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Yet-backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the MORALS clean,
(Forgive the crime,) I wish them, I confess,
Or better managed, or encouraged less.

THE DIVERTING HISTORY

OF

JOHN GILPIN,

SHOWING HOW HE WENT FARTHER THAN HE INTENDED,

AND CAME SAFE HOME AGAIN.

Joun Gilpin was a citizen

Of credit and renown,
A train-band Captain eke was he

Of famous London town.
John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,

Though wedded we have been
These twice ten tedious years, yet we

No holiday have seen.
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 Callender

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 pleasure 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

Seized 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 grieved him sore,
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,

Would trouble him much more. ’T was 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 loved,

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 ncat

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 aroundHe 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 he did play,
And till 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's the Callender's

His horse at last stood still.
The Callender, amazed to see

His neighbour 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 bare-headed you are come,

Or why you come at all ?
Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit

And loved a timely joke,
And thus unto the Callender

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.

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