Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

16 Good lack ! quoth he—yet bring it me,

My leathern belt likewise,
In which I bear my trusty sword,

When I do exercise.

17 Now Mistress Gilpin (careful soul !)

Had two stone bottles found,
To hold the liquor that she loved,

And keep it safe and sound.

18 Each bottle had a curling ear,

Through which the belt he drew,
And hung a bottle on each side,

To make his balance true.

19 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.

20 Now see him mounted once again

Upon his nimble steed,
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones

With caution and good heed !

21 But, finding soon a smoother road

Beneath his well-shod feet,
The snorting beast began to trot,

Which gall’d him in his seat.

22 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.

23 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.

24 His borse, who never in that sort

Had handled been before,
What thing upon his back had got

Did wonder more and more.

25 Away went Gilpin, neck or nought ;

Away went hat and wig ;
He little dreamt, when he set out,

Of running such a rig.

26 The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,

Like streamer long and gay,
Till, loop and button failing both,

At last it flew away.

27 Then might all people well discern

The bottles he had slung ;
A bottle swinging at each side,

As hath been said or sung.

28 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.

29 Away went Gilpin—who but he ?

His fame soon spread around-
He carries weight! he rides a race !

'Tis for a thousand pound !

30 And still, as fast as he drew near,

'Twas wonderful to view
How in a trice the turnpike men

Their gates wide open threw.

31 And now, as he went bowing down

His reeking head full low,
The bottles twain behind his back

Were shatter'd at a blow.

32 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.

33 But still he seem'd to carry weight,

With leathern girdle braced ;
For all might see the bottle-necks

Still dangling at his waist.

34 Thus all through merry Islington

These gambols he did play,
And till he came unto the Wash

Of Edmonton so gay.

35 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.

36 At Edmonton, his loving wife

From the balcony spied
Her tender husband, wondering much

To see how he did ride.

37 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 !

38 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.

39 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.

40 Away went Gilpin, out of breath,

And sore against his will,
Till at his friend the Callender's

His horse at last stood still.

41 The Callender, amazed to see

His neighbour in such trim,
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,

And thus accosted him :

42 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.

43 Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,

And loved a timely joke ;
And thus unto the Callender

In merry guise he spoke :

44 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.

45 The Callender, right glad to find

His friend in merry pin,
Return'd him not a single word,

But to the house went in ;

46 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.

47 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.

48 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.

49 Says John, It is my wedding-day,

And all the world would stare,
If wife should dine at Edmonton,

And I should dine at Ware.

50 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.

« ForrigeFortsett »