Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

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 astonish'd Mayor and Corporation.

(4.) THE CHARM.

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 utter'd,
You heard as if an army mutter'd;
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— Follow'd the Piper for their lives. From street to street he piped advancing, And step for step they follow'd dancing, Until they came to the river Weser, Wherein all plunged and perish'dSave one, who, stout as Julius Cæsar, Swam across and lived to carry (As he the manuscript he cherish’d) 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 seem'd 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, supper, dinner, luncheon!'
And just as a bulky sugar puncheon,
All ready 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."

POE.

THE RAVEN.

ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I ponder'd, weak and

weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore ; While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a

tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door; “ 'Tis some visitor," I mutter'd, “tapping at my chamber door

Only this, and nothing more."

Ah ! distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon

the floor; Eagerly I wish’d the morrow; vainly I had sought to

borrow From my books surcease of sorrow-sorrow for the lost

LenoreFor the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore

Nameless here for evermore.

[ocr errors]

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and

flutter, In there stepp'd a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopp'd or

stay'd he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perch'd above my chamber

door

Perch'd upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door

Perch'd and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said,

“art sure no craven, Ghastly, grim, and ancient Raven, wandering from the

nightly shore Tell me what thy lordly name is on the night's Plutonian shore !”

Quoth the Raven : “Nevermore !"

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an

unseen censer, Swung by seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted

floor. Wretch !” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these

angels He hath sent thee Respite-respite and nepenthe from thy memories of

Lenore ! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore !"

Quoth the Raven: “Nevermore !

[ocr errors]

“Prophet," said I, “thing of evil-prophet still, if bird or

devil ! By that heaven that bends above us, by that God we

both adore, Tell this soul, with sorrow laden, if within the distant Aiden, It shall asp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name

Lenore

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore !"

Quoth the Raven : “Nevermore !"

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend,” I shriek’ds

upstarting, “Get thee back into the tempest, and the night's Plutonian

shore ! Leave no black plume as in token of that lie thy soul hath

spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken,-quit the bust above my

door,Take thy beak from out my heart, and thy form from off my

door!”
Quoth the Raven : “Nevermore !"

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is

dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming, throws his shadow

on the floor ; And my soul from out that shadow, that lies floating on the floor,

Shall be lifted-nevermore!

WORDSWORTH.

THE KITTEN AND THE FALLING LEAVES.

SEE the kitten how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts !

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »