Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAST RACE, by ERNEST HAROLD BAYNES

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THE LAST RACE, by            
First Line: I have the mount on courage to-day
Last Line: As he noses me out at the wire.
Subject(s): Courage; Death; Valor; Bravery; Dead, The

I have the mount on Courage to-day,
And Death is riding the White,
Through the paddock gate, with a smile at fate,
To the track in the slanting light.

The odds on Death are short, they say,
And how shall a sportsman choose?
There is just one test, you must ride your best,
Then you win, if you win or lose.

We face the flag on our hill-rimmed course,
It falls to a perfect start.
No waiting race -- we must set the pace.
The pace that will break his heart.

On the long back stretch we lead by a length,
Old Courage asserting his pride,
Till Death shows fight and calls on the White
He rides! for he has to ride.

As we swing to the straight, we are still in the van,
My horse at the top of his speed,
With Death's coming fast -- we are nearing the last,
And the last is already decreed.

The horses, lapped to their saddle girths,
Rush through like a storm-swept fire --
Death wins! Bravo! But I laugh in his face,
As he noses me out at the wire.

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