« PreviousContinue »
To Giles he went, and put the case
With circumspect* intention :
To thy dull comprehension.t
Or cattle-doctor rather;
Now who is Harry's father ?"
“Adzooks! I have it,” Hodge replied,
“Right well you know to say it ;
Why long Tom Smith, I lay it.”
With all his might and main,
The question once again :
“Noah of old three babies had,
Or grown-up children rather;
Now who was Japhet's father?”
“I have it now,” Hodge grinning cried,
"I'll answer like a proctor,
Why, long Tom Smith, the doctor.”
As bright the blazing faggot glows, * Circumspect, careful. f Comprehension, understanding.
† Proctor, official of a university ; here, a learned man.
Who, bending to the friendly light,
Backward coil'd and crouching low,
But not alone by cottage fire Do rustics rude thy feats admire : The learned sage whose thoughts explore The wildest range of human lore, Or, with unfetter'd fancy, fly Through airy heights of poesy, Pausing, smiles with alter'd air To see thee climb his elbow chair; Or, struggling on the mat below, Hold warfare with his slipper'd toe. The widow'd dame or lonely maid, Who in the still, but cheerless shade Of home, unsocial, spends her age, And rarely turns a letter'd page, Upon her hearth for thee lets fall The rounded cork, or paper ball; Nor chides thee on thy wicked watch The ends of ravelld skein to catch, But lets thee have thy wayward will, Perplexing oft her sober skill. Even he whose mind, of gloomy bent, In lonely tower or prison pent,
Reviews the coils of former days,
Whence hast thou, then, thou witless puss,
JOHN GILPIN. JOHN PROPOSES A WEDDING HOLIDAY, AND THE FAMILY GO ON
BEFOREHAND. JOHN GILPIN was a citizen of credit and renown, A trainband* captain eket was he, of famous London town. John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear, “Though wedded we have These twice ten tedious years, yet we no holiday have seen. * To-morrow is our wedding day, and we will then repair Vnto the Bell at Edmonton, all in a chaise and pair." The morning came, the chaise was brought, but yet was not
allow'd To drive up to the door, lest all should say that she was proud. So three doors off the chaise was stay’d, where they did all get
in ; Six precious souls, and all agog, to dash through thick and thin. Smack went the whip, round went the wheels, were never folks
so glad ; The stones did rattle underneath, as if Cheapside were mad.
JOHN GILPIN FOLLOWS ON HORSEBACK. Now see John Gilpin mounted well upon his nimble steed, Full slowly pacing o’er the stones with caution and good heed. But finding soon a smoother road beneath his well-shod feet, The snorting beast began to trot, which gall’d him in his seat. “So, fair and softly!” John he cried; but John he cried in vain : That trot became a gallop soon, in spite of curb and rein. So stooping down, as needs he must who cannot sit upright, He grasp'd the mane with both his hands and eke with all his
might. His horse, which never, in that sort, had handled been before, What thing upon his back had got, did wonder more and more. Away went Gilpin, neck or nought; away went hat and wig; He little dreamt when he set out, of running such a rig.
* Trainband captain, captain of militia. + Eke, also.
The wind did blow, the cloak did fly like streamer long and gay,
all, And every soul cried out, “Well done !” as loud as he could
bawl. Away went Gilpin ;—who but he ? his fame soon spread around : “He 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 the gates wide open threw.
THE HORSE OVERSHOOTS THE MARK. At Edmonton his loving wife from the balcony espied Her tender husband, wondering much to see how he did ride. “Stop, stop, John Gilpin!-Here's the house!”—they all aloud
did cry; "The dinner waits, and we are tired.” Said Gilpin, “So am
But yet his horse was not a whit inclined to tarry there:
THE HORSE STOPS AT ITS OWN STALL.
must and shall : Say why bare-headed you are come? or why you come at all ?” Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit, and loved a timely joke, And thus unto the calender, in inerry guise, he spoke : “I come because your horse would come; and, if I well forebode, My hat and wig will soon be here,—they are upon the road.” The calender* right glad to find his friend in merry pin, Return'd him not a single word, but to the house went in;
* Calender, one who calenders (smooths and renews) cloth.