[Editor: This poem by Kenneth Mackay was published in Stirrup Jingles from the Bush and the Turf and Other Rhymes (1887).]
To the Memory of Adam Lindsay Gordon.
To your dear memory, poet horseman lying
In that calm realm of deep and dreamless rest,
Whither, in long procession hourly hieing,
Forever march the bravest and the best,
I dedicate these feeble measures, knowing
How poor the offering is I faltering make
To one whose ringing lines were ever flowing
In harmony that knew not halt or break.
Yet, generous-hearted friend and gallant rider,
I feel that could you come from other lands,
This tribute from an all-unknown outsider
At least would fall in sympathetic hands;
For you would know that I have heard the rattle
Of timber struck by quickly-tiring feet,
That dear to me are scenes where horses battle
On swards resounding to their swift hoofs’ beat.
That I have strayed through sombre forests lonely,
And lived the life so dimly here portrayed,
And that, although a feeble climber only,
I trod the pathways by my muse essayed,
While if about my lines there may be clinging
Some shreds of fancy brighter than my own,
They have been caught through listening to your singing,
And have amidst my duller dreamings grown.
So Gordon, on your ashes I am leaving
These aimless rhymes of bush and mine and race,
Doubting, in truth, if their crude clumsy weaving
May be quite worthy of such hallowed place.
Still, as they are the best that I can proffer,
I place them o’er the dust from which they grew, —
Well knowing that in spite of foe and scoffer,
They would have found a kindly friend in you.
Kenneth Mackay, Stirrup Jingles from the Bush and the Turf and Other Rhymes, Sydney: Edwards, Dunlop & Co., 1887, pages 3
hie = hurry
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)
proffer = offer; a proposal; to hold out an item to someone for acceptance; put something before someone for acceptance
sward = a lawn or meadow; land covered with grass