by: Arthur Conan Doyle
[''Ware Holes!' is the expression
used in the hunting-field to warn those behind against rabbit-burrows
or other such dangers.]
- SPORTIN' death! My word it was!
- An' taken in a sportin' way.
- Mind you, I wasn't there to see;
- I only tell you what they say.
- They found that day at Shillinglee,
- An' ran 'im down to Chillinghurst;
- The fox was goin' straight an' free
- For ninety minutes at a burst.
- They 'ad a check at Ebernoe
- An' made a cast across the Down,
- Until they got a view 'ullo
- An' chased i'm up to Kirdford town.
- From Kirdford 'e run Bramber way,
- An' took 'em over 'alf the Weald.
- If you 'ave tried the Sussex clay,
- You'll guess it weeded out the field.
- Until at last I don't suppose
- As 'arf a dozen, at the most,
- Came safe to where the grassland goes
- Switchbackin' southwards to the coast.
- Young Captain 'Eadley, 'e was there,
- And Jim the whip an' Percy Day;
- The Purcells an' Sir Charles Adair,
- An' this 'ere gent from London way.
- For 'e 'ad gone amazin' fine,
- Two 'undred pounds between 'is knees;
- Eight stone he was, an' rode at nine,
- As light an' limber as you please.
- 'E was a stranger to the 'Unt,
- There weren't a person as 'e knew there;
- But 'e could ride, that London gent--
- 'E sat 'is mare as if 'e grew there.
- They seed the 'ounds upon the scent,
- But found a fence across their track,
- And 'ad to fly it; else it meant
- A turnin' and a 'arkin' back.
- 'E was the foremost at the fence,
- And as 'is mare just cleared the rail
- He turned to them that rode be'ind,
- For three was at 'is very tail.
- 'Ware 'oles!' says 'e, an' with the word,
- Still sittin' easy on his mare,
- Down, down 'e went, an' down an' down,
- Into the quarry yawnin' there.
- Some say it was two 'undred foot;
- The bottom lay as black as ink.
- I guess they 'ad some ugly dreams,
- Who reined their 'orses on the brink.
- 'E'd only time for that one cry;
- ''Ware 'oles!' says 'e, an' saves all three.
- There may be better deaths to die,
- But that one's good enough for me.
- For mind you, 'twas a sportin' end,
- Upon a right good sportin' day;
- They think a deal of 'im down 'ere,
- That gent what came from London way.
MORE POEMS BY ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
"'Ware Holes" is reprinted
from Songs of Action. A. Conan Doyle. London: John Murray,