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John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,
Though wedded we have been These twice ten tedious years, yet we
No holiday have seen.
“ To-morrow is our wedding-day,
And we will then repair Unto the Bell at Edmonton
All in a chaise and pair.
“ My sister and my sister's child,
Myself, and children three,
On horseback after we."
He soon replied, “I do admire
Of womankind but one,
Therefore it shall be done.
6 I am a linendraper bold,
As all the world doth know, And my good friend the calender
Will lend his horse to go."
Quoth Mrs Gilpin, “ That 's well said ;
And for that wine is dear,
Which is both bright and clear.”
John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;
O’erjoy'd was he to find,
She had a frugal mind.
The morning came, the chaise was brought,
But yet was not allow'd
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 folk so glad,
As if Cheapside were mad.
John Gilpin at his horse's side
Seized fast the flowing mane, And
he got in haste to ride, But soon came down again ;
For saddle-tree scarce reach'd had he,
His journey to begin,
Three customers come in.
So down he came ; for loss of time,
Although it grieved him sore,
Would trouble him much more.
'Twas long before the customers
Were suited to their mind,
66 The wine is left behind !"
“Good lack !” quoth he--"yet bring it me,
My leathern belt likwise,
When I do exercise."
Now Mrs Gilpin (careful soul!)
Had two stone bottles found, To hold the liquor that she loved,
And keep it safe and sound.
Each bottle had a curling ear,
Through which the belt he drew, And hung a bottle on each side,
To make his balance true.
Then over all, that he might be
Equipp'd from top to toe,
He manfully did throw.
Now see him mounted once again
Upon his nimble steed,
With caution and good heed.
But finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his well-shod feet, The snorting beast began to trot,
Which galld 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, who never in that sort
Had handled been before,
Did wonder more and more.
Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;
Away went hat and wig ;
Of running such a rig.
The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
Like streamer long and gay, Till, loop and button failing both,
At last it flew away.
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; 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 mer.
Their gates wide open threw.
His reeking head full low,
Were shatter'd at a blow.
Down ran the wine into the road,
Most piteous to be seen,
As they had basted been.
With leathern girdle braced ;
Still dangling at his waist.
These gambols he did play,
Of Edmonton so gay ;
On both sides of the way,
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 aloud did cry ; “ The dinner waits, and we are tired ;"
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.
Away went Gilpin out of breath,
And sore against his will, Till at his friend the calender's
His horse at last stood still.
The calender, amazed to see
His neighbour in such trim,
And thus accosted him :
“ What news ? what news ? your tidings tell ;
Tell me you must and shall — Say why bareheaded 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 merry guise he spoke :
66 I came because your horse would come;
And, if I well forebode,
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 ;
Whence straight he came with hat and wig ;
A wig that flow'd behind,
Each comely in its kind.