Today’s poem is one based on a very famous local story about an ill-fated race horse. My grandad used to tell this story to my brother and I regularly as kids and it always made me feel very sorry for the poor Marbury Dun.
The Marbury Dun
It was long ago when it happened,
But my story I can still relate
Of the days when gentlemen wagered
Large sums of money, after drinking out late,
And such was the man in my story
Young and rich, aye plenty of cash
His favourite horse the best runner
Along the country he said it would dash.
His estate, his hall and his money
Against anyone’s possessions or gains
That his horse could run from London
Between sunrise and sunset, with him astride at the reins,
His wager was gladly accepted
People laughed and scoffed at his nerve
But he ignored all their jokes and their jeering
And he groomed the horse that would serve.
At sunrise he started from London
Watched by the keeper of the purse
One hour before sunset he arrived home
And made them all sweat and curse.
His own men cheered and they shouted
Ale was thrust into his glad hand
They declared him a true blue blood gentleman
And his horse was the best in the land
But the horse, poor devil, was thirsty
And left all alone at the side.
It wandered unseen to a water trough
And started to fill its inside
Too late it was seen and stabled,
It caught a dire chill and died,
The sorrow was great in the country
After so successful a ride.
Now dead but not forgotten
They wrapped it in a linen sheet.
After a service it was lowered and buried
Silver shoes upon its swift feet,
What a man, what a horse
What a marvelous run
So goes the story of the Marbury Dun.
Sure that was a horse of quality high
Who’s death brought a tear to everyone’s eye
In Marbury park it lies at rest
Without a doubt it was the best.
But where the park drops through the wood
Where chestnuts grow so ripe and good,
There is the mere, so flat and calm
Where fishers fish and do no harm,
To catch the pike is many a man’s aim,
For no other fish will taste the same.
And here is Bob, old wily gent
Who casts for the pike that the devil sent.
Aye, Bob in his blackpitched boat ariding high
Of a fish’s size he would never lie.
Yet he told a tale that frightened most
And never did he mean it to stand and boast,
But a pike he caught one sunny day
Well, here is his story so let him say…