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 The Diverting History Of John Gilpin 
Page 2 of 3

      Then over all, that he might be
          Equipped from top to toe,
      His long red cloak, well brushed 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 well-shod feet,
      The snorting beast began to trot,
          Which galled him in his seat.
      So, "Fair and softly," John he cried,
          But John he cried in vain;
      That trot became a gallop soon,
          In spite of curb and rein.
      So stooping down, as needs be must
          Who cannot sit upright,
      He grasped the mane with both his hands
          And eke with all his might.
      His horse, who never in that sort
          Had handled been before,
      What thing upon his back had got
          Did wonder more and more.
      Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;
          Away went hat and wig;
      He little dreamt, when he set out,
          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 has slung;
      A bottle swinging at each side,
          As hath been said or sung.
      The dogs did bark, the children screamed
          Up flew the windows all;
      And every 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,
      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
          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 she 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.

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