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The Day that is Dead

Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant 1864 (Bridgwater, Somerset) – 1902 (Pretoria)



Ah, Jack! Time finds us feeble men,
  And all too swift our years have flown.
The days are different now to then -
  In that time when we rode ten stone.

The minstrel when his mem'ry goes
  To old times, tunes a doleful lay -
Comparing modern nags with those
  Which Lee once bred down Bathurst way.

The type to-day's a woeful weed,
  Which lacks the stoutness, strength and bone
Of horses they were wont to breed
  In those days - when we rode ten stone.

But all of us remorseless Fate
  O'ertakes, and as the years roll on
Our saddles carry extra weight,
  And old age mourns the keenness gone.

The young ones, too - 'mong men, I mean -
  Watch not the sires from whom they've sprung,
They nowadays are not so keen
  As when we - and the world - were young.

They've neither nerve nor seat to suit
  The back of Paddy Ryan's roar -
That wall-eyed, vicious, bucking brute
  You rode - when you could ride ten stone.

But, Johnny, ere we 'go to grass' -
  Ere angel wings are fledged to fly -
With wine we'll fill a bumper glass,
  And drink to those good times gone by.

We've had our day - 'twill not come back!
  But, comrade mine, this much you'll own,
'Tis something to have had it, Jack-
  That time when we could ride ten stone!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant

Harry "Breaker" Harbord Morant (born Edwin Henry Murrant, 9 December 1864 – 27 February 1902) was an Anglo-Australian drover, horseman, bush poet and military officer, who was convicted and executed for murder during the Second Anglo-Boer War. While serving with the Bushveldt Carbineers during the Second Anglo-Boer War, Lieutenant Morant was arrested and court-martialed for war crimes—one of the first such prosecutions in British military history. According to military prosecutors, Morant retaliated for the death in combat of his commanding officer with a series of revenge killings against both Boer POWs and many civilian residents of the Northern Transvaal. more…

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