The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The Pied Piper of Hamelin :

``Come in!''---the Mayor cried, looking bigger:

And in did come the strangest figure!

His queer long coat from heel to head

Was half of yellow and half of red,

And he himself was tall and thin,

With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,

And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,

No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,

But lips where smiles went out and in;

There was no guessing his kith and kin:

And nobody could enough admire

The tall man and his quaint attire.

Quoth one: ``It's as my great-grandsire,

``Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone,

``Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!''

He advanced to the council-table

And, ``Please your honours,'' 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!

``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 neck

A scarf of red and yellow stripe,

To match with his coat of the self-same cheque;

And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;

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 astonished Mayor and Corporation.

By Robert Browning

The Pied Piper of Hamelin