MoboReader> Literature > Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning

   Chapter 28 No.28

Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning By Robert Browning Characters: 1113

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


He advanced to the council-table:70

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!75

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 neck80

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;

And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying

As if impatient to be playing85

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;90

I eased in Asia the Nizam

Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats:

And as for what your brain bewilders,

If I can rid your town of rats

Will you give me a thousand guilders?"95

"One? fifty thousand!"-was the exclamation

Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

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