The Flying Coachman


The ringing of the hoof-beats startles the air

And echoes are beating like drums from the hills;

The maniac coachman, eyes fixed in a glare,

Is whipping his horses that tug at the tills.

The coach on the highway buckets and sways

While the terrified cottager listens and prays.


Oh, whence comes this tumult to shatter the night

With hideous cries from the driver distraught ?

Oh, wherefore his journey, this demonic flight

As if in the harness a tiger was caught ?

Is it Satan himself come to gather lost souls,

Whose wheels will keep rolling as long as earth rolls?


They say ’tis wild Harry from old Ballamooar

Who travels the highway demented and wild;

And there in the coach lying dead on the floor

Are his tragic young wife and her premature child.

The doctor, when sent for, had left it too late,

And Harry had cursed him with venomous hate.


For two hundred years, so the traditions say,

On that very same date, on that night of the year,

Old Harry is doomed to career on his way,

Without rest for his soul or the balm of a tear.

Driven on by his hate, he can find no release

Till he learns to forgive and, forgiven, finds peace !


Mona’s Herald     20.8.63