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Away went Gilpin—who but he ?

His fame soon spread around,
He carries weight ![1] 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 [2] head full low,
The bottles twain behind his back

Were shattered 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 braced ;
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, [8]

Of Edmonton so gay.

[1] He carries weight-an expression used in horseracing, when the rider carries something with him, to make his weight equal to that of a heavier man.

[2) Reeking-smoking, steaming

[3] The Wash-the horse-pond, partly lying in the road.

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, wondering 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 tired!”

Said Gilpin “ So am I.”

But yet his horse was not a whit

Inclined 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, amazed 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 bare-headed you are come,

Or why you come at all ?”
Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,

And loved a timely (1) joke; And thus unto the calender,

In merry guise, [2] 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, [3]
Returned him not a single word,

But to the house went in ;
Whence straight he came with hat and wig,

A wig that flowed behind,
A hat not much the worse for wear,

Each comely in its kind.
He held them up, and in his turn

Thus showed 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 ;

[1] Timelyat the right time, seasonable.
[2] Guise manner, mood.
[3] Pin-mood, humour.

And stop and eat, for well you may . .

Be in a hungry case." [1]
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 [2] boast,

For which he paid full dear; For, while he spake, a braying ass

Did sing most loud and clear ;
Whereat [3] his horse did snort, as he

Had heard a lion roar,
And galloped 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 pulled out half-a-crown,

[1] Case-condition, state.
[2] Bootless-useless, unavailing.
[3] Whereat at which.

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, [1]
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 frightened more,

And made him faster run.
Away went Gilpin, and away

Went postboy at his heels,
The postboy's horse right glad to miss

The rumbling of the wheels.
Six gentlemen upon the road,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With postboy scampering in the rear,

They raised the hue-and-cry : [2]— “Stop thief! Stop thief !—a highwayman,"

Not one of them was mute ;
And all and each that passed 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.

[1] Amain-with vehemence, vigorously.

[2] Hue-and-cry-properly, the term used in law to express the pursuit of a thief, or other delinquent.

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