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Copyright, 7010, by
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ENTERED AT STATIONERS' HALL
Edition of 1937
Lived to carry . . .
To Rat-land home his commentary" -
And bit the babies in the cradles
"At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking"
"Hamelin Town's in Brunswick '
They fought the dogs and killed the cats"
"And licked the soup from the cooks' own
'"Come in!' the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!"
"And even spoiled the women's chats
By drowning their speaking -
"Into the street the Piper stept" - - -
"From street to street he piped advancing"
"And step for step they followed dancing"
"'Oh rats, rejoice'"!
"'The world is grown to one vast
drysaltery ! ' "
" ' First, if you please, my thousand guilders!"
"For council dinners make rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-grave,
"Out came the children running"
"All the little boys and girls" -
24 and 25
28 and 29
34 and 35
36 and 37
"The little boys and girls . . . ran merrily after" 42
"The wonderful music with shouting and
"To Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed" 44 and 45
"A wondrous portal opened wide" 47
"'I can't forget that I'm bereft
"Of all the pleasant sights they see'" 48 and 49
"'And never hear of that country more!'" 51
"Piper and dancers were gone for ever" 52
"Lawyers never should think their records
dated duly" 53
"They wrote the story on a column" 54
"On the great church- window painted the
same" - - 55
Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
THEY FOUGHT THE DOGS
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty.
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.
AND KILLED THE CATS"
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks'
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
nests inside men
And even spoiled the women's chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats*
At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
"'Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's
"And as for our Corporation shocking
" To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
"For dolts that can't or won't determine
"What's best to rid us of our vermin!
' You hope, because you're old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease ?
u Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a rack-
( To find the remedy we're lacking,
u Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!"
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with mighty consternation,
An hour they sat in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence:
"For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell,
"I wish I were a mile hence!
It's easy to bid one rack one's brain-
I'm sure my poor head aches again,
I've scratched it so, and all in vain,
Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!"
sst as he said this what should hap
Lt the chamber door but a gentle tap?
"AND LICKED THE SOUP
"Bless us/' cried the Mayor, "what's that?
(With the Corporation as he sat,
Looking little though wondrous fat;
Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
Than a too-long-opened oyster,
FROM THE COOKS' OWN LADLES" /"age 17
Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
"Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
"Anything like the sound of a rat
" Makes my heart go pit-a-pat !"
"Come in!" the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long coat from heel to head
Was half of yellow and half of red,
And he himself was tall and thin,
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in;
There was no guessing his kith and kin:
And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire.
Quoth one: "It's as my great-grandsire,
"Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone,
"Had walked this way from his painted
"AND EVEN SPOILED THE WOMEN'S CHATS
He advanced to the council-table:
And, "Please your honours/' said he, "I'm able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw
"All creatures living beneath the sun,
'That creep or swim or fly or run,
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the self -same cheque j
And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
As if impatient to be playing
Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
Over his vesture so old-fangled,)
( Yet, n said he, "poor piper as I am,
"In Tartary I freed the Cham,
"Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats ;
"I eased in Asia the Nizam
"Of a monstrous brood of vampyre-bats :
"And as for what your brain bewilders,
"If I can rid your town of rats
"Will you give me a thousand guilders?'
"One ? fifty thousand ! " was the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation,
Into the street the Piper stept,
Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
In his quiet pipe the while ;
Then, like a musical adept,
To blow the pipe his lip he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the murmuring grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling*
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
"INTO THE STREET
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives
Followed the Piper for their lives,
*K\ From street to street he piped advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
THE PIPER STEPT."Page 27
Until they came to the river Weser,
Wherein all plunged and perished I
Save one who, stout as Julius Caesar,
Swam across and lived to carry
(As he the manuscript he cherished)
To Rat-land home his commentary:
Which was, "At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
^> ^^r ^^9^w ^^r ^j
" ' 0# #,47*5, REJOICE!
"I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
"And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
"Into a cider-press's gripe:
"And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
"And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
"And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
; And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks:
THE WORLD IS GROWN TO ONE VAST DRYSALTERY 1'
rj "And it seemed as if a voice
("Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
"Is breathed) called out, 'Oh rats, rejoice!
'The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
'So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
'Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon V
And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
" ' FIRST, IF YOU PLEASE,
" All ready staved, like a great sun shone
u Glorious scarce an inch before me,
'Just as methought it said, 'Come, bore
" I found the Weser rolling o'er me."
You should have heard the Hamelm people
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
THOUSAND GUILDERS!' '
Go/' cried the Mayor, "and get long poles,
"Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
44 Consult with carpenters and builders,
"And leave in our town not even a trace
"Of the rats!" when suddenly, up the face
Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
With a, "First t if you please, my thousand
"FOR COUNCIL DINNERS MAKE RARE HAVOC
A thousand guilders ! The Mayor looked blue ; &
So did the Corporation too.
For council dinners make rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
WITH CLARET, MOSELLE, VIN-tE-GRAVE. HOCK."
Their cellar^ biggest butt with Rhenish*
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!
"Beside/' quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
"Our business was done at the river's brink;
"We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
"And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
[ 'So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
u From the duty of giving you something for drink,
"And a matter of money to put in your poke;
"But as for the guilders, what we spoke
"Of them, as you very well know, was in joke,
"Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
"A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!"
The Piper's face fell, and he cried
"No trifling! I can't wait, beside!
"I've promised to visit by dinnertime
"Bagdat, and accept the prime
"Of the Head-Cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
"For having left, in the Caliph's kitchen,
"Of a nest of scorpions no survivor:
"With him I proved no bargain-driver,
"With you, don't think Pll bate a stiver!
"And folks who put me in a passion
"May find me pipe after another fashion/'
"How?" cried the Mayor, "d'ye think I brook |
"Being worse treated than a Cook?
"Insulted by a lazy ribald
'With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
'You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
"Blow your pipe there till you burst !"
Once more he stept into the street
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane ;
And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
Never gave the enraptured air)
" OUT CAME THE CHILDREN RUNNING.
There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling ;
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley
I ' - ' W J v! **
ALL THE LITTLE BOYS AND GIRLS."
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.
"TO KOPPELBERG HILL
The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by,
Could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper's back*
HIS STEPS ADDRESSED. ' '
But how the Mayor was on the rack.
And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,
As the Piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
However he turned from South to West,
And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast,
u He never can cross that mighty top!
u He's forced to let the piping drop,
u And we shall see our children stop!"
When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast*
Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say,
"It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
"I can't forget that I'm bereft
" '/ CAN'T FORGET THAT FM BEREFT
"Of all the pleasant sights they see,
"Which the Piper also promised me*
"For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
"Joining the town and just at hand,
"Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew
"And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
OF ALL THE PLEASANT SIGHTS THEY SEE.'"
And everything was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here, Ifij
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagle's wings:
And just as I became assured
"My lame foot would be speedily cured,
'The music stopped and I stood still,
"And found myself outside the Ml,
u Left alone against my will,
( To go now limping as before,
"And never hear of that country more!' 1
Alas, alas for Hamelin!
There came into many a burgher's pate
A text which says that heaven's gate
Opes to the rich at as easy rate
As the needle's eye takes a camel in!
The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South,]
To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
Wherever it was men's lot to find him.
Silver and gold to his heart's content,
If he'd only return the way he went,
$ trottthear tf mt country
"PIPER AND DANCERS WERE GONE FOR EVER/'
And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavour.
And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear,
"LAWYERS NEVER SHOULD THINK THEIR RECORDS
"And so long after what happened here
u On the Twenty-second of July,
( Thirteen hundred and seventy-six : t:
And the better in memory to fix
w The place of the children's last retreat,
g i They called it, the Pied Piper's Street
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
"THEY WROTE THE STORY ON A COLUMN.
Was sure for the future to lose his labour*
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
But opposite the place of the cavern
They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great church-window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
r/ffi 1 GREAT CHURCH-WINDOW PAINTED THE SAME."
How their children were stolen away,
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there's a tribe
Of alien people who ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbours lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don't understand.
So, Willy, let me and you be wipers
Of scores out with all men especially pipers!
And, whether they pipe us free from rats or
If weVe promised them aught, let us keep