« ForrigeFortsett »
And yet peradventure one day
Thou, sitting alone at the glass, Remarking the bloom gone away,
Where the smile in its dimplement was,
And seeking around thee in vain
From hundreds who flattered before, Such a word as, “Oh, not in the main
Do I hold thee less precious, but more !.": Thou’lt sigh, very like, on thy part,
“Of all I have known or can know. I wish I had only that Heart
I trod upon ages ago !”
ROBERT BROWNING, English poet, born near London in 1812; died at Venice, 1889. In 1846 he married Elizabeth Barrett, and went with his wife to Italy. A large number of his poems were written for the stage, and while not successful as plays, have been greatly appreciated by the literary public. Among his best works may be mentioned “The Ring and the Book,” “Men and Women” and “ Dramatic Idylls."
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN
LJ AMELIN Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city ;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
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.
They fought the dogs, ana kill'd the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And lick'd the soup from the cook's own ladles, Split open the kegs of salted sprats, Made nests inside men's Sunday hats, And even spoil'd 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 a noddy;
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?
Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we're lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!”
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.
An hour they sate in counsel,
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 scratch'd it so, and all in vain.
Oh, for a trap, a trap, a trap!”
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber-door but a gentle tap?
“ 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-open'd oyster,
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 ir 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 walk'd this way from his painted tombstone!”
He advanced to the council-table:
And, “ Please your honors,” 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,
After me so as you never saw!
And I chiefly use my charm
On creatures that do people harm,
The mole, and toad, and mewt, and viper;
And people call me the Pied Piper.”
(And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the selfsame check;
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,” said he, “poor piper as I am,
In Tartary I freed the Cham,
Last June, from his huge swarm of gnats;
Teased in Asia the Nizam
Of a monstrous brood of vampire 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 astonish'd 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 lips 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 utter'd,
You heard as if an army mutter'd;
And the muttering 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,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens, Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives--Follow'd the piper for their lives. From street to street he piped advancing, And step for step they follow'd dancing, Until they came to the river Weser, Wherein all plung'd and perish’d, Save one who, stout as Julius Cæsar, Swam across and lived to carry (As the manuscript he cherish'd) To Rat-land home his commentary, Which was, “At the first shrill notes of the pipe, 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,