With two spurs or one, and no great matter which,
Boots bought, or boots borrow'd, a whip or a switch,
Five shillings or less for the hire of his beast,
Paid part into hand;--you must wait for the rest.
Thus equipt, Academicus climbs up his horse,
And out they both sally for better or worse;
His heart void of fear, and as light as a feather;
And in violent haste to go not knowing whither.
Through the fields and the towns; (see!) he scampers along:
And is look’d at and laugh'd at by old and by young.
Til, at length overspent, and his sides smear'd with blood,
Down tumbles his horse, man and all in the mud.
In a wagon or chaise, shall he finish his route?
Oh! scandalous fate! he must do it on foot.
Young gentlemen, hear!--I am older than you;
The advice that I give I have proved to be true;
Wherever your journey may be, never doubt it,
The faster you ride, you’re the longer about it.

More verses by William Cowper

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