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First at one, and then its fellow,
Just as light, and just as yellow;
There are many now—now one-
Now they stop; and there are none
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire !
With a tiger-leap half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again :
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjuror;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics play'd in the eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the crowd ?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure !
THE STREET MUSICIAN; OR, THE POWER
An Orpheus ! an Orpheus !—he works on the crowd,
He sways them with harmony merry and loud ;
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim-
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him ?
What an eager assembly! what an empire is this !
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss ;
The mourner is cheer'd, and the anxious have rest;
And the guilt-burthen'd soul is no longer opprest.
That errand-bound 'prentice was passing in hasteWhat matter ! he's caught, and his time runs to waste The newsman is stopp'd, though he stops on the fret, And the half-breathless lamplighter, he's in the net!
The porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
The lass with her barrow wheels hither her store ;
If a thief could be here, he might pilfer at ease;
She sees the musician, 'tis all that she sees !
That tall man, a giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would ? oh, not he!
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.
Mark that cripple,—but little would tempt him to try
To dance to the strain and to fling his crutch by !
That mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound,
While she dandles the babe in her arms to the sound.
Now, coaches and chariots ! roar on like a stream;
Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream :
They are deaf to your murmurs—they care not for you,
Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue !
O BLITHE new-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice :
O cuckoo ! shall I call thee bird,
Or but a wandering voice ?
While I am lying on the grass,
Thy twofold shout I hear, That seems to fill the whole air's space
As loud far off as near.
Though babbling only to the vale
Of sunshine and of flowers, Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, darling of the spring !
Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery;
The same whom in my schoolboy days
I listen’d to; that Cry . Which made me look a thousand ways,
In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green; And thou wert still a hope, a love
Still long'd for, never seen!
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.
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, wivesFollow'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.”