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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
Her tender husband, wond'ring 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 tir'd:

Said Gilpin—So am I!

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.

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
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 bareheaded you are come,

Or why you come at all?

[graphic]

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,
My hat and wig will soon be here,

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,
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 hat and wig:
He lost them sooner than at first,

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,
The frighted steed he frighted more,

And made him faster run.

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