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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 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
To see how he did ride.
Stop, stop, John Gilpin!—Here's the house—
They all at once did cry;
Said Gilpin—So am I!
But yet his horse was not a whit
Inclin'd to tarry there;
Full ten miles off, at Ware.
So like an arrow swift he flew,
Shot by an archer strong;
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, amazM to see
Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,
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 lov'd a timely joke! And thus unto the calender
In merry guise he spoke:
I came because your horse would come;
And, if I well forebode,
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;
Whence straight he came with hat and wig;
A wig that flow'd behind,
Each comely in it's kind.
He held them up, and in his turn
Thus show'd his ready wit,
They therefore needs must fit.
But let me scrape the dirt away,
And stop and eat, for well you may
Said John, It is my wedding-day,
If wife should dine at Edmonton,
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,
As he had done before.
Away went Gilpin, and away
Went Gilpin's hat and wig:
For why ?—they were too big.
Now mistress Gilpin, when 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,
And made him faster run.