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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, who 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 naught;

Away went hat and wig:
He little dream’d, when he set out,

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;
A bottle swinging at each side,

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 men

Their gates wide open threw.
And now, as he went bowing down

His reeking head full low,
The bottles twain behind his back

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

Still dangling at his waist. Thus all through merry Islington

These gambols he did play,
Until 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.
At Edmonton his loving wife

From the balcony spied
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:

Says Gilpin--so am I!
But yet his horse was not a whit

Inclined to tarry there;
For why?-his owner had a house

Full ten miles off, at Ware.
So like an arrow swift he flew,

Shot by an archer strong;
So did he fly-which brings me to

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,
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,

And thus accosted him:
What news? what news? your tidings tell?

Tell me you must and shallSay 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:
I came 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:
When straight he came with hat and wig;

A wig that flow'd behind,
A hat not much the worse for wear,

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;
And stop and eat, for well you may

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,
And gallop'd off with all his might,

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,
The frighted steed he frighted more,

And made him faster run.
Away went Gilpin, and away

Went postboy at his heels,
The postboy's horse right glad to miss

The lumbering of the wheels.
Six gentlemen upon the road,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With postboy 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.
VOL. I.

A A

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