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Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning By Robert Browning Characters: 1769

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


Alas, alas for Hamelin!

There came into many a burgher's pate

A text which says that heaven's gate

Opes to the rich at as easy rate

As the needle's eye takes a camel in!260

The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South,

To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,

Wherever it was men's lot to find him,

Silver and gold to his heart's content,

If he'd only return the way he went,265

And bring the children behind him.

But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavor,

And Piper and dancers were gone forever,

They made a decree that lawyers never

Should think their records dated duly270

If, after the day of the month and year,

These words did not as well appear,

"And so long after what happened here

On the Twenty-second of July,

Thirteen hundred and seventy-six";275

And the better in memory to fix

The place of the children's last re

treat,

They called it the Pied Piper's Street-

Where anyone playing on pipe or tabor

Was sure for the future to lose his labor.280

Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern

To shock with mirth a street so solemn;

But opposite the place of the cavern

They wrote the story on a column,

And on the great church-window painted285

The same, to make the world acquainted

How their children were stolen away,

And there it stands to this very day.

And I must not omit to say

That in Transylvania there's a tribe290

Of alien people who ascribe

The outlandish ways and dress

On which their neighbors lay such stress,

To their fathers and mothers having risen

Out of some subterraneous prison295

Into which they were trepanned

Long time ago in a mighty band

Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,

But how or why, they don't understand.

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