There's a line of rails on an upland green
With a good take-off and a landing sound,
Six fences grim as were ever seen,
And it's there I would be with fox and hound.
Oh, that was a country free and fair
For the raking stride of my old grey mare!
With her raking stride, and her head borne high,
And her ears a-prick, and her heart a-flame,
And the steady look of her deep brown eye,
I warrant the grey mare knew the game:
It was "Up to it, lass," and before I knew
We were up and over, and on we flew.
The rooks from the grass got up, and so,
With a caw and flap, away they went;
When the grey mare made up her mind to go
At the tail of the bounds on a breast-high scent,
The best of the startled rooks might fail
To match her flight over post and rail.
While some of the thrusters grew unnerved,
And looked and longed for an open gate,
And one crashed down and another swerved,
She went for it always true and straight:
She pounded the lot, for she made it good
With never a touch of splintered wood.
Full many a year has come and gone
Since last she gathered her spring for me,
And lifted me up, and so flew on
Unchecked in a country fair and free.
I've ridden a score since then, but ne'er
Crossed one that could live with the old grey mare.