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HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: I sprang to the stirrup, and joris and he
Last Line: From ghent.
Variant Title(s): Ride From Ghent To Aix
Subject(s): France; Horseback Riding; Messages & Messengers

I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris and he;
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
"Good speed!" cried the watch as the gatebolts
"Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through.
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest;
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.
Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace, --
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Then shortened each stirrup and set the pique right,
Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.
'T was a moonset at starting; but while we drew
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom a great yellow star came out to see;
At Duffeld 't was morning as plain as could be;
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the
half-chime, --
So Joris broke silence with "Yet there is time!"
At Aerschot up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past;
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear
bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his
And one eye's black intelligence, -- ever that glance
O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance;
And the thick heavy spume-flakes, which aye and
His fierce lips shook upward in galloping on.
By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris," Stay
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her;
We'll remember at Aix," -- for one heard the quick
Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and stagger-
ing knees,
And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So we were left galloping, Joris and I
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh;
'Neath our feet broke the brittle, bright stubble like
Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white,
And "Gallop," gasped Joris, "for Aix is in sight!"
"How they'll greet us! " -- and all in a moment his
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.
Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet name, my horse without
peer, --
Clapped my hands, laughed and sung, any noise, bad
or good,
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
And all I remember is, friends flocking round,
As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news
from Ghent.

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