Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
The Riders of the Plains
WE wake the prairie echoes with
  The ever-welcome sound,
‘Ring out the boot and saddle’ till
  Its stirring notes resound.
Our horses toss their bridled heads        5
  And chafe against the reins;
Ring out, ring out the marching call
  Of the Riders of the Plains.
Full many a league o’er prairie wild
  Our trackless path must be,        10
And round it roam the fiercest tribes
  Of Blackfoot and of Cree;
But danger from their savage bands
  Our dauntless heart disdains,
That heart which bears the helmet up        15
  Of the Riders of the Plains.
The thunderstorm sweeps o’er our way,
  But onward still we go;
We scale the rugged mountain range,
  Descend the valleys low;        20
We face the dread Saskatchewan,
  Brimmed high with heavy rains;
With all his might he cannot check
  The Riders of the Plains.
We muster but three hundred        25
  In all this great lone land,
Which stretches o’er the continent
  To where the Rockies stand;
But not one heart doth falter,
  No coward voice complains,        30
That few, too few, in numbers are
  The Riders of the Plains.
Our mission is to plant the rule
  Of Britain’s freedom here,
Restrain the lawless savage, and        35
  Protect the pioneer;
And ’tis a proud and daring trust
  To hold these vast domains,
With but three hundred mounted men,
  The Riders of the Plains.        40
We bear no lifted banner,
  The soldier’s care and pride;
No waving flag leads onward
  Our horsemen when they ride;
The sense of duty well discharged        45
  All idle thought sustains,
No other spur to action need
  The Riders of the Plains.

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