with Horse and Hound

A Rum One to Follow, A Bad One to Beat

whyte-melville.vanity_fairGeorge Whyte-Melville as caricatured in Vanity Fair, 1871You may have noticed that White-Melville and Ogilvie are my favorite poets. These two establish a cadence in their meter that transports me to the field atop a horse, rhythmically pumping his hindquarters and stretching his neck beneath me.

I was pleased to learn from the Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Sirs Stephen and Lee, that Whyte-Melville, being a gentleman of means, “devoted all the earnings of his pen...to philanthropic and charitable objects, especially to the provision of reading rooms and other recreation for grooms and stable boys in hunting quarters.”

This poem has long been a favorite of mine. Whyte-Melville, having been a major in the cavalry and having devoted his life to foxhunting, was an able horseman, I'm certain. Yet though he was thrown out this day, he expresses his admiration for the rider who left him in the dust.

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