The Boar of the Year

The Ride of the Schools








In the shade of the trees by the lunch-tent the Old Haileyburian sat,
A full fourteen-stone in the saddle, and the best of hard riders at that,—
And he shouted aloud as we passed him: 'I'll wait till the claret-cup cools.
There's a sounder broke loose in the open! Ride, hard for the love of your Schools!'

Bull-huge in the mists of the morn at the head of his sounder he stood—
Our quarry—and watched us awhile, and we thirsted aloud for his blood;
Then over the brawn of his shoulder looked back as we galloped more near—
Then fled for the far-away cover; and we followed the Boar of the Year!

There was Cheltenham perched on an Arab—so rich arc these thrice-born R.E's;
Then Rugby—his mount was a Waler, and a couple of O.U.S.C.s,
And the rest of the field followed after. They were older and wiser, perhaps—
For we flew over tats at the nullahs, but they scrambled through by the gaps.

Away like a bird went the Arab, head and tail in the air, which is wrong
For a pig-sticker worthy his salt looks down as he gallops along;
And the Arab was new to the business. What wonder that Cheltenham fell
In the grip of a buffalo-wallow , and sat down to rest him a spell?
Then Rugby shot forward the first of us three, for to reason it stands
That a coachy Artillery charger has the legs of a mere fourteen-hands.

But he jinked, and the Waler went wide; but the country-breds wheeled and we flew
O'er the treacherous black-cotton furrows—spears up, riding all that he knew.
Now. a beast with a mouth like a brickbat can't tum to a tum of the wrist—
And the Waler took furlongs to tum in; and the rest of the run Rugby missed.
So we shed him and spread him and left him, after manifold jinkings and chouses,
And the issue was narrowed to this: 'Ride, boys, for the love of your Houses!'

Dull-white on the slate of his hide ran a spear-scar from shoulder to chine:
And a pig that is marked by the spear is seldom the sweetest of swine.
When he stopped in the shade of the reh-grass that fringes the river-bed's marge,
The lift of his rust-red back-bristles had warned us: Look out for the charge !

Ane we got it! Right-wheel, best foot foremost—with a quick sickle­ sweep of the head
That missed the off-hock of my pony and tore through a tussock instead,
He made for the next horse's belly—the jungle-pig's deadliest trick—
And he caught the spear full in the shoulder, and the bamboo broke short at the nick:
Then the prettiest mare in the Province let out with her ever-quick heels,
And the sound of the Ancient his death-grunt was drowned in her feminine squeals!

And which of the Houses got first-spear? With sorrow unfeigned be it said,
I jabbed at his quarters and missed, and—I rode for the Black and the Red;
And he for the Black and the Yellow, and his was the first and last spear
That ended the hunt by the river, and won you the Boar of the Year.

So we drank in the shade of the lunch-tent to the Barrack that stands by the Sea—
We drank to the health of its fellows—to all who have been and may be.
And Cheltenham joined in the chorus and Rugby re-echoed the cheer
On the day that we rode for the College, and won you the Boar of the Year!