Hamelin town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city,
The River Weser deep and wide,
Washes its wall son the southern side
A pleasanter spot you never spied,
But when begins my ditty
almost fie hundred years ago,
To see the towns folk suffer so,
From vermin was a pity!
I learned this poem when I was a child, probably about eight or nine I would think. I had a wonderful illustrated book of it, and loved to read it and became so entranced that I learned the poem off by heart.
Rats! The fought the dogs and killed the cats
They bit the babies in the cradles
And licked the soup from the cooks only ladles,
Split open kegs of salted sprats
Made nests in side men’s Sunday hats
And even spoiled the women’s chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats!
I’m not sure I have remembered it correctly, because it is so many, many years since I last read it, but it is such fun to recite!
At last the townsfolk in a body
To the town hall came a-knocking
“Tis clear!” cried they “Our mayor’s a noddy
And as for the corporation – shocking!
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For fools who can’t or won’t determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
Rise up sirs, give your brains a racking
And find the remedy we are lacking
Or sure as fat we’ll send you packing!”
At this the mayor and corporation
Quaked in mighty consternation.
The poem, of course, is The Pied-Piper of Hamelin, written in 1842 by Robert Browning!