The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152416   Message #3568913
Posted By: Jim Dixon
22-Oct-13 - 01:28 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: The Keswick Driver (Ogilvie)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE KESWICK DRIVER (Will H. Ogilvie)
[poem by Will H. Ogilvie]

From Keswick Town to Borrowdale
    Beneath the loud Lodore
I take my team through Derwent Vale,
    My staunch and dauntless four;
By Falcon Crag and Castle Hill
    Their lead-bars lift and swing,
And stepping with a right good will
    They make the lake-road ring.

By farm and church and lone hotel
    They thread the narrowing way
Till, closing inward, peak and fell
    Rise round us gaunt and grey;
And up the arduous path they go
    With shoulders collar-strained
Till, the last larchwood left below,
    The crown at last is gained.

Down the high crag of Honister
    The tinkling slate-stone falls.
From where unseen the quarrier
    Toils on its steep grey walls;
And circling round its rampart crest
    The great hawks dive and climb
In that unending mountain quest
    That takes no heed of time.

The shadows on the peaks are blue,
    The rock ravines are black;
We sink the hill with chain and "shoe"
    And collars riding slack,
Till safely through the outcrop slate
    The team with jingling gear
Takes up the road by bank and gate
    That leads to Buttermere.

Watered and rested, groomed and fed,
    Once more with straining bars
They face the winding steeps ahead
    As though to climb the stars;
Once more the high tops left and right,
    Once more the mists of blue;
Once more the pause upon the height,
    Once more the chain and shoe!

And so we pass the hills of charm
    That slope on either hand
And, swinging down by fold and farm,
    Come back to planted land;
And through the shades of Portinscale,
    By Greta's guiding stream,
The children on the pathway hail
    My tired head-tossing team.

But they've a pride to hold and keep
    And they've a trust to bear;
The road was long, the passes steep,
    But each has pulled his share;
And now, heads high, with quickened pace,
    Arched necks and lifted knees,
They thunder through the market-place
    As proudly as you please.

From Keswick Town to Windermere
    And round the Thirlmere ring,
From Bassenthwaite to Bowness Pier
    The carburettor's king;
But we can climb where engines fail
    And, conquerors of the crest,
We rule the road from Borrowdale
    To where the brown hawks nest.


The above words first appeared in Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 163, August 9, 1922, page 132. Also in:

A Handful of Leather by Will H. Ogilvie (London: Constable, 1928), page 55.

The Collected Sporting Verse of Will H. Ogilvie (London: Constable, 1932), page 321.