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   Chapter 35 No.35

Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning By Robert Browning Characters: 1988

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood

As if they were changed into blocks of wood,

Unable to move a step, or cry210

To the children merrily skipping by,

-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,215

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,220

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!"225

When, lo, as they reached the mountain-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,230

The door in the moun

tain-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-235

"It's dull in our town since my playmates left!

I can't forget that I'm bereft

Of all the pleasant sights they see,

Which the Piper also promised me.

For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,240

Joining the town and just at hand,

Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew

And flowers put forth a fairer hue,

And everything was strange and new;

The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,245

And their dogs outran our fallow deer,

And honey-bees had lost their stings,

And horses were born with eagles' wings:

And just as I became assured

My lame foot would be speedily cured,250

The music stopped and I stood still,

And found myself outside the hill,

Left alone against my will,

To go now limping as before,

And never hear of that country more!"255

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