ページの画像
PDF
ePub

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 the calender's

His horse at last stood still.

The calender, amaz'd 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 lov'd a timely joke; And thus unto the calender

In merry guise he spoke:

“ 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.”

The calender, 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 it's kind.

He held them up, and in his turn

Thus show'd 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."

Said John, “ It is my wedding-day,

And all the world would stare, If wife should dine at Edmonton,

And I should dine at Ware.”

So turning to his horse, he said,

6 I am in haste to dine; 'T was 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 he

Had 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 Mistress Gilpin, when she saw

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 did mee

John coming back amain; Whom in a trice he tried to stop,

By catching at his rein ;

But not performing what he meant,

And gladly would have done,
The frighted steed he frighted more,

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 Ay,
With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,

They rais'd the hue and cry:

[ocr errors]

“ Stop thief! stop thief!- a highwayman!"

Not one of them was mute;
And all and each that pass'd that way

Did join in the pursuit.
And now the turnpike gates again

Flew open in short space;
The toll-men thinking as before,

That Gilpin rode a race.

And so he did, and won it too,

For he got first to town;
Nor stopp'd till where he had got up

He did again get down.

Now let us sing, Long live the King,

And Gilpin long live he ;
And, when he next doth ride abroad,

May I be there to see !

AN EPISTLE

TO

JOSEPH HILL, Esq. DEAR JOSEPH five-and-twenty years ago Alas, how time escapes ! — 't is even so With frequent intercourse, and always sweet, And always friendly, we were wont to cheat A tedious hour — and now we never meet ! As some grave gentleman in Terence says, ('T was therefore much the same in ancient days,)

Good lack, we know not what to-morrow brings -
Strange fluctuation of all human things !
True. Changes will befall, and friends may part,
But distance only cannot change the heart :
And, were I call’d to prove th' assertion true,
One proof should serve - a reference to you.

Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life,
Though nothing have occurr'd to kindle strife,
We find the friends we fancied we had won,
Though num'rous once, reduc'd to few or none ?
Can gold grow worthless, that has stood the touch ?
No; gold they seem'd, but they were never such.

Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe, Swinging the parlour door upon it's hinge, Dreading a negative, and overaw'd Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad. “ Go, fellow !-whither?”turning short about “ Nay. Stay at home-you 're always going out." “ 'T is but a step, sir, just at the street's end.” « For what?”—“An please you, sir, to see a friend." “ A friend !” Horatio cried, and seem'd to start“ Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart. And fetch my cloak ; for, though the night be raw, I'll see him too the first I ever saw.”

I knew the man, and knew his nature mild, And was his plaything often when a child ; But somewhat at that moment pinch'd him close, Else he was seldom bitter or morose. Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd, His grief might prompt hin with the speech he made; Perhaps 't was mere good-humour gave it birth, The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.

« 前へ次へ »