Page images
[blocks in formation]

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 here 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 spied

Her tender husband, wondering much

To see how he did ride.

"Stop, stop, John Gilpin! Here's the house!"

They all at once did cry;

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

"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 could 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."

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,

"I am in haste to dine;

"Twas for your pleasure you came here,

You shall go back for mine."

Ah! luckless speech, and bootless boast,
For which he paid full dear:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

"Stop thief! stop thief!—a highwayman!"

[blocks in formation]

And all and each that passed that way

Did join in the pursuit.

And now the turnpike gates again

Flew open in short space;
The tollmen thinking as before,

That Gilpin rode a race.

And so he did, and won it too,
For he got first to town;

Nor stopped 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!



(From the "Defence of Usury.")

[JEREMY BENTHAM, a great English jurist and social philosopher, was born at London in 1748; graduated from Queen's College, Oxford; was called to the bar, but gave up practice for literature, inheriting a fortune in 1792 which enabled him to work independently. His working out of utilitarianism has had enormous influence on all later speculation and much practical legislation. He wrote, among other things, "Fragment on Government" (1776), "Defence of Usury" (1786), "Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation" (1789), “Rationale of Judicial Evidence" (1827), “The Constitutional Code" (1830).]

IN THE preceding letters, I have examined all the modes I can think of, in which the restraints imposed by the laws against usury can have been fancied to be of service.

I hope it appears by this time, that there are no ways in which those laws can do any good. But there are several, in which they cannot but do mischief.

The first I shall mention, is that of precluding so many people altogether from the getting the money they stand in need of, to answer their respective exigencies. Think what a distress it would produce, were the liberty of borrowing denied to everybody; denied to those who have such security to offer,

« PreviousContinue »