To a Lady Who Complains I Ride Too Early

LADY, you tell me I am brave
To gallop to an early grave.
You say no self-respecting horse
Should tolerate this evil course
Of exercise before repast
But make this morning ride my last.
I ask you, Lady, have you seen
A field that yesterday was green
Transformed to silver overnight?
Or seen a chicken hawk in flight
Above a swamp of gold and red?
Or watched the sun crawl out of bed
And throw his blanket on the ground?
I tell you, Lady, I have found
A wandering fox up with the sun
Who stared at me but did not run,
Nor saw in me those dreaded powers
That ride the woods at normal hours.
And do you know that spiders keep
The useless tears the angels weep
For erring Man, and hang them on
Their webs to catch the light of dawn?
And do you know how strange and sweet
The rustling leaves beneath the feet
Of horses? Or the clang of shoe
On rolling rock? Or how the dew
Can wash the night from sleepy eyes?
You think some day I shall grow wise
And sleep till nine or even ten.
Who knows? Perhaps I may; till then
I’ll gather dews and dawns and try
To be more quiet riding by.