Page:Rudyard Kipling's verse - Inclusive Edition 1885-1918.djvu/185

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Afar, off shore and single,
  Some stallion, rearing swift,
Neighs hungry for new fodder,
  And calls us to the drift:
Then down the cloven ridges—
  A million hooves unshod—
Break forth the mad White Horses
  To seek their meat from God!

Girth-deep in hissing water
  Our furious vanguard strains—
Through mist of mighty tramplings
  Roll up the fore-blown manes—
A hundred leagues to leeward,
  Ere yet the deep is stirred,
The groaning rollers carry
  The coming of the herd!

Whose hand may grip your nostrils—
  Your forelock who may hold?
E’en they that use the broads with us—
  The riders bred and bold,
That spy upon our matings,
  That rope us where we run—
They know the strong White Horses
  From father unto son.

We breathe about their cradles,
  We race their babes ashore,
We snuff against their thresholds,
  We nuzzle at their door;
By day with stamping squadrons,
  By night in whinnying droves,
Creep up the wise White Horses,
  To call them from their loves.