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An Almanac of Twelve Sports

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Hunting. Certes it is a noble sportAnd men have quitted selle and swum for't,But I am of a meeker sortAnd I prefer Surtees in comfort. Reach down my "Handley Cross" again.My run, where never danger lurks, isWith Jorrocks and his deathless trainPigg, Binjimin and Arterxerxes!


Coursing. Most men harry the world for fun—Each man seeks it a different wayBut "of all daft devils under the sunA grey'ound's the daftest" said Jorrocks J.


Racing. The horse is ridden—the jockey rides—The backers back—the owners ownBut ... there are lots of things besides,And I should leave this play alone.


Boating. The Pope of Rome he could not winFrom pleasant meat and pleasant sinThese who, in honour's hope, endureLean days and lives enforced pure.These who, replying not, submitUnto the curses of the PitWhich he that rides (O greater shame!)Flings forth by number not by name...Could Triple Crown or Jesuit's oathDo what yon shuffle-stocking doth?


Fishing. Behold a parable! A fished for B.C took her bait; her heart was set on D.Thank Heaven, who cooled your blood and cramped your wishes,Men and not Gods torment you, little fishes.


Cricket. Thank God who made the British IslesAnd taught me how to play,I do not worship crocodilesOr bow the knee to clay! Give me a willow wand and I,With hide and cork and twine,From century to centuryWill gambol round my Shrine.


Archery. The child of the Nineties considers with laughterThe maid whom his Sire in the sixties ran after,While careering himself in pursuit of a girl whomThe Twenties will dub a "last century heir-loom."


Coaching. The Pious Horse to church may trot.A maid may work a man's salvation.Four horses and a girl are not,However, aids to reformation.


Shooting. "Peace upon Earth, Goodwill to men!"So greet we Christmas Day.Oh Christian load your gun and then,O Christian, out and slay!


Golf. Why Golf is Art and Art is Golfwe have not far to seek—So much depends upon the lie,so much upon the cleek.


Boxing. Read here the Moral roundly writFor him that into battle goes—Each soul that, hitting hard and hit,Encounters gross or ghostly foes:—Prince, blown by many overthrowsHalf blind with shame, half choked with dirtMan cannot tell but Allah knowsHow much the other side was hurt!


Skating. Over the ice she fliesPerfect and poised and fair—Stars in my true-love's eyesTeach me to do and to dare! Now will I fly as she flies ...Woe for the stars that misled!Stars that I saw in her eyesNow do I see in my head!


Now we must come away.What are you out of pocket?'Sorry to spoil your play,But Somebody says we must pay—And the candle's down to the socket—Its horrible tallowy socket...!