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Thomas Haynes Bayly.


Why don't the men propose, mamma?

Why don't the men propose?
Each seems just coming to the point,

And then away he goes!
It is no fault of yours, mamma,

That everybody knows;
You li.te the finest men in town,

Yet, oh! they won't propose!

I'm sure I've done my best, mamma,

To make a proper match; For coronets and eldest sons

I'm ever on the watch; I've hopes when some distinguf beau

A glance upon me throws; But though he'll dance, and smile, and flirt, Alas! he won't propose!

I've tried to win by languishing

And dressing like a blue; I've bought big books, and talk'd of them

As if I'd read them through! With hair cropped like a man, I've felt

The heads of all the beaux;

But Spurzheim could not touch their


And, oh! they won't propose!

I threw aside the books, and thought

That ignorance was bliss;
I felt convinced that men preferred

A simple sort of Miss;
And so I lisped out naught beyond

Plain " .i eses " or plain " noes," And wore a sweet unmeaning smile;

Yet, oh! they won't propose!

Last night, at Lady Rambler's rout,

I heard Sir Harry Gale
Exclaim, "Now I propose again!"

I started, turning pale;
I really thought my time was come,

I blushed like any rose;
But, oh! I found 'twas only at

Ecarti he'd propose !

And what is to be done, mamma?

Oh! what is to be done?
I really have no time to lose,

For I am thirty-one:
At balls I am too often left

Where spinsters sit in rows; Why won't the men propose, mamma?

Why won't the men propose?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

[From Aurora Leigh.]


UlsTRt ST that word, "There is none good save God," said

Jesus Christ. If He once, in the first creation-week. Called creatures good, — for ever afterward.

The Devil has only done it, and his heirs, [who lose;

The knaves who win so, and the fools

The world's grown dangerous. In

the middle age, I think they called malignant fays

and Imps Good people. A good neighbor, even

in this,

Is fatal sometimes, — cuts your morning up

To mince-meat of the very smallest talk,

Then helps to sugar her bohea at night

With your reputation. I have known

good wives, As chaste, or nearly so, as Potiphar's; And good, good mothers, who would

use a child To better an intrigue; good friends,


(Very good) who hung succinctly

round your neck And sucked your breath, as cats are

fabled to do By sleeping infants. And we all have


Good critics, who have stamped out

poets' hopes; Good statesmen, who pulled ruin on

the state; Good patriots, who, for a theory,

risked a cause; Good kings, who disembowelled for

a tax;

Good popes, who brought all good to

jeopardy; Good Christians, who sate still in

easy chairs, And damned the general world for

standing up. — Now, may the good God pardon all

good men!

[From Aurora Leigh.]

My critic Hammond flatters prettily, And wants another volume like the last.

My critic Belfair wants another book. Entirely different, which will sell,

(and live ?) A striking book, yet not a startling


The public blames originalities,
(You must not pump spring water

unawares Upon a gracious public, full of

nerves—) Good things, not subtle, new, yet

orthodox, As easy reading as the dog-eared page That's fingered by said public, fifty


Since first taught spelling by its grandmother,

And yet a revelation in some sort: That's hard, my critic Belfair! So

— what next? My critic Stokes objects to abstract

thoughts; "Call a man, John, a woman, Joan,"

says he,

"And do not prate so of humanities:"

Whereat I call my critic simply Stokes.

My critic Johnson recommends more mirth

Because a cheerful genius suits the times,

And all true poets laugh unquenchably

Like Shakespeare and the gods. That's very hard.

The gods may laugh, and Shakespeare; Dante smiled

With such a needy heart on two pale lips,

We cry, " Weep rather, Dante." Poems are

Men, if true poems: and who dares exclaim

At any man's door, " Here, 'tis understood

The thunder fell last week and killed a wife,

And scared a sickly husband — what of that?

Get up, be merry, shout and clap

your hands, Because a cheerful genius suits the

times—?" None says so to the man, — and why

indeed Should any to the poem?

[from Aurora Leigh.]

Humanity is great; And, if I would not rather pore upon An ounce of common, ugly, human dust,

An artisan's palm or a peasant's brow,

Unsmooth, ignoble, save to me and God,

Than track old Nilus to his silver roots,

Aml wait on all the changes of the moon

Among the mountain-peaks of Thessaly,

(Until her magic crystal round itself For many a witch to see in) set it down As weakness— strength by no means.

How is this That men of science, osteologists And surgeons, beat some poets in


For nature, — count nought common or unclean, [mens Spend raptures upon perfect speciOf indurated veins, distorted joints. Or beam if id new cases of curved spine;

While we, we are shocked at nature's

falling off. We dare to shrink back from her

warts and Mains, We will not, when she sneezes, look

at her,

Not even to say, "God bless her,"
That's our wrong.

For that, she will not trust us often with

Her larger sense of beauty and desire,

But tethers us to a lily or a rose
And bids us diet on the dew inside,
Left ignorant that the hungry beg-

(Who stares unseen against our absent eyes.

And wonders at the gods that we must be,

To pass so carelessly for the oranges!) Hears yet a breastful of a fellowworld

To this world, undisparaged, undespoiled,

And (while we scorn him for a flower or two,

As being, Heaven help us, less poetical)

Contains himself both flowers and

firmaments And surging seas and aspectable stars And all that we would push him out

of sight In order to see nearer.

Robert Browning.


Hamki.ix Town's in Brunswick, By famous Hanover city; The river Weser, deep and wide, Washes its wall on the southern side;

A pleasanter spot you never spied;

But when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so

From vermin, was a pity.


They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,

And bit the babies in the cradles, And ate the cheeses out of the vats,

And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles, Split open the kegs of salted sprats, Made nests inside 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.

At last the people in a body

To the Town Hall came flocking: '• "lisclear."cried they, "ourmayor's a noddy;

And as for our corporate after shocking

To think we buy gowns lined with ermine

For dolts that can't or won't determine

What's best to rid us of our vermin! You hope, because you're old and obese,

To find in the furry civic robe ease? Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking,

To find the remedy we're lacking, Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!"

At this, the mayor and corporation Quaked with a mighty consternation.

An hour they sate in counsel —

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, normoister.
Than a too-long-opened oyster,
Save when at noon his paunch grew

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 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, [tone, Starting up at the trump of doom's Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!"

He advanced to the council-table: And, "Please your honors," 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 check;
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 vampirebats;

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.

Into the street the piper stept,

Smiling first a little smile.
As if he knew what magic slept

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


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. Great rats, small rats, lean rats,

brawny rats, Brown rats, black rats, grey rats,

tawny rats, Grave old plodders, gay young frisk


Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, Cocking tails and pricking whiskers;

Families by tens and dozens, Brothers, sisters, husbands, w ives — Followed the piper for their lives. From street to street he piped advancing,

And step by step they followed dancing,

Until they came to the river Weser
Wherein all plunged and perished
— Save one who, stout as Julius

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-


And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards.

And a drawing the corks of train-oitflasks.

And a breaking the hoops of buttercasks.

And it seemed as if a voice (Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery

Is breathed) called out, O 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


Glorious, scarce an inch before me, Just as methought it said, Come, bore me,

— I found the Weser rolling o'er me."

You should have heard the llamelin


Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple;

"Go," cried the Mayor, "and get

long poles! Poke out the nests and block up the


Consult with carpenters and builders, And leave in our town not even a trace

Of the rats!"—when suddenly, up the face

Of the piper perked in the marketplace,

With a, "First, if you please, my thousand guilders!"

A thousand guilders! The mayor

looked blue: So did the corporation too, For the council dinners made rare


With claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;

And half the money would replenish Their cellar's biggest butt with then- ish.

To pay this sum to a wandering fellow

With a gipsy coat of red and yellow! •' Beside," quoth the mayor, with a

knowing wink, "Our business was done at the river's

brink; [sink, We saw with our eyes the vermin And what's dead can't come to life,

I think.

So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink

From the duty of giving you something for drink.

And a matter of money to put in your poke;

But, as for the guilders, what we spoke

Of them, as you very well know, was in joke,

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