In 1880 Randolph Caldecott further popularized
this centuries-old song with his illustrations to
a delightful Lancashire dialect version,
"The Three Jovial Huntsmen".
Here is a typical verse:
"They hunted, an' they hollo'd, an' the next thing
they did find.
Was a bull-calf in a pin-fold, an' that, too,
they left behind. Look ye there!
One said it was a bull-calf, an' another he
It's just a painted jackass, that has never
learnt to bray. Look ye there!"
"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."
Poem by William Cowper.