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THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN.*
A CHILD'S STORY.
(Written for, and inscribed to, W. M. the Younger.)
""Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's a noddy; "And as for our Corporation-shocking
"To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
An hour they sate in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence; "For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell; "I wish I were a mile hence!
"It's easy to bid one rack one's brain"I'm sure my poor head aches again "I've scratched it so, and all in vain. "Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!" Just as he said this, what should hap At the chamber door but a gentle tap? "Bless us," cried the Mayor, "what's that?" (With the Corporation as he sat, Looking little though wondrous fat; Nor brighter was his eye nor moister Than a too-long opened oyster,
Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous For a plate of turtle green and glutinous) "Only a scraping of shoes on the mat? "Anything like the sound of a rat, "Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!"
"Come in!"- the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And he himself was tall and thin,
He advanced to the council table:
And, "Please your honours," said he, "I'm able,
"By means of a secret charm, to draw
To match with his coat of the self same cheque :
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Until they came to the river Weser
"Insulted by a lazy ribald
"You threaten us, fellow?-do your worst,
"And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
"(Sweeter by far than by harp or by psaltery
You should have heard the Hamelin people
A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
For council dinners made rare havock
"And a matter of money to put in your poke;
And folks who put me in a passion
"How ?" cried the Mayor, "d'ye think I'll brook
The Piper's face fell, and he cried,
"Once more he stept into the street; And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
Never gave the enraptured air)
There was a rustling, that seemed like a bustling
And like fowls in a farm yard when barley is
Out came the little children running.
The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
To the children merrily skipping by-
And when all were in to the very last,
And bring the children behind him.
"On the Twenty-second of July,
To shock with mirth a street so solemn ;
They wrote the story on a column,
That in Transylvania there's a tribe
The outlandish ways and dress
So, Willy, let you and me be wipers
Of scores out with all men-especially pipers:
sweet a fragrance as any other flower. And, therefore, it is esteemed and looked for no less; and every one rejoices at finding it."
"How nice it is," cried Maria, "that Nature gives this pretty modest flower so early."
"She would thereby teach children," answered the mother, smiling, "that the good and the beautiful must bloom in them at an early age, that it may some day bring forth good fruit."
And," said the father, "by offering his first beautiful gift so modestly, Spring makes us expect that he has yet many fair and noble gifts to dispense; for only where modesty and humility prevail the good and the great can prosper."
Now Maria found by the wayside, under the briars, a full-blown violet; but a heavy dewdrop sparkled in the blue calyx of the flower, bending it to the ground with its weight.
The little maiden stood looking at the flower, and said, "The heavy dewdrop will spoil the violet and bend it quite to the dust." "Oh, no, Maria,” replied her mother," the bright drop glistens like a pearl in the beautiful flower. Soon the sun will warm and
"Now mind!" said the Dustman, "do not be afraid, and you shall see a little mouse!" and he held out his hand with the pretty little creature in it. "She is come to invite you to a wedding: there are two little mice here, who intend, this very night, to enter upon matrimony. They live under the floor of the dining-room; their's must be such a pretty house!"
"But how can I get through the little hole ?" asked Edward. "Let me look to that," said the Dustman. "I will make you very little!" and he touched Edward with his magic wand, who became
smaller and smaller, till at last he was no bigger than his own thumb. "Now you can borrow the tin soldier's clothes; I think they will just fit you; and it looks so grand to wear a uniform when you are in company."
"Ah! yes," said Edward; and in another moment he was dressed like the prettiest little tin-soldier or volunteer.
Will you have the goodness to sit down in your mother's thimble ?" said the little mouse. "In that case, I shall have the honour of dragging you."
"What! will you indeed take so much trouble?" said Edward; and away they went to the mouse's wedding.
They first came to a long passage, under the floor, which was just high enough for the thimble to be drawn along through it, and it was illuminated with lighted tinder throughout.
"Is there not a pleasant smell here ?" said the mouse who was dragging the thimble. "The whole passage is covered with rind of bacon; there is nothing more delightful!"
They now entered the bridal apartment; the lady mice stood on the right hand side, whispering together, seemingly very merry; on the left side stood the gentlemen mice, who were all stroking their whiskers with their paws. In the middle of the room the bride and bridegroom were seen, standing in the scooped-out rind of a cheese, and kissing each other incessantly, before the eyes of all the company. They were already betrothed, and were to be married immediately. Strangers were arriving every moment; the mice almost trod each other to death, and the bridal pair had placed themselves just in the middle of the door-way, so that one could neither get out nor in. The whole room was like the passage, covered with the rind of bacon; this was all the entertainment given; for dessert, however, a pea was exhibited, in which a little mouse belonging to the family had carved the initials of the married couple with his teeth. Was not this an exquisite idea?
All the mice agreed that the wedding had been extremely genteel, and the conversation delightful.
So now Edward returned home; he had certainly been in most distinguished company, but still he felt as though he had rather demeaned himself by becoming so small, and wearing the uniform of one of his own tin-soldiers.
That the brig is as stanch as stanch can be;
Her timbers are tough, and her crew are brave,
But the winds were sweeping the face of the deep,
SONG OF THE BELL.
When mirth and joy are on the wing-I ring. To call the folks to church in time-I chime. When from the body parts the soul-I toll!
"Well, Joe," said Miss Benson, "what have you to say to us? Have you got a peach, or a nectarine? or have you brought me a root of sweet-william ?"
"No, Miss Harriet," said Joc, "but I have something to tell you that will please you as much as though I had."
"What's that? what's that ?" said Frederick. "Why, Master Frederick," said Joe, "a pair of robins have com'd mortal often to one place in the orchard lately; so, thinks I, these birds have got a nest. So I watches, and watches, and at last I see'd the old hen fly into a hole in the ivy wall. I had a fancy to set my ladder and look in, but, as master ordered me not to frighten the birds, I stayed till the old one flew out again, and then I mounted, and there I see'd the little creatures full fledged; and, if you and Miss Harriet may go with me, I will show them to you, for the nest is but a little way from the ground, and you may easily get up the step-ladder.
Frederick was in raptures, being confident that these were the identical robins he was so attached to, and, like a little thoughtless boy as he was, he would have gone immediately with the gardener, had not his sister reminded him that it was proper to ask mamma's leave first; she, therefore told Joe she would let him know when
she had done so.
When the Redbreasts had quieted the fears of their young family, and fed them, as usual, they retired to a tree, desiring their little nestlings not to be terrified if the monster should look in upon them again, as it was very probable he would. They promised to bear the sight as well as they could.
When the old ones were seated in the tree, "It is time," said the father, "to take our nestlings abroad. You see, my love, how very timorous they are; and if we do not use them a little to the world, they will never be able to shift for themselves."
stopped with a beating heart, in hopes of hearing the chirpings of my beloved family, but all was silence. I then resolved to enter; but what was my consternation when I found that the nest, which my dear mate and I had with so much labour built, and the dear little ones, who were the joy of our lives, where stolen away; nay, I did not know but the tender mother also was taken. I rushed out of the place, distracted with apprehensions for the miseries they might endure; lamenting my weakness, which rendered me incapable of rescuing them; I was ready to tear off my own feathers with vexation, but recollecting that my dear mate might in all probability have escaped, I resolved to go in search of her.
"As I was flying along I saw three boys, whose appearance was far from agreeable; one of them held in his hand my nest of young ones, which he eyed with cruel delight, while his companions seemed to share his joy.
The dear little creatures, insensible of their fate (for they were newly hatched), opened their mouths expecting to be fed by me or their mother, but all in vain; to have attempted feeding them at this time would have been inevitable destruction to myself; but I resolved to follow the barbarians, that I might at least see to what place my darlings were consigned.
"In a short time the party arrived at a house, and he who before held the nest now committed it to the care of another, but soon returned with a kind of victuals I was totally unacquainted with; and with this my young ones, when they gaped for food, were fed; hunger induced them to swallow it, but soon after, missing the warmth of their mother, they set up a general cry, which pierced my very heart. Immediately after this the nest was carried away, and what became of my nestlings afterward I never could discover, though I frequently hovered about the fatal spot of their imprisonment with the hopes of seeing them."
Pray," said the hen Redbreast, "what became of your mate?" assisting my little ones, I pursued my course, and sought her in "Why, my dear," said he, "when I found there was no chance of every place of our usual resort, but to no purpose: at length I returned to the bush, where I beheld an afflicting sight indeed, my beloved companion lying on the ground just expiring! I flew to her instantly, and endeavoured to recall her to life.
"At the sound of my voice she lifted up her languid eyelids, and said, And you are then safe, my love; what is become of our little ones ?' In hopes of comforting her, I told her that they were alive and well; but she replied, Your consolations come too late, the blow is struck, I feel my death approaching. The horror which siezed me when I missed my nestlings, and supposed myself robbed at once of my mate and infants, was too powerful for my weak frame to sustain. Oh! why will the human race be so wantonly cruel?' The agonies of death now came on, and after a few convulsive pangs, she breathed her last, and left me an unhappy
"I passed the remainder of the summer, and a dreary winter that succeeded it, in a very uncomfortable manner; though the natural cheerfulness of my disposition did not leave me long a prey to unavailing sorrow. I resolved the following spring to seek another mate, and had the good fortune to meet with you, whose amiable disposition has renewed my happiness. And now, my dear," said he, "let me ask you what became of your former companion ?" "Why," replied the hen Redbreast, "soon after the loss of our nest, as he was endeavouring to discover what was become of it, a cruel hawk caught him up and devoured him in an instant."
"I need not say that I felt the bitterest pangs for his loss, it is sufficient to inform you that I led a solitary life till I met with you, whose endearing behaviour has made society again agreeable to me."
Very true," replied the mother; "they are now full fledged, and therefore, if you please, we will take them out to-morrow; but pare them for it." "One of the best preparations," answered her mate, "will be to leave them by themselves a little; therefore, we will now take a flight together, and then go back. The mother complied, but she longed to be with her dear family.
Alfred the Great to learn Saxon poems, and to teach them to others; and ALFRED THE GREAT.-It was always one of the principal pleasures of we have specimens of his own efforts to compose them, in his translation of pre-exercised in this captivating art. It had a powerful effect on Alfred's the metres of Boetius. The memory of his children was also chiefly mind: it kindled a desire of being sung and being celebrated himself; it created a wish for further knowledge; and began a taste or intellectual compositions. The Muses have in every age had these effects. Their lays have always been found to be the most captivating and most exciting to When they stopped a little, to rest, on a tree, "Last year," said the the young mind. They are the most comprehensible form of lettered hen Redbreast, it was my misfortune to be deprived of my nest- intellect; and being, in their rudest state, the effusions of the feelings of lings by some cruel boys, before they were quite fledged, and it is the day, they excite congenial feelings in those who hear and read them. that which makes me so timid now that I do not feel comfortable Poetry is sympathy addressing sympathy; and if its subjects were but when I am away from them." worthy of its excellencies, it would lead the human mind to every obvious in children, when wisely addressed, may render their education attainable perfection The pleasures in original activity of mind, so interesting and delightful to them. Respecting their minds, cherishing their wills, and supplying this activity with the means upon which to expend itself, the teacher will find his employment full of instruction; the young under his influence will be happy, because he will pursue the course which their nature demands, and their original wants will all be supplied.-Sharon Turner.
"A calamity of the same kind befell me," replied the father; "I shall never forget it. I had been taking a flight in the woous in order to procure some nice morsels for one of my nestlings: when I returned to the place which I had imprudently built, the first circumstance that alarmed me was a part of my nest scattered on the ground just at the entrance of my habitation; I then perceived a large opening in the wall, where before there was only room for myself to pass. I
MAY, Sweet May, again is come,
On the laughing hedgerow's side
Sing ye, join the chorus gay!
We the opening flowers will see.
Sing ye, join the chorus gay!
Or all winged creatures the most pleasing is certainly the pigeon. With pigeons children like best to play, especially girls, who are themselves like doves, and every pure mind takes pleasure in them Even the frigid Romans condescended to amuse themselves with these birds, and Pliny gives us accounts of contemporaries who spent large sums upon them. They had veritable pigeon-towers, and kept an exact pedigree of their favourites, for a single one of which several hundred denarii would be paid.
In Venice, at the present day, thousands of pigeons are fed at the expense of the city. The surprised stranger is pleased to see the busy throng of these birds on the Place of St. Mark, and, maybe, to strew some crumbs for them too.
The whole life and being of the dove is a pleasing idyll. They are chaste, gentle, unsuspecting, full of tender affection, and deserve, above all others, the epithet of "the pious birds." "Without guile, like doves," it is said in the Bible. Without guile, and free from anger, suffering all, even death, and not once uttering a cry of pain; what other animal may be compared to them?
The dove alone, according to the ancients, is destitute of gall; and in a hundred popular rhymes and love songs, as well as in the metaphors of the medieval wandering minstrels, the praise of her innocence resounds. And then, too, the dove of Noah, the messenger of peace; what a lovely picture, as she flies over the rushing waters, in her beak the olive-branch of reconciliation, alighting with it on the ark, that carries within the young hopes of the earth!
Yes, it is a dear and beautiful bird. It courts man's neighbourhood, and is yet free; its plumage is always clean, the colours delicate and often lustrous; the splendour of armed squadrons is compared to the "wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold" (Psalm 1xviii., 13); every movement is pretty, and, in its flight, betokening gladness and enjoyment.
One wears a coquettish cap, another a wig, or a ruff, or a ribbon; this one drums, that one makes a tittering noise, while a third turns topsy-turvy in the air. How daintily yonder little befringed foot
trips over the white sand! how full of sagacity and curiosity the red eye looks wooingly around! and with what yearning she coos from the foliage of the green bower! Simple and void of melody as the voice of the pigeon is, it still goes to the heart. There lies in the gloomy, long-drawn-out tone something tender, wistful, and complaining.
Of the wood-pigeon, which also is sometimes called cow-pigeon, the following story is related:-In former times the pigeon had a cow, from which it got butter, milk, and cheese in plenty; and therefore the pigeon took great care of the cow, and sought out the best pastures for her, never leaving her for a moment. But one day seeing the magpie flying by with branches and twigs in his bill, the pigeon asked what he was going to do with all that wood, to which the magpie replied, "I am building a nest on yonder oak tree; it is nearly finished; if you like, come with me and look at it."
So the pigeon flew off with the magpie, and was greatly surprised at the thorny house; for it was firm and strong, and had moreover a roof, so that the rain could not penetrate. The pigeon said to the magpie, "What must I give you, to be taught how to build such a cleverly contrived nest ?"
"Give me your cow," said the magpie, " and I will show you." The pigeon agreed to the bargain, and then the magpie explained the art of building a nest, fetched twigs, and laid them out crosswise on a forked branch. But the pigeon grew impatient with joy, and fancied there was no need of seeing the rest. "That will do," she said; "I know now how it is to be done."
The magpie was glad to have obtained the cow at so cheap a rate, and cried, "Ha, ha, ha! the cow is mine!" and flew away with the cow. But the pigeon, when she wanted to build further, had forgotten how, and was unable to finish her nest; and in spite of all her thinking and trying, she could never remember the way: and this is the reason the pigeon, to this very day, builds her nest so carelessly. She grieved much for her cow, and sits lonesome in the wood, always crying, "Coo! coo! oh, my cow! coo! coo! oh, my cow! if I had but my cow! coo! coo! coo!"
The pigeon is vain, there is no denying it; and charmingly as this vanity becomes her, yet it is dangerous when the hawk watches her dallyings from the leafy thicket, and pounces upon her while lost in self-contemplation.
Now she flies upon the roof where the cock-pigeon awaits her, and receives her with tender caresses. She cherishes her consort with affection, and tends her young with unwearied love. She softens each grain for them in her maw; and when the timid fledgling quits the dove-cot for the first time, she flutters round it on every side with watchful care. She is often the sacrifice of her love. It is touching to see how, during a fire, this faithful creature will rush through the clouds of smoke and heat, and encircle the pigeon house in despairing flights, till at last the flame has seized her pinions, and she reels downward into the blaze.
Quick and pleasing to behold is the flight of the pigeon, the swiftest of all birds; and this is its only protection against the hawk. When the bird of prey is soaring above in the clouds, scarce discernable to human eye, the pigeon has already perceived him; and, if no hiding-place is to be found, the whole flock arise and career upwards in close circles. Faster, and still faster, the entangled maze goes round, in order to confuse the marauder. He swoops down and— misses his prey, for glance and aim have grown uncertain. He makes another, and a third attempt, but in vain: there is nothing left him but to retreat discomfited. Often it is true, the result is a different one.
It has been reckoned that the pigeon traverses, in ten minutes, a distance of nine miles; and, on account of his extraordinary powers of flight, the bird was employed, even in ancient times, as a messenger of good and evil tidings.
'The swiftest flight of a carrier pigeon, as many experiments have proved, is sixty miles an hour. The late Bishop of Norwich relates that fifty-six pigeons were brought over to England, from a district in Holland, where especial attention was paid to their breeding, and at half-past four in the morning were let fly from London: at noon they were all in their dovecots again; indeed one, a favourite cock-pigeon, named Napoleon, came back by a quarter-past ten. He had, therefore, performed the distance of more than three hundred miles at the rate of more than fifty miles an hour, supposing him not to have lost a moment, and to have flown in a straight line.
The correspondence of lovers is most befitting such a messenger, for the male and female pigeon are always in love. But in our age of railroads and telegraphs this romantic letter-post is passing away. Where it still exists, it is not Cupid that guides the airy pinions, but the Briareus of Industry that drives the carrier-pigeon along. Instead of the maiden who sends a greeting to her distant lover, and warms the faithful bird on her palpitating bosom, it is the grand marchand de Paris, who with joyful, sparkling speculator's eyes, announces to a house in Antwerp that "la rente" has risen 24 per cent. The purest poesy has become the most sordid prose.