by: Bret Harte (1836-1902)

(The Pony Express was, at one time, the sole dependence of the Pacific Coast for the latest news from the Atlantic.)

      N times of adventure, of battle and song,
      When the heralds of victory galloped along,
      They spurred their faint steeds, lest the tidings too late
      Might change a day's fortune, a throne, or a state.
      Though theirs was all honor and glory -- no less
      Is his, the bold Knight of the Pony Express.
      No corselet, no vizor, nor helmet he wears,
      No war-stirring trumpet or banner he bears,
      But pressing the sinewy flanks of his steed,
      Behold the fond missives that bid him "God-speed."
      Some ride for ambition, for glory, or less,
      "Five dollars an ounce" asks the Pony Express.
      Trip lightly, trip lightly, just out of the town,
      Then canter and canter, o'er upland and down,
      Then trot, pony, trot, over upland and hill,
      Then gallop, boy, gallop, and galloping still,
      Till the ring of each horse-hoof, as forward ye press,
      Is lost in the track of the Pony Express.
      By marshes and meadow, by river and lake,
      By upland and lowland, by forest and brake,
      By dell and by cañon, by bog and by fen,
      By dingle and hollow, by cliff and by glen,
      By prairie and desert, and vast wilderness,
      At morn, noon, and evening, God speed the Express.

"The Pony Express" is reprinted from The Writings of Bret Harte, Vol. XX. Ed. Charles Meeker Kozlay. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1914. This poem was originally published in the Golden Era, July 1, 1860.




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