The Trotting Horse

Melody -

Traditional ballad

I can sport as fine a trotting horse as any swell in town,
To trot you fourteen miles an hour, I'll bet you fifty crown;
He is such a one to bend his knees, and tuck his haunches in,
And throw the dust in people's face, and think it not a sin.
For to ride away, trot away,
Ri, fa lar, la, ri fa lar la la.

2. He has an eye like any hawk, a neck like any swan,
A foot light as the stag's, the while his back is scarce a span;
Kind Nature hath so formed him, he is everything that's good,
Aye! everything a man could wish, in bottom, bone, and blood.

3. If you drop therein, he'll nod his head, and boldly walk away,
While others kick and bounce about, to him it's only play;
There never was a finer horse e'er went on English ground,
He is rising six years old, and is all over right and sound.

4. If any frisk or milling match should call me out of town,
I can pass the blades with white cockades, their whiskers hanging down;
With large jack-towels round their necks, they think they're first and fast,
But, with their gapers open wide, they find that they are last.

5. If threescore miles I am from home, I darkness never mind,
My friend is gone, and I am left, with pipe and pot behind;
Up comes some saucy kiddy, a scampsman on the hot,
But ere he pulls the trigger I am off just like a shot.

6. If Fortune e'er should fickle be, and wish to have again
That which she so freely gave, I'd give it without pain;
I would part with it most freely, and without the least remorse,
Only grant to me what God hath gave, my mistress and my horse!

The common copies of this old highwayman's song are very corrupt. We are indebted for this version, which contains several emendations, to Mr. W. H. Ainsworth. The song, which may probably be referred to the age of Charles II., is a spirited specimen of its class.

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