Oft have I seen, in gay, equestrian pride,
Some well-rouged youth round Astley's Circus ride
Two stately steeds--standing, with graceful straddle,
Like him of Rhodes, with foot on either saddle,
While to soft tunes--some jigs and some andantes--
He steers around his light-paced Rosinantes.
So rides along, with canter smooth and pleasant,
That horseman bold, Lord Anglesea, at present;--
Papist and Protestant the coursers twain,
That lend their necks to his impartial rein,
And round the ring--each honored, as they go,
With equal pressure from his gracious toe--
To the old medley tune, half "Patrick's Day"
And half "Boyne Water," take their cantering way,
While Peel, the showman in the middle, cracks
His long-lasht whip to cheer the doubtful hacks.
Ah, ticklish trial of equestrian art!
How blest, if neither steed would bolt or start;--
If Protestant's old restive tricks were gone,
And Papist's winkers could be still kept on!
But no, false hopes--not even the great Ducrow
'Twixt two such steeds could 'scape an overthrow:
If solar hacks played Phaëton a trick,
What hope, alas, from hackneys lunatic?
If once my Lord his graceful balance loses,
Or fails to keep each foot where each horse chooses;
If Peel but gives one extra touch of whip
To Papist's tail or Protestant's ear-tip--
That instant ends their glorious horsmanship!
Off bolt the severed steeds, for mischief free.
And down between them plumps Lord Anglesea!