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Old Pardon, The Son Of Reprieve
by [?]


You never heard tell of the story?
Well, now, I can hardly believe!
Never heard of the honour and glory
Of Pardon, the son of Reprieve?
But maybe you’re only a Johnnie
And don’t know a horse from a hoe?
Well, well, don’t get angry, my sonny,
But, really, a young un should know.

They bred him out back on the ‘Never’,
His mother was Mameluke breed.
To the front — and then stay there — was ever
The root of the Mameluke creed.
He seemed to inherit their wiry
Strong frames — and their pluck to receive —
As hard as a flint and as fiery
Was Pardon, the son of Reprieve.

We ran him at many a meeting
At crossing and gully and town,
And nothing could give him a beating —
At least when our money was down.
For weight wouldn’t stop him, nor distance,
Nor odds, though the others were fast,
He’d race with a dogged persistence,
And wear them all down at the last.

At the Turon the Yattendon filly
Led by lengths at the mile-and-a-half,
And we all began to look silly,
While HER crowd were starting to laugh;
But the old horse came faster and faster,
His pluck told its tale, and his strength,
He gained on her, caught her, and passed her,
And won it, hands-down, by a length.

And then we swooped down on Menindie
To run for the President’s Cup —
Oh! that’s a sweet township — a shindy
To them is board, lodging, and sup.
Eye-openers they are, and their system
Is never to suffer defeat;
It’s ‘win, tie, or wrangle’ — to best ’em
You must lose ’em, or else it’s ‘dead heat’.

We strolled down the township and found ’em
At drinking and gaming and play;
If sorrows they had, why they drowned ’em,
And betting was soon under way.
Their horses were good ‘uns and fit ‘uns,
There was plenty of cash in the town;
They backed their own horses like Britons,
And, Lord! how WE rattled it down!

With gladness we thought of the morrow,
We counted our wagers with glee,
A simile homely to borrow —
‘There was plenty of milk in our tea.’
You see we were green; and we never
Had even a thought of foul play,
Though we well might have known that the clever
Division would ‘put us away’.

Experience ‘docet’, they tell us,
At least so I’ve frequently heard,
But, ‘dosing’ or ‘stuffing’, those fellows
Were up to each move on the board:
They got to his stall — it is sinful
To think what such villains would do —
And they gave him a regular skinful
Of barley — green barley — to chew.

He munched it all night, and we found him
Next morning as full as a hog —
The girths wouldn’t nearly meet round him;
He looked like an overfed frog.
We saw we were done like a dinner —
The odds were a thousand to one
Against Pardon turning up winner,
‘Twas cruel to ask him to run.

We got to the course with our troubles,
A crestfallen couple were we;
And we heard the ‘books’ calling the doubles —
A roar like the surf of the sea;
And over the tumult and louder
Rang ‘Any price Pardon, I lay!’
Says Jimmy, ‘The children of Judah
Are out on the warpath to-day.’

Three miles in three heats: — Ah, my sonny,
The horses in those days were stout,
They had to run well to win money;
I don’t see such horses about.
Your six-furlong vermin that scamper
Half-a-mile with their feather-weight up;
They wouldn’t earn much of their damper
In a race like the President’s Cup.