Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WILD HORSE, by MARY ANN BROWNE



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THE WILD HORSE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Broad are the palms, whose boughs
Last Line: Of human tyranny is on the earth.
Alternate Author Name(s): Gray, James, Mrs.; Gray, Mary Anne Browne
Subject(s): Animal Rights; Animals; Horses; Human Behavior; Animal Abuse; Vivisection; Conduct Of Life; Human Nature


Broad are the palms, whose boughs
Shut out the sunshine from the little pool
Which lies, while noontide glows
Fierce in the Arabian heaven, serene and cool.
The reed, whose graceful stem
Riseth beside it, arrow-like and tall,
Mirrored in that pure gem,
Looks moveless as the few strong beams that fall
Upon the waters calm;
Yet here at even-tide the winds shall rise,
Bringing the wild flower's balm,
And singing low their vesper melodies.

But it is noon—high noon,
And a sound cometh up the forest glade,
Breaking the dreamy tune
By the small insects 'neath the leaflets made:
Nearer and nearer now,
And lo! with measured step of matchless force,
The white star on his brow,
He comes to rest him here, the desert Horse!
He stoops, and the long mane
Falls like a veil over the glossy neck,
That never curved to rein,
That no gay bells or silver trappings deck;

And through that falling shroud
The dark eye looks, with clear and steady gaze,
As if the steed were proud
Of the reflection of its freeborn rays,
Down in the water still
That bubbles with his breath, as from the lake
He drinks the draught so chill,
So sweet, the thirst of summer days to slake;
His head is raised again,
And yet he pauses for one downward look,
Then onward to the plain,
Fitter for him than the secluded nook!

Fitter in sooth for him!
His is the daring heart, the gallant front,
The strong and nervous limb,
All made to bear the summer's fiercest brunt.
Fitter for him the free!
Lo the earth scattereth from his bounding hoof,
As on he goes in glee;
The plain his palace, and the sky his roof.
He lifts his head on high,
And tosses back the forelock, that his gaze
May be upon the sky,
In the unclouded glory of its blaze.

He stops, and then doth start,
Even as he will; he owns no master's yoke—
His is the mighty heart
That never could be bowed, although it broke.
Oh never curb was made,
That might subdue the pulses of that steed;
Oh never hand was laid
Upon that neck, by nature's charter freed!
Better that he should lie
Beneath these cloudless heavens, a worthless corse,
Than bow in slavery,
The beautiful, the brave, the noble horse!
Better that he should fall
And perish, in the desert of his birth,
Than live to know the thrall
Of human tyranny is on the earth.





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