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'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,
When I do exercise.
Now mistress 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, And 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,
With caution and good heed!
But, finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his well-shod 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;
That 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.
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!-
Of running such a rig!
The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
Like streamer long and gay,
At last it flew away.
Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung;
As hath been said or sung.
The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,
Up flew the windows all; And ev'ry soul cried out-Well done! · As loud as he could bawl.
Away went Gilpin—who but he?
His fame soon spread aroundHe 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 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.