Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/148

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THE UNDERTAKER'S HORSE

"To-tschin-shu is condemned to death. How can he drink tea with the executioner?"Japanese Proverb.

The eldest son bestrides him,
And the pretty daughter rides him,
And I meet him oft o' mornings on the Course;
And there wakens in my bosom
An emotion chill and gruesome
As I canter past the Undertaker's Horse.

Neither shies he nor is restive,
But a hideously suggestive
Trot, professional and placid, he affects;
And the cadence of his hoof-beats
To my mind this grim reproof beats:—
"Mend your pace, my friend, I'm coming. Who's the next?"

Ah! stud-bred of ill-omen,

I have watched the strongest go—men

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