Page images
PDF

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 it's kind.

He held them up, and in his turn

Thus show'd 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 gallop'd off with all his might,

As he had done before.

Away went Gilpin, and away

Went Gilpin's bat and wig:
He lost them sooner than at first,

For wby ?--they were too big..

Now mistress Gilpin, ryhen 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 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, a 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 lumb'ring of the wheels.

Six gentlemen upon the road,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,

They rais'd the hue and cry :

Stop thief! stop thief !ma 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.

Now let us sing, long live the kings

And Gilpin long live he;
And, when he next doth ride abroad,

May I be there to sce!

AN EPISTLE

TO

AN AFFLICTED PROTESTANT LADY IN FRANCE.

MADAM,
A STRANGER's purpose in these lays
Is to congratulate, and not to praise.
To give the creature the Creator's due
Were sin in me, and an offence to you.
From man to man, or ev'n to woman paid,
Praise is the medium of a knavish trade,
A coin by Craft for Folly's use design'd,
Spurious, and only current with the blind.

The path of sorrow, and that path alone, Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown ; No travöller ever reach'd that blest abode, Who found not thorns and briers in his road. The World may dance along the flow'ry plain, Cheer'd as they go by many a sprightly strain, Where Nature has her mossy velvet spread, With unshod feet they yet securely tread,

EPISTLE TO A LADY IN FRANCE.

327

Admonish'd, scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of it's end.
But he, who knew what human hearts would prove,
How slow to learn the dictates of his love,
That, hard by nature and of stubborn will,
A life of case would make them harder still,
In pity to the souls his grace design'd
To rescue from the ruins of mankind,
Calld for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, “ Go, spend them in the vale of tears,"
O balmy gales of soul reviving air!
O salutary streams, that murmur there! :
These flowing from the fount of grace above,
Those breath'd from lips of everlasting love.
The flinty soil indeed their feet annoys ;
Chill blasts of trouble nip their springing joys;
An envious World will interpose it's frown,
To mar delights superior to it's own;
And many a pang, experienc'd still within,
Reminds them of their hated inmate, Sin :
But ills of ev'ry shape and ev'ry name,
Transform’d to blessings, miss their cruel aim;
And ev'ry moment's calm, that sooths the breast,
Is giv'n in earnest of eternal rest.

Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless waste !
No shepherd's tents within thy view appear,
But the chief Shepherd even there is near ;

« PreviousContinue »