John Gilpin kissed his loving wife;
O’er joyed 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 allowed
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud.
So three doors off the chaise was stayed,
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 Cheapside were mad.
John Gilpin at his horse’s side
Seized fast the flowing mane,
And up he got, in haste to ride,
But soon came down again;
For saddle-tree scarce reached 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 grieved 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 screaming came down stairs,
“The wine is left behind!”
“Good lack!” quoth he—“yet
bring it me
My leathern belt likewise,
In which I bear my trusty sword
When I do exercise.”
Now Mistress Gilpin (careful soul!)
Had two stone bottles found,
To hold the liquor that she loved,
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
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.