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“I came because your horse would come;
And, if I well forbode,
They are upon the road."
The calender, right glad to find
His friend in merry pin,
But to the house went in;
Whence straight he came with hat and wig;
A wig that flowed behind,
Each comely in its kind.
Biographical: William Cowper, 1731-1800, was a famous English poet. His poems range from religious to humorous subjects.
Notes and Questions What was the occasion of the ride? Why did people think John Gilpin What tells you that the linen. rode for a wager
draper lived over his shop? Edmonton—a suburb of London. Which stanza is most amusing? The Bell—the Inn.
Words and Phrases for Discussion
"for that wine is dear", "eke' strainband”
"turnpike' schaise and pair”. "repair"
"basted' "frugal' "he carries weight?
"bootless boast” "the postboy's horse right glad to miss the lumbering of the wheels"
HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT
I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;
“Speed !” echoed the wall to us galloping through; 5 Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.
Not a word to each other, we kept the great pace
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit,
'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear; 15 At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see;
At Düffeld, 'twas morning as plain as could be;
At Aershot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
25 And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix
And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon 30 His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.
By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur!
Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering knees, 35 And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So, we were left galloping, Joris and I,
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
Till over by Dalhem, a dome-spire sprang white,
"How they'll greet us !”—and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
Then I cast loose my buffcoat, each holster let fall, 50 Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
55 And all I remember is—friends flocking round
As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground;
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent) 60 Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent