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This poem is often wrongly thought to be by Robert W Service. It is published here to the memory of Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, its rightful father.
An Evening with the Bard of the Yukon, July 18 th 2003 at 20.30pm in the Town-Hall of Lancieux, Brittany.
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El Toro

Published by Webmaster on 07/30/2003 (2405 reads)
Green mountains reared against the sky,

El Toro

Green mountains reared against the sky,
And tranquil as a heard of cows,
With horsemen nonchalantly nigh
I saw a hundred bulls a-browse.
In supple strength and pride they grazed,
And life was simple sweet and full;
With placid peace their eyes were glazed -
                    How good to be a bull!

But one outstood beyond the rest,
With inky dewlaps, orange eyes;
High-horned and rampant for the test
Of red revolt and sacrifice.
So from the heard they cut him out,
And following a pilot ox
They harried him with goad and shout
                    Into a dung-heap box.

Then in that dark and narrow pen
He stood a week of dreary days,
While taunted by down-peering men
He yearned for brother bulls a-graze:
Hoof-loose in God's green spaciousness,
The purity of hill and plain,
The dewy dawn, the breeze caress.` . . .
                    Ah, liberty again!

A door swung wide - with horn up-fling
He hurtles to the happy light.
Rapture! Then in a sandy ring
He halts, bewildered at the sight:
Tier upon tier, from sand to sky,
Of gloating faces, glad and grim;
Full fifty thousand poised on high
                    Their vision fixed on him.

Red rags before his eyes they flaunt,
Till mad with rage, but unafraid,
He hurls his passion to the taunt
And scars the crimson barricade.
With lance and dart his heart they break;
Blood-boltered there he stands alone;
Yet I for hopeless valour's sake
                    Would set him on a throne.

Would place him far above them all . . .
His blood now mingles with his breath;
Upon his knees I see him fall,
As dauntlessly he waits for death. . . .
Oh! Spain, to heaven high you stink!
And as I take the car to town,
A dame, American, I think,
                    Pukes on her satin gown.


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