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" To-morrow is our wedding-day,
And we will then repair Unto the Bell at Edmonton
All in a chaise and pair.
" My sister and my sister's child,
Myself, and children three, Will fill the chaise; so you must ride
On horseback after we."
He soon replied, " I do admire
Of womankind but one, And you are she, my dearest dear;
Therefore it shall be done.
" I am a linen-draper bold,
As all the world doth know, And my good friend, the calender,
Will lend his horse to go."
Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, "That's well said;
And, for that wine is dear, We will be furnished with our own,
Which is both bright and clear."
John Gilpin kissed his loving wife ;
O'erjoyed 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 folk 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 he must
Who can not sit upright, He grasped the mane with both his hanus,
And eke with all his might.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III