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I am a linen-draper 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,
We will be furnished with our own,
Which is both bright and clear."
John Gilpin kissed his loving wife;
O'erjoyed was he to find,
That, though on pleasure she was bent,
She had a frugal mind.
The morning came, the chaise was brought, But yet was not allowed
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud.
So three doors off the chaise was stayed.
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;
The stones did rattle underneath,
As if Cheapside were mad.
John Gilpin, at his horse's side,
Seized fast the flowing mane, And up he got, in haste to ride, But soon came down again;
For saddle-tree scarce reached had he,
His journey to begin,
When, turning round his head, he saw
Three customers come in.
So down he came : for loss of time,
Although it grieved him sore,
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,
Would trouble him much more.
'Twas long before the customers Were suited to their mind, When Betty screaming came down stairs, "The wine is left behind !"
"Good lack!" quoth he, "yet bring it me, My leathern belt likewise,
In which I bear my trusty sword
When I do exercise."
Now Mistress Gilpin-careful soul !
Had two stone bottles found,
To hold the liquor which she loved,
And keep it safe and sound.
Each bottle had a curling ear,
Through which the belt he drew; He hung one bottle on each side, To make his balance true :
Then, over all, that he might be
Equipped from top to toe,
His long red coat, well brushed and neat,
He manfully did throw.
Now, see John Gilpin once again
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 galled him in his seat.
So "fair and softly." John did cry;
But John did cry in vain ;
That trot became a gallop soon
In spite of curb or rein.
So stooping down, as he needs must
Who cannot sit upright,
He grasped 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 nought;
Away went hat and wig ;
He little dreamed, 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 screamed,
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 shattered at a blow.
Down ran the wine into the road,
Most piteous to be seen,
Which made his horse's flanks to smoke
As basted they had been.
But still he seemed 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, 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 dinnner 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.
his owner had a house
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's the calender,
His horse at last stood still.
The calender, surprised to see
His friend in such a trim,
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,
And thus accosted him :-
"What news, what news?—the tidings tell; Tell me you 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 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,
Returned him not a single word,
But to the house went in ;