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When straight he came with hat and wig;
A wig that flowed behind,

A hat not much the worse for wear,
Each comely in its kind.

He held them up, and in his turn
Thus showed 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 galloped 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 Mrs. Gilpin, when she saw
Her husband posting down
Into the country far away,

She pulled 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 post-boy 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 passed that way,
Did join in the pursuit.

And now the turnpike gates again
Flew open in short space;
The toll-men thinking, as before,
That Gilpin rode a race:

And so he did, and won it too;
For he first got to town:

Nor stopped till where he had got up,
He did again get down.

Now let us sing-Long live the king!
And Gilpin, long live he!
And when he next does ride abroad,
May I be there to see!



BORN at Bristol, where his father was a schoolmaster. Educated at the Colston School in that city, and apprenticed to an attorney when fourteen years of age. He pretended to have discovered in the muniment room of St. Mary de Redcliffe's church (Bristol) fragments of ancient poems and descriptions of the city churches, and published them as the writings of a priest named Rowley who flourished in the fifteenth century. It was subsequently proved that these were all written by himself. When seventeen years old he left Bristol for London, in the hope of winning bread and fame by his pen. All his hopes, however, were frustrated, and in the bitterness of his disappointment he committed suicide by taking poison (1770) when not quite eighteen years of age.


O GOD, whose thunder shakes the sky,
Whose eye this atom globe surveys,
To Thee, my only rock, I fly,
Thy mercy in Thy justice praise.

The mystic mazes of Thy will,

The shadows of celestial light,
Are past the powers of human skill;
But what the Eternal acts is right.

O teach me in the trying hour,
When anguish swells the dewy tear,
To still my sorrows, own Thy power,
Thy goodness love, Thy justice fear.

If in this bosom aught but Thee,

Encroaching sought a boundless sway, Omniscience could the danger see, And mercy look the cause away.

Then why, my soul, dost thou complain? Why drooping seek the dark recess? Shake off the melancholy chain,

For God created all to bless.

But, ah! my breast is human still;
The rising sigh, the falling tear,
My languid vitals' feeble rill,

The sickness of my soul declare.

But yet, with fortitude resigned,

I'll thank the infliction of the blow, Forbid the sigh, compose my mind,

Nor let the gush of misery flow.

The gloomy mantle of the night,

Which on my sinking spirit steals, Will vanish at the morning light,

Which God, my East, my Sun, reveals.


BORN near the Bridge of Doon, in the parish of Alloway, Ayrshire. His parents were in humble circumstances, and when only eleven years of age, Robert was taken from school to help on his father's farm. In early youth had to contend much with adverse circumstances; and as he grew up he contracted habits of improvidence and dissipation. His first volume of poems, published in 1786, established his fame as a poet. In 1788 he took a farm near Dumfries, and soon after settling upon it obtained the post of exciseman. The farm proved a failure, and Burns went to live at Dumfries on his salary of £70 a yearhis salary as a revenue officer. Here sickness and debt severely harassed him, and he died at Dumfries on the 21st of July 1796.

Burns is celebrated chiefly for his Lines to a Mountain Daisy; Elegy on Captain Matthew Henderson; The Cottar's Saturday Night; Tam o' Shanter, Lament for James Earl of Glencairn, and his Songs, among which may be mentioned his Highland Mary; To Mary in Heaven; Scots wha hae, etc.


YE banks, and braes, and streams around
The castle o' Montgomery,

Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie !+

There simmer first unfaulds her robes,

And there they langest tarry ;
For there I took the last fareweel
O' my sweet Highland Mary.

How sweetly bloomed the gay green birk,
How rich the hawthorn's blossom,
As underneath their fragrant shade,
I clasped her to my bosom !

* Mary Campbell, a dairymaid. + Muddy.

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