William Henry Ogilvie

Here you will find the Poem The True Sportsman of poet William Henry Ogilvie

The True Sportsman

The real ones, the right ones, the straight ones and the true, 
The pukka, peerless sportsmen-their numbers are but few; 
The men who keep on playing though the sun be in eclipse, 
The men who go on losing with a laugh upon their lips. 
The men who care but little for the laurels of renown; 
The men who turn their horses back to help the man that's down; 
The fearless and the friendly ones, the courtly and the kind; 
The men whose lion courage is with gentleness combined. 
My notion of a sportsman ? - I'll try, then, to define. 
For preference well bred, of course, of some clean- living line; 
With pride of place and ancestry whose service was the King's; 
With all a noble knight's contempt for low, left- handed things.
Not the `good sport' who burdens us with cheap and futile chat 
Of the 'pedigree' of this one and the `outside chance' of that, 
But a man who loves good horses just to handle them and ride 
Where the fences call to valour and the English grass lies wide.
All the best and truest sportsmen I have lived with and have known 
Have a changeless faith within them which their simple hearts enthrone, 
Believing in the God that made the green fields passing fair, 
The God that gave good courage - and to every man his share. 
And all the truest sportsmen I have met have had this gift: 
A love of all the classic books that lighten and uplift; 
And all have loved red woodlands, swift birds and coloured flowers; 
And all have played with children and counted not the hours.
And I think when God has gathered all the men that He has made, 
The perfect British sportsman may stand forward unafraid; 
For, brave and kind and courtly, and clean of heart and hand, 
No life than his seems nearer to the life our Maker planned.