Слике страница

por council dinners made rare havoc
With Chiret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
Aud hulithe money would replenish
Their cellar's 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
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 fólks who put me in a passion

May find me pipe to another fashion.”
"How?” cried the inayor, “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 Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed, And after him the children pressed; Great was the joy in every breast. “He never can 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 !”

[ocr errors]

Alas! alas for Hamelin!

There came into many a burgher's pate
I 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'll only return the way he went,

And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavor,
And Piper and dancers were gone forever,
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 hero

On the twenty-second day 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 labor.
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 neighbors 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 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.
A mighty hand from an exhaustless urn
Pours forth the never-ending Flood of Years
Among the nations. How the rushing waves
Bear all before them! On their foremost edge,
And there alone, is Life; the Present there
Tosses and foams and fills the air with roar
Of uningled noises. There are they who tcil,
And they who strive, and they who feast, and they
Who hurry to and fro. The sturdy hind-
Woodman and delver with the spade--are there.
And busy artisan beside his bench,
And pallid student with his written roll.
A moment on the mounting billow seen-
The flood sweeps over them and they are gone.
There groups of revelers, whose brows are twined
With roses, ride the topmost swell awhile,
And as they raise their flowing cups to touch
The clinking brim to brim, are whirled beneath
The waves and disappear. I hear the jar
Of beaten drums, and thunders that break forth
From cannon, where the advancing billow sends
Up to the sight long files of armed men,
That hurry to the charge through flame and smoke.
The torrent bears them under, whelmed and hid,
Slayer and slain, in heaps of bloody foam.
Down go the steed and rider ; the plumed chief
Sinks with his followers; the head that wears
The imperial diadem goes down beside
The felon's with cropped ear and branded cheek.
A funeral train the torrent sweeps away,
Bearers and bier and mourners. By the bed
Of one who dies men gather sorrowing,
And women weep aloud; the floods roll on;
The wail is stifled, and the sobbing group
Borne under. Hark to that shrill, sudden shout-
The cry of an applauding multitude
Swayed by some loud-tongued orator who wields
The living mass as if he were its soul!
The waters choke the shout and all is still.
Lv, next, a kneeling crowd, and one who spreads
The hands in prayer! the engulfing wave o'ertakes
And swallows them and him. A sculptor wields
The chisel, and the stricken marble grows
To beauty; at his easel, eager-eyed,
A painter stands, and sunshine at his touch
Gathers upon the canvas, and life glows;
A poet, as he paces to and fro,
Murmurs his sounding lines. Awhile they ride

The advancing billow, till its tossing crest
Strikes them and flings them under while their tasks
Are yet unfinished. See a mother smile
On her young babe that smiles to her again-
The torrent wrests it from her arms; she shrieks,
And weeps, and midst her tears is carried down.
A beam like that of moonlight turns the spray
To glistening pearls; two lovers, hand in hand,
Rise on the billowy swell and fondly look
Into each other's eyes. The rushing food
Flings them apart; the youth goes down; the maid
With hands outstretched in vain, and streaming eyes,
Waits for the next high wave to follow him.
An agéd man succeeds; his bending form
Sinks slowly; mingling with the sullen stream
Gleam the white locks and then are seen no more.

Lo, wider grows the stream; a sea-like food
Saps earth's walled cities; massive palaces
Crumble before it; fortresses and towers
Dissolve in the swift waters; populous realms
Swept by the torrent, see their ancient tribes
Engulfed and lost, their very languages
Stified and never to be uttered more.

pause and turn my eyes, and, looking back,
Where that tumultuous food has passed, I see
The silent Ocean of the Past, a waste
Of waters weltering over graves, its shores
Strewn with the wreck of fleets, where mast and hull
Drop away piecemeal; battlemented walls
Frown idly, green with moss, and temples stand
Unroofed, forsaken by the worshipers.
There lie memorial stones, whence time has gnawed
The graven legends, thrones of kings o'erturned,
The broken altars of forgotten gods,
Foundations of old cities and long streets
Where never fall of human foot is heard
Upon the desolate pavement. I behold
Dim glimmerings of lost jewels far within
The sleeping waters, diamond, sardonyx,
Ruby and topaz, pearl and chrysolite,
Once glittering at the banquet on fair brows
That long ago were dust; and all around,
Strewn on the waters of that silent sea,
Are withering bridal wreaths, and glossy locks
Shorn from fair brows by loving hands, and scrolls
O’erwritten-haply with fond words of love
And vows of friendship-and fair pages flung
Fresh from the printer's engine. There they lie
A moment and then sink away from sight.

« ПретходнаНастави »