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He soon replied, “I do admire
Of womankind but one;
Therefore it shall be done.
“I am a linen-draper bold,
As all the world doth know; And my good friend the calender
Will lend his horse to go.”
Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, “That's well said ;
And for that wine is dear,
Which is both bright and clear.”
John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife ;
O’erjoy'd was he to find,
She had a frugal mind.
The morning came, the chaise was brought,
But yet was not allow'd
Should say that she was proud.
So three doors off the chaise was stay'd,
Where they did all get in; Six precious souls, and all agog
To dash through thick and thin.
Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,
Were never folk so glad;
As if Cheapside were mad.
John Gilpin at his horse's side
Seiz'd fast the flowing mane, And up he got, in haste to ride,
But soon came down again ;
For saddletree scarce reach'd had he,
His journey to begin,
Three customers come in.
So down he came; for loss of time,
Although it griev'd him sore;
Would trouble him much more.
'Twas long before the customers
Were suited to their mind,
« The wine is left behind !”
“Good lack!" quoth he—"yet bring it me,
My leathern belt likewise,
When I do exercise."
Now mistress Gilpin (careful soul!)
Had two stone bottles found, To hold the liquor that she lov'd,
And keep it safe and sound.
Each bottle had a curling ear,
Through which the belt he drew, And hung a bottle on each side,
To make his balance true.
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.
Now see him mounted once again
Upon his nimble steed,
With caution and good heed.
But finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his well-shod feet, The snorting beast began to trot,
Which gall’d him in his seat.
So, “Fair and softly," John he cried,
But John he cried in vain ; The trot became a gallop soon,
In spite of curb and rein.
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.
His horse, who never in that sort
Had handled been before,
Did wonder more and more.
Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;
Away went hat and wig;
Of running such a rig.
The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
Like streamer long and gay, Till, loop and button failing both,
At last it flew away.
Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung;
As hath been said or sung.
The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,
Up flew the windows all; And ev'ry soul cried out, “Well done!”
As loud as he could bawl.
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,
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 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.