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,
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:
``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, take your nuncheon,
```Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!'
``And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
``All ready staved, like a great sun shone
``Glorious scarce an inch before me,
``Just as methought it said, `Come, bore me!'
`` -- I found the Weser rolling o'er me.''