Rival Steeds

A train driver declares the superiority of his locomotive over the horse.

The coat of your darling is glossy brown -
“the finest steed in the dear old town.”
Nay, mine is the grander, deny it who can
The noblest steed ever mounted by man.
Mine, my brave darling in green and gold; [Note 369.1] 
Matchless in speed over valley and wold;
Yours cannot touch her for strength or speed
“Ready? Aye, ready!” In time of need,
Ready by day, untiring by night,
Matching the bird, or the wind, in her flight,
Over the upland, far away -
Down from the hills to the western bay,  [Note 369.2] 
Back again to the eastern sea, [Note 369.3] 
Through storm or sunshine, what care we?
What is your steed to mine I say?
Yours that is tired, worn out in a day,
While mine speeds on through the livelong night,
Asking no pause in her headlong flight,
Save at her rider's will and command,
Then a touch of her rider's hand,
And she stands like a stone in yon churchyard old-
My beautiful darling! Green and gold!
While yours must feed and play and sleep
Mine will untiring vigil keep
Hundreds of miles my beauty will go;
Yours is 'done up' with a score or so.
Talk of your steed, your 'hero' fine,
What is he worth to this 'beauty' of mine?
Talk of his speed! Come race with me,
Over old Stanemoor our course shall be.
Hah! Hah! Hah! Ere you've well begun,
Beauty and I the goal have won.
Barnard's Castle you scarce have seen,
While Bowes and Barras we've past I wean.
Through Kirkby Steven like light we flew,
Now Tebay accords us a welcome due.
Where is your steed, so brave and bold?
Where is the mate for my green and gold?
My beauty is 'fresh' for her homeward course
But alas! And alack! For the bonny brown horse.
Alas ! For the creature who dare aspire
To mate with my darling, my spirit of fire!
(Heart of fire and sinews of steel!)
Limb of flesh against iron wheel!
Vain, oh vain, would the rider be
To match his steed against mine and me.
My wild fire dragon, my steed so bold,
My beautiful darling in green and gold.
Tell me not of your puny horse,
While I can bridle a whirlwind's course.
Yours is the 'hobby' of olden time, [Note 369.4] 
Mine is the genii of eastern clime;
Mine is the 'fairy' no race can tire, [Note 369.5] 
The spirit begotten of steam and fire.
Hurrah! For the steed of the hurricane force;
Farewell! Farewell to your old brown horse.

Darlington, March 1889