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'Twas long before the customers

Were suited to their mind,
When Betty screaming came downstairs,

"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 that she loved

And keep it safe and sound.

Then over all, that he might be

Equipp'd from top to toe,
His long red cloak, well brush'd and neat,

He manfully did throw.


Now see him mounted 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 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 nought;

Away went hat and wig;
He little dreamt, 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 did he 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 at once did cry; “The dinner waits, and we are tired :"

Said 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 neighbor 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 shall
Say 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 forbode,
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;

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