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they rocked the steeple; "Go," cried the mayor, "and get long poles! poke out the nests, and block up the holes! 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, if you please, my thousand guilders!"
A thousand guilders! The mayor looked blue, so did the corporation too. For council dinners made rare havock with claret, moselle, vin-de-grave, hock; and half the money would replenish their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish. To pay this sum to a wandering fellow with a gipsy coat of red and yellow! "Besides," 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 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 dinner-time 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 I'll bate a stiver ! And folks who put me in a passion, may find me pipe to another fashion."
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN.
"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 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), 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 farmyard when barley is scattering, 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.
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. And now 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 Koppleberg Hill his steps addressed, and after him
the children pressed; great was the joy in every breast.
cross that mighty top; he's forced to let the piping drop, and we shall see 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 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 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, 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!"
The mayor sent east, west, north, and south to offer the piper by word of mouth, wherever it was man's lot to find him, silver and gold to his heart's content, if he'd only return the way he went, 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, "and so long after what happened here on the twenty-second of July, thirteen hundred and seventy-six: " and the better in, memory to fix the place of the children's last retreat, they called it, the Pied Piper's Street-where any one playing on pipe or tabor, 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 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, that 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 ago in a mighty band, out of Hamelin Town in Brunswick land, but how or why, they don't understand.
So, Willy, let you and me be wipers of scores out with all men,especially pipers, and, whether they pipe us free from rats or from mice, if we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise.
THE CATARACT OF LODORE.
THE CATARACT OF LODORE.*
"How does the water come down at Lodore ? My little boy asked me thus, once on a time; and moreover he tasked me to tell him in rhyme. Anon at the word, there first came one daughter, and then came another, to second and third the request of their brother, and to hear how the water comes down at Lodore, with its rush and its roar, as many a time they had seen it before. So I told them in rhyme, for of rhymes I had store; and 'twas in my vocation for their recreation that so I should sing; because I was laureate to them and the king. From its sources which well in the tarn on the fell; from its fountains in the mountains, its rills and its gills; through moss and through brake, it runs and it creeps for awhile, till it sleeps in its own little lake. And thence at departing, awakening and starting it runs through the reeds, and away it proceeds, through meadow and glade, in sun and in shade, and through the wood-shelter, among crags in its flurry, helter-skelter, hurry-scurry, here it comes sparkling, and there it lies darkling; now smoking and frothing, its tumult and wrath in, till in its rapid race, on which it is bent, it reaches the place of its deep descent.
The cataract strong then plunges along, striking and raging, as if a war waging its caverns and rocks among. Rising and leaping,— sinking and creeping, swelling and sweeping,-showering and springing, flying and flinging,-writhing and wringing,-eddying and whisking, spouting and frisking,-turning and twisting, around and around with endless rebound; smiting and fighting,a sight to delight in; confounding, astounding,-dizzying and deafening the ear with its sound.
Collecting, projecting,-receding and speeding,-and shocking and rocking, and darting and parting, and threading and spreading,and whizzing and hissing, and dripping and skipping, and hitting and splitting, and shining and twining, and rattling and battling, -and shaking and quaking, and pouring and roaring,-and waving and raving,-and tossing and crossing, and flowing and going,and running and stunning, and foaming and roaming, and dinning and spinning, and dropping and hopping,—and working and jerking, and guggling and struggling, and heaving and cleaving,-and moaning and groaning,and glittering and frittering, and gathering and feathering, and whitening and brightening, and quivering and shivering, and hurrying and skurrying,-and thundering and floundering!
Dividing and gliding and sliding,-and falling and brawling and sprawling, and driving and riving and striving, and sprinkling and twinkling, and wrinkling,-and sounding and bounding and
*The reading of this poem is an excellent exercise in clear and rapid articula tion. It was written by Mr. SOUTHEY, when he was poet-laureate.
rounding, and bubbling and troubling and doubling,-and grumbling and rumbling and tumbling, and clattering and battering and shattering;
Retreating and beating and meeting and sheeting,-delaying and straying and playing and spraying,-advancing and prancing and glancing and dancing, recoiling, turmoiling, and toiling and boiling, and gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,-and rushing and flushing and brushing and gushing,-and flapping and rapping and clapping and slapping, and curling and whirling and purling and twirling, and thumping and plumping and bumping and jumping, and dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing, -and so never ending, but always descending,-sounds and motions for ever and ever are blending,-all at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar; and this way the water comes down at Lodore.
THE DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM.
"Twas in the prime of summer time, an evening calm and cool, and four-and-twenty happy boys came bounding out of school: there were some that ran, and some that leapt, like troutlets in a pool.
Away they sped with gamesome minds, and souls untouched by sin; to a level mead they came, and there they drave the wickets in; pleasantly shone the setting sun over the town of Lynn.
Like sportive deer they coursed about, and shouted as they ranturning to mirth all things of earth, as only boyhood can: but the usher sat remote from all, a melancholy man!
His hat was off, his vest apart, to catch heaven's blessed breeze; for a burning thought was in his brow, and his bosom ill at ease; so he leaned his head on his hands, and read the book between his knees!
Leaf after leaf he turned it o'er, nor ever glanced aside; for the peace of his soul he read that book in the golden eventide: much study had made him very lean, and pale, and leaden-eyed.
At last he shut the ponderous tome; with a fast and fervent grasp he strained the dusky covers close, and fixed the brazen hasp: O Heaven, could I so close my mind, and clasp it with a clasp ! Then leaping on his feet upright, some moody turns he took; now up the mead, then down the mead, and past a shady nook: and lo! he saw a little boy that pored upon a book! Or
'My gentle lad, what is't you read-romance or fairy fable? is it some historic page of kings and crowns unstable ? boy gave an upward glance-"It is the death of Abel."
The usher took six hasty strides, as smit with sudden pain; six hasty strides beyond the place, then slowly back again: and down he sat beside the lad, and talked with him of Cain;
THE DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM.
And long since then, of bloody men, whose deeds tradition saves; of lonely folk cut off unseen, and hid in sudden graves; of horrid stabs in groves forlorn, and murders done in caves;
And how the sprites of injured men shriek upward from the sodaye, how the ghostly hand will point to show the burial clod; and unknown facts of guilty acts are seen in dreams from God!
He told how murderers walked the earth beneath the curse of Cain-with crimson clouds before their eyes, and flames about their brain for blood has left upon their souls its everlasting stain!
"And well," quoth he, "I know, for truth, their pangs must be extreme-woe, woe, unutterable woe-who spill life's sacred stream! for why? Methought last night I wrought a murder in a dream! "One that had never done me wrong-a feeble man, and old; I led him to a lonely field, the moon shone clear and cold: now here, said I, this man shall die, and I will have his gold!
"Two sudden blows with a ragged stick, and one with a heavy stone, one hurried gash with a hasty knife, and then the deed was done there was nothing lying at my feet, but lifeless flesh and bone!
'Nothing but lifeless flesh and bone, that could not do me ill; and yet I feared him all the more for lying there so still there was a manhood in his look, that murder could not kill!
"And lo! the universal air seemed lit with ghastly flame-ten thousand, thousand dreadful eyes were looking down in blame: I took the dead man by the hand, and called upon his name!
'Oh me, it made me quake to see such sense within the slain! But when I touched the lifeless clay, the blood gushed out amain! For every clot, a burning spot was scorching in my brain!
"My head was like an ardent coal, my heart as solid ice; my wretched, wretched soul, I knew, was at the devil's price: a dozen times I groaned; the dead had never groaned but twice!
"And now from forth the frowning sky, from the heaven's topmost height, I heard a voice-the awful voice of the blood-avenging sprite: Thou guilty man, take up thy dead, and hide it from my sight!'
I took the dreary body up, and cast it in a stream—a ́sluggish water, black as ink, the depth was so extreme. My gentle boy, remember, this is nothing but a dream!
"Down went the corse with a hollow plunge, and vanished in the pool; anon I cleansed my bloody hands, and washed my forehead cool, and sat among the urchins young that evening in the school!
'O heaven, to think of their white souls, and mine so black and grim! I could not share in childish prayer, nor join in evening hymn like a devil of the pit I seemned, 'mid holy cherubim!
And peace went with them, one and all, and each calm pillow spread; but Guilt was my grim chamberlain that lighted me to bed, and drew my midnight curtains round, with fingers bloody red!