"Wo worth the chase. Wo worth the day,
That cost thy life, my gallant grey!" - Scott
The Hunter stooped o'er his dying steed
With sad dejected mien,
And softly stroked its glossy neck,
Lustrous as silken sheen;
With iron will and nerve of steel,
And pale lips tight compressed,
He kept the tears from eyes that long
Were strange to such a guest.
Thou'rt dying now, my faithful one,
Alas! 'tis easy known -
Thy neck would arch beneath my touch,
Thou'dst brighten at my tone;
But turn not thus thy restless eyes
Upon my saddened brow,
Nor look with such imploring gaze -
I cannot help thee now.
No more we'll bound o'er dew gemmed sward
At break of summer morn,
Or follow on, through forests green,
The hunter's merry horn;
No more we'll brave the rapid stream,
Nor battle with the tide,
Nor cross the slipp'ry mountain path,
As we were wont to ride.
Oh! we have travelled many miles,
And dangers have we braved;
And more than once thy matchless speed
Thy master's life hath saved;
And many nights the forest sward
Has been the couch we've pressed,
Where, pillowed on thy glossy neck,
Most sweet has been my rest.
How often, too, I we shared with thee
The hunter's scanty fare.
To see thee suffer want or pain,
Mute friend I could not bear;
And now, thou best in agony,
As if thy heart would burst,
And I, what can I do for thee,
Save slake thy burning thirst?
That parting sob, that failing glance -
The pains of death are past!
Thy glazing eyes still turned on me
With love unto the last!
Well may my tears o'er thy cold form,
My steed, flow fast and free,
For, oh! I have had many friends,
Yet none so true as thee!