« PreviousContinue »
Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung,
As hath been said or sung.
The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,
Up flew the windows all,
As loud as he could bawl.
Away went Gilpin—who but he ;
His fame soon spread aroundHe carries weight, he rides a race,
'Tis for a thousand pound.
And still as fast as he drew near,
'Twas wonderful to view How in a trice the turnpike-men
Their gates wide open threw.
And now as he went bowing down
His reeking head full low,
Were shatter'd at a blow.
Down ran the wine into the road
Most piteous to be seen, Which made his horse's flanks to smoke
As they had basted been.
But still he seem'd to carry weight,
With leathern girdle braced, For all might see the bottle necks
Ştill dangling at his waist.
Thus all through merry Islington
These gambols he did play, And till he came unto the Wash
Of Edmonton so gay.
And there he threw the wash about
On both sides of the way, Just like unto a trundling mop,
Or a wild-goose at play.
From the balcony spied
To see how he did ride.
Stop, stop, John Gilpin !-Here's the house
They all at once did cry,
Said Gilpin—so am I.
But yet his horse was not a whit
Inclined to tarry there,
Full ten miles off, at Ware.
So like an arrow swift he flew
Shot by an archer strong,
The middle of my song.
And sore against his will,
His horse at last stood still.
The Callender amazed to see
His neighbour in such trim,
And thus accosted him-
Tell me you must and shall —
Or why you come at all ?
Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit
And loved a timely joke,
In merry guise he spoke-
And if I well forebode,
They are upon the road.
The Callender, right glad to find
His friend in merry pin, Return'd him not a single word,
But to the house went in.
Whence straight he came with hat and wig,
A wig that flow'd behind,
Each comely in its kind.
He held them up, and in his turn
Thus show'd his ready wit, -My head is twice as big as yours,
They therefore needs must fit.
But let me scrape the dirt away
That hangs upon your face ;
Be in a hungry case.
Said John-It is my wedding-day,
And all the world would stare, If wife should dine at Edmonton
And I should dine at Ware.
So turning to his horse, he said,
I am in haste to dine, 'Twas for your pleasure you came here,
You shall go back for mine.
Ah luckless speech, and bootless boast !
For which he paid full dear, For while he spake a braying ass
Did sing most loud and clear.
Whereat his horse did snort as he
Had heard a lion roar,
As he had done before.
Away went Gilpin, and away
Went Gilpin's hat and wig ; He lost them sooner than at first,
For why? they were too big.
Now Mistress Gilpin, when she saw
Her husband posting down Into the country far away,
She pull’d out half a crown;
And thus unto the youth she said
That drove them to the Bell, This shall be yours when you bring back
My husband safe and well.
The youth did ride, and soon did meet
John coming back amain, Whom in a trice he tried to stop
By catching at his rein.
But not performing what he meant,
And gladly would have done,
And made him faster run.
Away went Gilpin, and away
Went post-boy at his heels, The post-boy's horse right glad to miss
The lumbering of the wheels.
Six gentlemen upon the road
Thus seeing Gilpin fly, With post-boy scampering in the rear,
They raised the hue and cry. Stop thief, stop thief—a highwayman !
Not one of them was mute, And all and each that pass’d that way
Did join in the pursuit.
And now the turnpike gates again
Flew open in short space, The toll-men thinking as before
That Gilpin rode a race.