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And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half-chime,

So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is time!"

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun, And against him the cattle stood black every


To stare through the mist at us galloping past, And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last, With resolute shoulders, each butting away The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray.

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back

For my voice, and the other pricked out on

his track;

And one eye's black intelligence,


ever that

O'er its white edge at me, his own master,

askance !

And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon

His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur!

Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her,

We'll remember at Aix," -for one heard the quick wheeze

Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering knees,

And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and



So we were left galloping, Joris and I,

Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the


The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh, 'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;

Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang


And "Gallop," gasped Joris, for "Aix is in


"How they'll greet us!"

moment his roan

and all in a

Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a


And there was my Roland to bear the whole


Of the news which alone could save Aix from

her fate,

With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the


And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.

Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster

let fall,

Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and


Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear, Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer;

Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or good,

Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and



And all I remember is, friends flocking round As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground,

And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,

As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,

Which (the burgesses voted by common con


Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.


"Till at length into Aix Roland galloped."

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