Poem composed, in the style of John Gilpin by members of the family in 1865.
Edith Gibson wrote the poem in pencil, in her sketch book. Some of the lines are difficult to recover and have been left blank.
The Gibsons were a family
Of credit and renown
And one amongst them gained a prize
At famous Oxford town –
Said Mrs Gibson "Since my son
"A Gaisford prize can show
"To hear him read it I for one
"To Oxford Town will go."
And with herself her daughters three
Said she, she’d gladly take –
So all set out one lovely day
This pleasant trip to make.
And when the Oxford youth appeared
His verses to recite,
His fellow gownsmen loudly cheered
The ladies all looked bright.
Four days in varied joy were passed
And then twas time to go: -
For all things good must end at last
And so must Oxford’s show –
A river runs by Oxford town
A river deep & slow
The ladies cried with one accord
"By water let us go –"
The bills were paid Goodbyes were said
The bags were sent before
that mother bold
"Let us Mrs Gibson, son and daughters
To row them there across the waters.
They had not rowed a mile or more
A mile but only three
A woeful scene to see.
But when they passed by Culham Lock
The skys began to clear
And so they pulled them close to shore
To eat their luncheon there.
Few forks they had, no glasses sung
But little did they care.
They drank from bottles, picked the bones
So ate their simple fair.
Thus on their pleasant way they sped
With scull or oar or sail
To Shillingford; which brings me to
The middle of my tale.
Hot chops & tea was then the cry
But patience was required.
For chops & tea were slow to come
And everyone was tired.
At length a pile of dishes came,
A cover for each guest.
They ate their supper, said Good Night,
And each retired to rest.
Uprose & early trasted
To bathe their stalwart limbs before
Their breakfast they had tasted.
Then in the river wide and deep
The paid the
With many a just and pleasant song
They while the hours away.
And when they came to Camelford.
Not told in days of yore
Of pleasant memories to come
They next put in to shore.
And there to linger on their road
The youths got our to wade.
They washed their feet & dipped their head
The ladies sketched or played.
An ancient mill-wheel turned hard by
They drew the boat ashore.
The mill wheel stopped, the water sank
The boat would float no more.
With rapid steps across the stream
They rushed, the boat to save.
They pushed it off & soon it was
Again upon the wave.
And now alas ! the end drew near
For Reading came in sight.
And they must go by train from there
To reach their home that night.
To tell of all they said & did
A thousand tomes would fail
But through it all from first to last
Good humour did prevail.
Ye visitors to Oxford town
Forsake ! Forsake the rail
For you will find it pleasanter
By far, to row or sail.