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Thomas Haynes Bayly.
WHY DON'T THE MEN PROPOSET
Why don't the men propose, mamma?
Why don't the men propose?
And then away he goes!
That everybody knows;
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;
A simple sort of Miss;
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
I started, turning pale;
I blushed like any rose;
Ecarti he'd propose !
And what is to be done, mamma?
Oh! what is to be done?
For I am thirty-one:
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
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
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
[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,
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,"
"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
Not even to say, "God bless her,"
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
(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.
THE riKD PIPER OF HAMELIN.
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,
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,
For a plate of turtle, green and glutinous)
"Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
Anything like the sound of a rat
"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
And people call me the Pied Piper." (And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
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.
In his quiet pipe the while;
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
Swam across and lived to carry
of the pipe,
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,
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,