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To-morrow is our wedding-day,
And we will then repair
Unto the bell at Edmonton,
All in a chaise and pair.
My sister, and my sister's child,
Myself, and children three,
Will fill the chaise; so you must ride
On horseback after we.
He soon replied, I do admire
Of womankind but one,
And you are she, my dearest dear,
Therefore it shall be done.
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 furnish'd with our own,
Which is both bright and clear.
John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;
O'erjoy'd was he to find,
That though on pieasure she was bent,
She had a frugal mind.
The morning came, the chaise was brought, But yet was not allow'd
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud.
So three doors off the chaise was stay'd,
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
Seiz'd fast the flowing mane, And up he got, in haste to ride,
But soon came down again;
For saddle-tree scarce reach'd 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 griev'd 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 that she lov'd,
And keep it safe and sound.
Each bottle had a curling ear,
Through which the belt he drew,
And hung a bottle on each side,
To make his balance true.
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, f
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 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 ev'ry 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 brac'd;
For all might see the bottle-necks
Still dangling at his waist.
Thus all through merry Islington
These merry 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, wond'ring much
To see how he did ride.
But yet his horse was not a whit
Inclin❜d 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.
Stop, stop, John Gilpin-Here's the house-
They all at once did cry;
The dinner waits, and we are tir'd;
Said Gilpin-So am I!
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, amaz'd to see
His neighbour in such trim,
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,
And thus accosted him:
Say why bareheaded you are come,
Or why you come at all?
What news? what news? your tidings tell
Tell me you must and shall—