Page images


Away went Gilpin-who but he ?

His fame soon spread around, “He 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 seemed 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 busband wond'ring much

To see how he did ride. Stop, stop, JohnGilpin !-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, amaz'd 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 ?”
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


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 its kind.

[ocr errors]

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 Mrs. Gilpin, when she saw

Her husband posting down Into the country far away,

She pulld 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.
Away went Gilpin, and away

Went post-boy at his heels,
The post-boy's horse right glad to miss

The lumb’ring of the wheels.

gentlemen upon the road,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With post-boy scamp'ring in the rear,

They rais'd the hue and cry :“ Stop thief! Stop thief!-a highwayman!"

Not one of them was mute ;
And all and 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 set down.
Now let us sing, long live the king,

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

May I be there to see !




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 e'en 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,
Teads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
No trav’ller 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,
Admonish’d, scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of its 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 ease would make him harder still,
In pity to the souls his grace design'd
To rescue from the ruins of mankind,
Call’d for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, Go, spend them in the vale of tears."
0, balmy gales of soul-reviving air!
0, salutary streams, that murmur there !
These flowing from the fount of grace above,
Those breath'd from lips of everlasting love,

« PreviousContinue »