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Dramatic Romances

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Excerpt: ... 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. VII Into the street the Piper stept, Smiling first a little smile, As if he knew what magic slept 100 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 uttered, You heard as if an army muttered; And the muttering grew to a grumbling; And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling; And out of the houses the rats came tumbling. 110 Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats, Brown rats, black rats, grey 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, wives- Followed the Piper for their lives. From street to street he piped advancing, And step for step they followed dancing, 120 Until they came to the river Weser Wherein all plunged and perished! -Save one who, stout as Julius Caesar, Swam across and lived to carry (As he, the manuscript he cherished) 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: 130 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 seemed as if a voice (Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery Is breathed) called out, 'Oh rats, rejoice! The world is grown to one vast drysaltery! So munch on, crunch on, ... Hide synopsis

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