Графични страници
PDF файл
[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Would make a day of night,
And turn the blackest sorrows to bright joys:

Whose od'rous breath destroys
All taste of bitterness, and makes the air

As sweet as she is fair.
A body so harmoniously compos'd

As if nature disclos'd
All her best symmetry in that one feature!

O, so divine a creature.
Who could be false to? chiefly when he knows

How only she bestows
The wealthy treasure of her love on him;

Making his fortunes swiin
In the full flood of her admir'd perfection

What savage, brute affection,
Would not be fearful to offend a dame

Of this excelling fame?
Much more a noble and right gen'rous mind,

To virtuous moods inclin'd,
That knows the weight of guilt: he will refrain

From thoughts of such a strain, And to his sense object this sentence ever,

“Man may securely sin, but safely never."




Or else the sentinel,
That should ring larum to the heart, doth sleep,

Or some great thoughi doth keep
Back the intelligence, and falsely swears

They're base and idle fears Whereof the loyal conscience so complains.

Thus by those sublle trains
Do several passions invade the mind,

And strike our reason blind:
Of which usurping rank some have thought love

The first; as prone to move
Most frequent tumults, horrors, and unrests,

In our inflamed breasts.
But this doth from the cloud of error grow,

Which thus we overblow.
The thing they here call love is blind desire,

Arm'd with bow, shafts, and fire;
Inconstant, like the sea, of whence 'tis born,

Rough, swelling, like a storm:
With whom who sails, rides on the surge of fear,

And boils, as if he were
In a continual tempest. Now, true love

No such effects doth prove;
That is an essence far more gentle, fine,

Pure, perfect, nay divine;
It is the golden chain let down from heaven,

Whose links are bright and even-
That falls like sleep on lovers and combines

The soft and sweetest minds
In equal knots; this bears no brands, nor darts,

To murther different hearts;
But in a calm and Godlike unity

Preserves community.
O who is he that in this peace enjoys

Th'elixir of all joys?
A form more fresh than are the Eden bow'rs,

And lasting as her flow'rs:
Richer than time, and as time's virtue rare-

Sober as saddest care.
A fixed thought, an eye untaught to glance;

Who, blessed with such high chance,
Would, at suggestion of a steep desire,

Cast himself from the spire
Of all his happiness? But soft: I hear

Some vicious fool draw near,
That cries we dream, and swears there's no such thing

As this chaste love we sing. Peace, Luxury, thou art like one of those

Who, being at sea, suppose, Because they move, the continent doth so.

No, Vice, we let thee know
Though the wild thoughts with sparrow's wings do fly

Turtles can chastely die.
He that for love of goodness hateth ill

Is more crown worthy still
Than he, which for sin's penalty forbears;

His heart sins, though he fears.
But we propose a person like our dove,

Grac'd with a phenix love;
A beauty of that clear and sparkling light

[blocks in formation]

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.


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 vampyre 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.

An hour they sat 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 scratched it so, and all in vain;

O 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-opened 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-pit!'


• 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 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 noboby 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.

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 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 house 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, Followed the Piper for their lives. From street to stieet he piped advancing, And step by 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 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, 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: “O rats, rejoice! The world is grown to one vast drysaltery! To munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon, Breakfast dinner, supper, luncheon!” And just as a bulky sugar puncheon,


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 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 same check,

And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

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 husting, Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering, Little hands clapping, and little tongues chattering, And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scat.

tering, Out came the children running. All the little boys and girls, With rosy cheeks and Haxen curls, And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls, Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.



A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
So did the Corporation too.
For Council dinners made rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
The cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gipsy 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 to 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.
Besides, our losses have made us thrifty;
A thousand guilders! Come, take fisty!'

The Piper's face fell, and he cried:

• No trifling! I can't wait: beside,
I've promised to visit by dinner-time
Bagdad, and accepted 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 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;
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 were 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 eagle's wings,
And just as I became assured


• 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

« ПредишнаНапред »