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
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’s 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 bareheaded you are come,
Or why you come at all?”
Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,
And loved a timely joke;
And thus unto the calender
In merry guise 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,
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;
And stop and eat, for well you may
Be in a hungry case.”