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The Last Leap

by
 ALL is over! fleet career, 
Dash of greyhound slipping thongs, 
Flight of falcon, bound of deer, 
Mad hoof-thunder in our rear, 
Cold air rushing up our lungs, 
Din of many tongues.
Once again, one struggle good, One vain effort;—he must dwell Near the shifted post, that stood Where the splinters of the wood, Lying in the torn tracks, tell How he struck and fell.
Crest where cold drops beaded cling, Small ear drooping, nostril full, Glazing to a scarlet ring, Flanks and haunches quivering, Sinews stiffening, void and null, Dumb eyes sorrowful.
Satin coat that seems to shine Duller now, black braided tress That a softer hand than mine Far away was wont to twine, That in meadows far from this Softer lips might kiss.
All is over! this is death, And I stand to watch thee die, Brave old horse! with bated breath Hardly drawn through tight-clenched teeth, Lip indented deep, but eye Only dull and dry.
Musing on the husk and chaff Gathered where life’s tares are sown, Thus I speak, and force a laugh, That is half a sneer and half An involuntary groan, In a stifled tone— ‘Rest, old friend! thy day, though rife With its toil, hath ended soon; We have had our share of strife, Tumblers in the masque of life, In the pantomime of noon Clown and pantaloon.
‘With a flash that ends thy pain, Respite and oblivion blest Come to greet thee.
I in vain Fall: I rise to fall again: Thou hast fallen to thy rest— And thy fall is best

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