Part II: The Fields of Coleraine

ON the fields of Col’raine there’ll be labour in vain

Before the Great Western is ended,

The nags will have toil’d, and the silks will be soil’d.

And the rails will require to be mended.


For the gullies are deep, and the uplands are steep,

And mud will of purls be the token,

And the tough stringy-bark, that invites us to lark,

With impunity may not be broken.


Though Ballarat’s fast, and they say he can last,

And that may be granted hereafter,

Yet the judge’s decision to the Border division

Will bring neither shouting nor laughter.


And Blueskin, I’ve heard that he goes like a bird,

And I’m told that to back him would pay me ;

He’s a good bit of stuff, but not quite good enough,

‘Non licuit credere famae.’


Alfred ought to be there, we all of us swear

By the blood of King Alfred, his sire ;

He’s not the real jam, by the blood of his dam,

So I shan’t put him down as a flyer.


Now, Hynam, my boy, I wish you great joy,

I know that when fresh you can jump, sir ;

But you’ll scarce be in clover, when you’re ridden all over,

And punish’d from shoulder to rump, sir.


Archer goes like a shot, they can put on their pot,

And boil it to cover expenses ;

Their pot will boil over, the run of his Dover

He’ll never earn over big fences.


There’s a horse in the race, with a blaze on his face,

And we know he can gallop a docker !

He’s proved himself stout, of his speed there’s no doubt,

And his jumping’s according to Cocker.


When Hynam’s outstripp’d, and when Alfred is whipp’d,

To keep him in sight of the leaders,

While Blueskin runs true, but his backers look blue,

For his rider’s at work with the bleeders ;


When his carcase of beef brings ‘the bullock’ to grief,

And the rush of the tartan is ended ;

When Archer’s in trouble—who’s that pulling double,

And taking his leaps unextended ?


He wins all the way, and the rest—sweet, they say,

Is the smell of the newly-turn’d plough, friend,

But you smell it too close when it stops eyes and nose,

And you can’t tell your horse from your cow, friend.


Published in ‘Sea Spray and Smoke Drift’ (1867).