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From street to street he piped, advancing,
Wherein all plunged and perished,
(As he the manuscript he cherished)
(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
You should have heard the Hamelin people
Consult with carpenters and builders,
With a "First, if you please, my thousand guilders!"
A thousand guilders! The mayor looked blue;
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
The piper's face fell, and he cried,
"How?" cried the mayor, "d'ye think I'll 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 stepped 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) There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling
Small feet were pattering,—wooden shoes clattering,
Out came the children running!
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,—
And could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the piper's back
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 j—
Great was the joy iu every breast.
"He never can cross that mighty top!
He's forced to let the piping drop,
And we shall sec our children stop!"
When, lo! as they reached the mountain's 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's side shut fast!
Did I say all? No; one was lame,
And in after years if you would blame
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the piper also promised me;
For he led us, he said, to a joyous laud,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and new:
The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow-deer;
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles' 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 hill.
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!"
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
Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
And bring the children behind him.
But soon they saw 'twas a lost endeavour,
But opposite the place of the cavern
THE SULIOTE MOTHER.
She stood upon the loftiest peak,
Amidst the dark-blue sky;
And a dark flash in her eye.
"Dost thou see them, boy 1 through the dusky pines, Dost thou see where the foemen's armour shines 1 Hast thou caught the gleam of the conqueror's crest'! My babe! that I cradled on my breast! Wouldst thou spring from thy mother's arms witli joy? — That sight hath cost thee a father, boy!"
For in the rocky strait beneath
Lay Suliote sire and son;
Before the pass was won.
"They have crossed the torrent, and on they come!