot
   And was nearly down on his nose;
Then I spurred the grey and followed suit
   And -- praise to the gods -- he rose.

He carried a splinter with both his knees
   And a hind-leg left some skin
But we caught them up at the wliga trees
   Sitting down for the short run-in.

The grey was game and he carried on
   But the brown had a bit to spare;
The post was passed, my pound was gone,
   And a laugh was all my share.

"The Breaker" is sleeping in some far place
   Where the Boer War heroes lie,
And we'll meet no more in a steaplechase --
   Harry Morant and I.

First published in The Bulletin, 12 March 1947

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 15, 2011 8:59 AM.

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