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pots of beautiful balsams, ornamented the window where she workeit ; and she thought it very pleasant to sit there on a fine day, like this, with these pretty flowers before her, and her canary singing his lively tunes.

THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN.

I.

HAMELIN's towns 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.

II.

Rats!
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 cook's own ladles ;
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats

By drowning their speaking

With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

III.

At last the people in a body

To the Town Hall came flocking. 'Tis clear,” said 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.

IV.

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 brainI'm sure my poor head aches again; I've scratched 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 ? Only a scraping of shoes on the mat. Anything like the sound of a rat Makes my heart go pit-a-pat.

V.

“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 bair, yet swarthy skin
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in.
There was no guessing bis 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 tombstone !"

VI.

He advanced to the councıl 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,

After me so as you never saw'
And I chiefly use my charm
On creatures that do people harm-
The mole, and toad, and newt, 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 self-s.: me check,

And at the scarf's end nung 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 swarms of gnats;
I eased 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 astonished Mayor and Corporation.

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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 when salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered ;
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, grey 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,
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing.
Until they came to the River Weser,

Wherein all plunged and perished,
Save one, who, stout as Julius Cæsar,
Swam across, and lived to carry

(As he the manuscript he cherished) To Rat-land home his commentary, Which was : “At the first shrill note 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, And a leaving ajar of conserve cupboards, And a drawing the corks of train-oil flasks, And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks ; 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! To munch

crunch on,

take

your nuncheon, Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!' And just as a bulky sugar puncheon, All ready staved, like a great sun shone Glorious scarce an inch before me, Just as methought it said, 'Come, bere me!' I found the Weser rolling o'er me.”

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