Page images

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,

And lov'd 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;

Whence 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 your's,

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,

[merged small][ocr errors]

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


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 post-boy at his heels! -
The post-boy's horse right glad to miss

The lumb'ring of the wheels.

Six gentlemen upon the road,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly, With post-boy scamp'ring in the rear,

They rais'd 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.

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 got first to town;
Nor stopp'd till where he had got up

He did again get down.

2 D

« PreviousContinue »