The Diverting History of John Gilpin
Poem by William Cowper; illustrations by Randolph Caldecott.
Look carefully at the cat on the floor,
and then click here.
||"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 folks 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 saddletree 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."
|(p 6) The family embarks.
St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside,
is clearly visible behind them.
|St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, London,
in March 2005.
|(p 7): The 3 customers.
See the wine bottles clanking on his belt...
|... and here's what happens to them.
This is the only one of the 16 Picture Books which contains double-page
colour pictures: it seems likely that the technical difficulties of reproducing
such large pictures accurately and cheaply proved too great. The first is
"Gilpin's Ride" above; to see the other, "Gilpin Chased", click here.
More about this story, and more sample pictures, can be found on
A decorative tile, based on the "Gilpin Chased" picture,
is on our "Tiles" page: click here.
All our pictures from this book, above and elsewhere on this
website, are from a first (Routledge) edition. These are the colours which
Randolph personally approved. For more on the different Editions of this
and the other Picture Books, see our "Editions" page.