Imágenes de páginas

VI.-Facetious History of John Gilpin.

JOHN GILPIN was a citizen

Of credit and renown;

A train band captain eke was he,
Offamous London town.

John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear-
Though wedded we have been

[ocr errors]

These twice ten tedious years, yet we
No holiday have seen.
Tomorrow is our wedding day,
And we shall then repair
Unto the Bell at Edmonton,
All in a chaise and pair.

My sister and my sister's child,
Myself and children three,
Will fill the chaise, so you must ride
On horseback after we.

He soon replied "I do admire
Of woman kind but one;
And you are she, my dearest dear,
Therefore it shall be done.

I am a linen draper bold,

As all the world doth know;
And my good friend, Tom Callender,
Will lend his horse to go."

Quoth Mrs. Gilpin-" That's well said;
And, for that wine is dear,

We will be furnish'd with our own,
Which is both bright and clear."

John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;
O'erjoy'd was he to find,

That though on pleasure she was bent,
She had a frugal mind.

The morning came, the chaise was brought,
But yet was not allow'd

To drive up to the door, lest all

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 folks so glad;

The stones did rattle underneath,

As if Cheapsid vere mad.

John Gilpin at his horse's side,
Seiz'd fast the flowing mane,

[ocr errors]

And up he got in haste to ride,

But soon came down again :

For saddletree scarce reach'd had he,
His journey to begin,

When turning round his head, he saw
Three customers come in,

So down he came, for loss of time,
Although it griev'd him sore,
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,
Would trouble him much more.
'Twas long before the customers
Were suited to their mind,
When Betty scream'd into his ears-
"The wine is left behind."

"Good lack!" quoth he, "yet bring it me,

My leathern belt likewise,

In which I wear my trusty sword,
When I do exercise."

Now Mrs. 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 ;
He 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;

Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,
With caution and good heed.
But finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his wellshod 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.

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;

Away went hat and wig ;

[ocr errors]

He little dreamt, when he set out,
Of running such a rig.

His horse, who never had before

Been handled in this kind,
Affrighted fled; and as he flew,
Left all the world behind.

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:

A bottle swinging at each side,
As hath been said or sung.

The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,',
Up flew the windows all;

And every soul cri'd out," Well done!"
As loud as they 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.
sates 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 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,
And till 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's, Tom Callender's,
His horse at last stood still.

Tom Callender, surpris'd to see
His friend in such a trim,

Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,

And thus accosted him :

"What news? What news? Your tidings tell Make haste and tell me all!

Say, why bareheaded are you come ?
Or why you come at all!"

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,
And lov'd a timely joke;
And thus unto Tom Callender,
In merry strains he spoke :

[ocr errors]

"I came because your horse would come;
And if I well forbode,

My hat and wig will soon be here ;
They are upon the road."

Tom Callender, 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.

He held them up; and in his turn,
Thus show'd his ready wit-

66 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 folks would gape and 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 if
He 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 Gilpin's wife, when she had seen
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 they mét ;
He tried to stop John's horse

By seizing fast the flowing rein;
But only made things worse:
For not performing what he meant,
And gladly would have done,
He thereby frighted Gilpin's horse,
And made him faster run.

Away went Gilpin-and away

Went postboy at his heels;

The postboy's horse right glad to miss

The lumb'ring of the wheels.

Six gentlemen upon the road,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly,

With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,

They rais'd the hue and cry.

"Stop thief! stop thief! a highwayman !"

Not one of them was mute;.


« AnteriorContinuar »