On Riding Alone By Moonlight Over The Blue Mountains, When Returning From Bathurst—June, 1826.
WHILE the bright Moon ascends the height
Of Heaven most gloriously,
And sheds her beams of mellow light
On rock and forest-tree,
My little steed, this beauteous night,
I’ll wake my song for thee.
Full many a Bard has penned his ode
To Beauty’s fading charms,
And oft the song-inspiring God
Has sung wild war’s alarms;
But why should I, on this lone road,
Sing either love or arms!
I’ll sing of thee, my little steed,
Companion of my toil,
Whom I have found a friend in need
For many a long long mile.
Alas! man’s friendship is indeed
As transient as his smile.
Whether thou art a steed of birth
And lofty pedigree,
Whose sires have trod on Moslem earth,
Is all unknown to me.
But sure thou hast intrinsic worth
That best nobility.
Patient and cheerful thou hast trod
This solitary way;
Nor murmured at the toilsome road
In darkness or by day.
Would I had trod the path of God
As cheerfully alway!
Yet thou hast stumbled on thy path
And brought thy rider low—
Even to the very gates of death—
But sure, ’twas nothing new;
The very best of mortals hath
Stumbled and fallen too.
Thy trappings, neither new nor gay,
Befit thy rider well;
For sure in vanity’s array
Mid worldlings to excel,
Befits not him who points the way
From folly, sin and hell.
Thy wants are few. The splendid lord
(All happy tho’ he seem)
Thou enviest not his gilded board;
Nor dost thou ever dream
Of costlier fare than the green sward
And the pure mountain-stream.
And sure if self-deluded man
Would only copy thee,
And learn contentment’s simple plan,
From wild ambition free;
He’d live and die far happier than
The world’s nobility.
For whether life’s short journey lead
Through deserts wild and drear,
Or over lawn & flowery mead,
Its destined close is near.
The rider and his fiery steed
Are but a moment here!
Then let us run our mortal course
In virtue’s narrow way;
So shall we, like the victor-horse,
Be crowned on God’s great day,
Nor pine like millions in remorse
For ever and for ay!
© John Dunmore Lang