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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, 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 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 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, О rats, rejoice! The world is grown to one vast drysaltery ! So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,

Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon ! -And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,

Already staved, like a great sun shone
Glorious scarce an inch before me,
Just as methought it said, Come, bore me !
-I found the Weser rolling o'er me.”

You should have heard the Hamelin people
Ringing the bells till 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 havoc
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 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!”

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, 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 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 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, О rats, rejoice!
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,

Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon ! - And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,

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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.
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,--

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