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A beast forth-sallied on the scout,

THE POET'S NEW-YEAR'S GIFT Long-backed, long-tailed, with whisker'd snout, And badger-coloured hide.

TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON. He, entering at the study-door,

Maria! I have every good
Its ample area ’gan explore ;

For thee wished many a time,
And something in the wind

Both sad, and in a cheerful mood,
Conjectured, sniffing round and round,

But never yet in rhyme.
Better than all the books he found,

To wish thee fairer is no need,
Food chiefly for the mind.

More prudent, or more sprightly,
Just then, by adverse fate imprest,

Or more ingenious, or more freed
A dream disturbed poor Bully's rest;

From temper-flaws unsightly.
In sleep he seemed to view

What favour then not yet possest
A rat, fast-clinging to the cage,

Can I for thee require,
And screaming at the sad presage,

In wedded love already blest,
Awoke and found it true.

To thy whole heart's desire?
For, aided both by ear and scent,

None here is happy but in part:
Right to his mark the monster went-

Full bliss is bliss divine;
Ah, Muse! forbear to speak

There dwells some wish in every heart, Minute the horrors that ensued;

And doubtless one in thine.
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood-
He left poor Bully's beak.

That wish on some fair future day,

Which fate shall brightly gild,
He left it-but he should have ta'en;
That beak, whence issued many a strain

("Tis blameless, be it what it may)
Of such mellifluous tone,

I wish it all fulfilled.
Might have repaid him well, I wote,
For silencing so sweet a throat,

Fast set within his own.!

Maria weeps—the Muses mourn-
So, when by Bacchanalians torn,

I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,

If birds confabulate or no;
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell;

'Tis clear that they were always able His head alone remained to tell

To hold discourse, at least in fable;
The cruel death he died.

And e'en the child who knows no better,
Than to interpret by the letter
A story of a cock and bull,

Must have a most uncommon skull.

It chanced then on a winter's day,
The rose had been washed, just washed in a shower,

But warm, and bright, and calm as May, Which Mary to Anna conveyed,

The birds, conceiving a design

To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
The plentiful moisture incumbered the flower,
And weighed down its beautiful head.

In many an orchard, copse, and grove,

Assembled on affairs of love,
The cup was all filled, and the leaves were all wet; And with much twitter and much chatter,
And it seemed, to a fanciful view,

Began to agitate the matter.
To weep for the buds it had left with regret, At length a Bulfinch, who could boast
On the flourishing bush where it grew.

More years and wisdom than the most,

Entreated, opening wide his beak, I hastily seized it, unfit as it was

A moment's liberty to speak; For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd,

And, silence publicly enjoined, And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!

Delivered briefly thus his mind. I snapped it, it fell to the ground.

My friends! be cautious how ye treat

The subject upon which we meet;
And such, I exclaimed, is the pitiless part

I fear we shall have winter yet.
Some act by the delicate mind,
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart

A Finch, whose tongue knew no control,

With golden wing, and satin pole, Already to sorrow resigned.

A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,

What marriage means, thus pert replied.
Might have bloomed with its owner a while, Methinks the gentleman, quoth she,
And the tear, that is wiped with a little address, Opposite in the apple-tree,
May be followed perhaps by a smile.

By his good will would keep us single,


He sees that this great roundabout

But 'tis her own important charge The world, with all its motley rout,

To qualify him more at large, Church, army, physic, law,

And make him quite a wit. Its customs, and its businesses,

Sweet Poll! his doating mistress cries, Is no concern at all of his,

Sweet Poll! the mimic bird replies; And says—what says he ?-Caw.

And calls aloud for sack. Thrice happy bird! I too have seen

She next instructs him in the kiss; Much of the vanities of men;

'Tis now a little one, like Miss, And, sick of having seen 'em,

And now a hearty smack. Would cheerfully these limbs resign

At first he aims at what he bears; For such a pair of wings as thine,

And, listening close with both his ears,
And such a head between 'em.

Just catches at the sound;
But soon articulates aloud,

Much to the amusement of the crowd,
Little inmate, full of mirth,

And stuns the neighbours round.
Chirping on my kitchen hearth,
Wheresoe'er be thine abode,

A querulous old woman's voice
Always harbinger of good.

His humorous talent next employs, Pay me for thy warm retreat

He scolds and gives the lie. With a song more soft and sweet;

And now he sings, and now is sick, In return thou shalt receive

Here Sally, Susan, come, come quick, Such a strain as I can give.

Poor Poll is like to die!

Belinda and her bird ! 'tis rare
Thus thy praise shall be exprest,
Inoffensive, welcome guest!

To meet with such a well-matched pair,
While the rat is on the scout,

The language and the tone, And the mouse with curious snout,

Each character in every part With what vermin else infest

Sustained with so much grace and art,

And both in unison.
Every dish, and spoil the best;
Frisking thus before the fire,

When children first begin to spell,
Thou hast all thine heart's desire.

And stammer out a syllable,

We think them tedious creatures; Though in voice and shape they be

But difficulties soon abate, Formed as if akin to thee,

When birds are to be taught to prate,
Thou surpassest, happier far,

And women are the teachers.
Happiest grasshoppers that are;
Theirs is but a summer's song,
Thine endures the winter long,
Unimpaired, and shrill, and clear,
Melody throughout the year,




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He soon replied, I do admire

Then over all, that he might be Of womankind but one,

Equipped from top to toe, And you are she, my dearest dear,

His long red cloak, well brushed and neat, Therefore it shall be done.

He manfully did throw. I am a linen-draper bold,

Now see him mounted once again As all the world doth know,

Upon his nimble steed, And my good friend the calender

Full slowly pacing o'er the stones, Will lend his horse to go.

With caution and good heed. Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, That's well said;

But finding soon a smoother road And, for that wine is dear,

Beneath his well-shod feet, We will be furnished with our own,

The snorting beast began to trot, Which is both bright and clear.

Which galled him in his seat. John Gilpin kissed his loving wife;

So, fair and softly, John he cried, O'erjoyed was he to find

But John he cried in vain; That, though on pleasure she was bent,

That trot became a gallop soon,
She had a frugal mind.

In spite of curb and rein.
The morning came, the chaise was brought, So stooping down, as needs he must
But yet was not allowed

Who cannot sit upright,
To drive up to the door, lest all

He grasped the mane with both his hands, Should say that she was proud.

And eke with all his might. So three doors off the chaise was stayed,

His horse, who never in that sort Where they did all get in;

Had handled been before, Six precious souls, and all agog

What thing upon his back had got To dash through thick and thin.

Did wonder more and more. Smack went the whip, round went the wheels, Away went Gilpin, neck or nought; Were never folk so glad,

Away went hat and wig;
The stones did rattle underneath,

He little dreamt when he set out,
As if Cheapside were mad.

Of running such a rig.
John Gilpin at his horse's side

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly Seized fast the flowing mane,

Like streamer long and gay,
And up he got, in haste to ride,

Till, loop and button failing both,
But soon came down again;

At last it flew away.
For saddle-tree scarce reached had he,

Then might all people well discern
His journey to begin,

The bottles he had slung;
When, turning round his head, he saw

A bottle swinging at each side,
Three customers come in.

As hath been said or sung.
So down he came; for loss of time,

The dogs did bark, the children screamed, Although it grieved him sore;

Up flew the windows all; Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,

And every soul cried out, Well done! Would trouble him much more.

As loud as he could bawl. 'Twas long before the customers

Away went Gilpin—who but he ?
Were suited to their mind,

His fame soon spread around,
When Betty screaming came down stairs,

He carries weight! he rides a race! “ The wine is left behind!”

'Tis for a thousand pound! Good lack! quoth he-yet bring it me,

And still, as fast as he drew near,
My leathern belt likewise,

'Twas wonderful to view In which I bear my trusty sword

How in a trice the turnpike men
When I do exercise.

Their gates wide open threw.
Now mistress Gilpin (careful soul!)

And now, as he went bowing down
Had two stone bottles found,

His reeking head full low,
To hold the liquor that she loved,

The bottles twain behind his back
And keep it safe and sound.

Were shattered at a blow.
Each bottle had a curling ear,

Down ran the wine into the road,
Through which the belt he drew,

Most piteous to be seen,
And hung a bottle on each side,

Which made his horse's flanks to smoke, To make his balance true.

As they had basted been.

But still he seemed to carry weight,

He held them up, and in his turn With leathern girdle braced ;

Thus showed his ready wit, For all might see the bottle-necks

My head is twice as big as yours, Still dangling at his waist.

They therefore needs must fit. Thus all through merry Islington

But let me scrape the dirt away, These gambols he did play,

That hangs upon your face; Until he came unto the Wash

And stop and eat, for well you may Of Edmonton so gay:

Be in a hungry case. And there he threw the wash about

Said John, it is my wedding-day, On both sides of the way,

And all the world would stare Just like unto a trundling mop,

If wife should dine at Edmonton, Or a wild goose at play.

And I should dine at Ware. At Edmonton his loving wife

So turning to his horse, he said, From the balcony spied

I am in haste to dine; Her tender husband, wondering much

'Twas for your pleasure you came here, To see how he did ride.

You shall go back for mine. Stop, stop, John Gilpin!—Here's the house Ah luckless speech, and bootless boast? They all at once did cry;

For which he paid full dear; The dinner waits, and we are tired:

For, while he spake, a braying ass Said Gilpin-So am I!

Did sing most loud and clear; But yet his horse was not a whit

Whereat his horse did snort, as he Inclined to tarry there;

Had heard a lion roar, For why?-his owner had a house

And galloped off with all his might, Full ten miles off, at Ware.

As he had done before. So like an arrow swift he flew,

Away went Gilpin, and away Shot by an archer strong;

Went Gilpin's hat and wig. So did he fly—which brings me to

He lost them sooner than at first, The middle of my song.

For why?—they were too big. Away went Gilpin out of breath,

Now mistress Gilpin, when she saw And sore against his will,

Her husband posting down Till at his friend the calender's

Into the country far away, His horse at last stood still.

She pulled out half a crown; The calender, amazed to see

And thus unto the youth she said, His neighbour in such trim,

That drove them to the Bell, Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,

This shall be yours when you bring back And thus accosted him.

My husband safe and well. What news? what news? your tidings tell;

The youth did ride, and soon did meet Tell me you must and shall

John coming back amain; Say why bare-headed you are come,

Whom in a trice he tried to stop, Or why you come at all?

By catching at his rein; Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,

But not performing what he meant, And loved a timely joke!

And gladly would have done, And thus unto the calender

The frighted steed he frighted more, In merry guise he spoke:

And made him faster run. I came because your horse would come;

Away went Gilpin, and away And, if I well forbode,

Went post-boy at his heels, My hat and wig will soon be here,

The post-boy's horse right glad to miss They are upon the road.

The lumbering of the wheels. The calender, right glad to find

Six gentlemen upon the road His friend in merry pin,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly, Returned him not a single word,

With post-boy scampering in the rear, But to the house went in;

They raised the hue and cry: Whence straight he came with hat and wig; Stop thief! stop thief !—a highwayman! A wig that flowed behind,

Not one of them was mute; A hat not much the worse for wear,

And all and each that passed that way Each comely in its kind.

Did join in the pursuit.

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And now the turnpike gates again

Their length and colour from the locks they spare;
in short space;

The elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
The toll-men thinking as before

That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,
That Gilpin rode a race.

That play of lungs, inhaling and again

Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
And so he did, and won it too,

Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
For he got first to town;

Mine have not pilfered yet; nor yet impaired
Nor stopped till where he had got up

My relish of fair prospect; scenes that soothed
He did again get down.

Or charmed me young, no longer young, I find

Still soothing, and of power to charm me still.
Now let us sing, long live the king,

And witness, dear companiou of my walks,
And Gilpin long live he;

Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
And, when he next doth ride abroad,

Fast locked in mine, with pleasure such as love,
May I be there to see!

Confirmed by long experience of thy worth
And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire-

Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.

Thou knowest my praise of nature most sincere,
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hired to watch the sick, And that my raptures are not conjured up
Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he, To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour But genuine, and art partner of them all.
To sleep within the carriage more secure,

How oft upon yon eminence our pace His legs depending at the open door.

Has slackened to a pause, and we have borne Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk,

The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew, The tedious rector drawling over his head;

While admiration, feeding at the eye, And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene. Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead, Thence with what pleasure have we just discerned Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour The distant plough still moving, and beside To slumber in the carriage more secure,

His labouring team, that swerved not from the track, Nor sleep enjoyed by curate in his desk,

The sturdy swain diminished to a boy! Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet,

Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain Compared with the repose the sofa yields.

Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er, Oh may I live exempted (while I live

Conducts the eye along his sinuous course Guiltless of pampered appetite obscene)

Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank, From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe

Stand, never overlooked, our favourite elms, Of libertine excess. The sofa suits

That screen the herdsmau's solitary hut; The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,

While far beyond, and overthwart the stream Though on a sofa, may I never feel:

That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale,
For I have loved the rural walk through lanes The sloping land recedes into the clouds;
Of grassy swarth, close cropt by nibbling sheep, Displaying on its varied side the grace
And skirted thick with intertexture firm

Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tower,
Of thorny boughs; have loved the rural walk Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful bells
O'er hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink, Just undulates upon the listening ear,
E'er since a truant boy I passed my bounds

Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote.
To enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames; Scenes must be beautiful, which daily viewed
And still remember, nor without regret

Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Of hours, that sorrow since has much endeared : Long knowledge and the scrutiny of

How oft, my slice of pocket store consumed,

Praise justly due to those that I describe.
Still hungering, pennyless, and far from home,

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,

Exhilirate the spirit, and restore
Or blushing crabs, or berries, that imboss

The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds,
The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere.

That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite

Of ancient growth, make music not unlike
Disdains not; nor the palate, undepraved

The dash of ocean on his winding shore,
By culinary arts, unsavory deems.

And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
No sofa then awaited my return;

Unnumbered branches waving in the blast, Nor sofa then I needed. Youth repairs

And all their leaves fast fluttering, all at once.
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil

Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Incurring short fatigue; and, though our years, Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
As life declines, speed rapidly away,

Of neighbouring fountain, or of rills that slip

Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall And not a year but pilfers as he goes

Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
Some youthful grace, that age would gladly keep,

In matted grass, that with a livelier green
A tooth or auburn lock; and by degrees

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