Imágenes de páginas

Of the Piper perked in the market-place,

With a,

"First if you please, my thousand guilders!"

A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked


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 gypsy coat of red and yellow!
"Beside," quoth the Mayor with a knowing

"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


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 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."

"How?" cried the Mayor, "d' ye think I'll


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


Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clat


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

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 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


I can't forget that I'm bereft

Of all the pleasant sights they see,

« AnteriorContinuar »