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With that the whole city flocked out to see;
There Roprecht was on the triple tree,
Dead, past all doubt, as dead could be;
But fresh he was, as if spells had charmed him,
And neither wind nor weather had harmed him
While the multitude stood in a muse,
One said, “I am sure he was hanged in shoes;”
In this the hangman and all concurred;
But now, behold, he was booted and spurred !
Plainly, therefore, it was to be seen,
That somewhere on horseback he had been;
And at this the people marveled more,
Than at anything which had happened before.
For not in riding trim was he,
When he disappeared from the triple tree;
And his suit of irons he still was in,
With the collar that clipped him under the chin
Roprecht the Robber had long been their curse,
And hanging had only made him worse;
For bad as he was when living, they said
They had rather meet him alive than dead
S: some were for digging a pit in the place,
And burying him there with a stone on his face;
And that hard on his body the earth should be pressed,
And exorcists be sent for to lay him at rest.
But others, whose knowledge was greater, opined
That this corpse was too strong to be confined;
No weight of earth which they could lay,
Would hold him down a single day,
If he chose to get up and ride away.
But fire, they said, had been proved to be
The only infallible remedy;
So they were for burning the body outright,
Which would put a stop to his riding by night.
Some were for this, and some for that,
And some they could not tell for what;
And never was such commotion known.
In that great city of Cologne.
Pieter Snoye was a boor of good renown,
Who dwelt about an hour and a half from the town,
And he, while the people were all in debate,
Went quietly in at the city gate.
For Father Kijf* he sought about,
His Confessor, till he found him out;
But the Father Confessor wondered to see
The old man, and what his errand might be.
And something so strange the Father saw
In Pieter's looks, and his hum and his haw,
That he began to doubt it was something more
Than a trifle omitted in last week's score.
At length, it came out, that in the affair
Of Roprecht the Robber he had some sbare.
The Confessor then gave a start in fear-
God grant there have been no witchcraft here.
Pieter Snoye, who was looking down,
With something between a smile and a frown,
Felt that suspicion move his bile,
And looked up with more of a frown than a smile.
“Though I am, as you very well know, Father Kijf,
A peaceable man, and keep clear of strife,
It's a queerish business that now I've been in;
But I can't say that it's much of a sin.”
“Under the seal, I tell it you,
And you will judge what is best to do,
That no hurt to me and my son may ensue.
No earthly harm have we intended,
And what was ill done, has been well mended.
“I and my son, Piet Pieterszoon,
Were returning home, by the light of the moon,
From this good city of Cologne,
On the night of the execution day;
And hard by the gibbet was our way.
“About midnight it was we were passing by,
My son, Piet Pieterszoon, and I,
When we heard a moaning as we came near,
Which made us quake, at first, for fear.
“But the moaning was presently heard again,
And we knew it was nothing ghostly then;
'Lord help us, father!. Piet Pieterszoon said,
Roprecht, for certain, is not dead.'
xxx. "So under the gallows our cart we drive, And, sure enough, the man was alive Because of the irons that he was in, He was hanging, not by the neck, but the chin
“The reason why things had got thus wong,
Was that the rope had been left too long;
The hangman's fault-a clumsy rogue,
He is not fit to hang a dog.
XXXII. “Now Roprecht, as long as the people were there, Never stirred hand or foot in the air; But when, at last, he was left alone, By that time so much of his strength was gone, That he could do little more than groan.”
“Father Kijf, we could not bear
To leave him hanging in misery there;
And 'twas an act of mercy, I cannot but say,
To get him down, and take him away.
XXXIV. “My son, Piet Pieterszoon, and I, We took him down, seeing none was nigh; And we took off his suit of irons with care, When we got him home, and we hid him there.
The secret, as you may guess, was knowo
To Alit, my wife, but to her alone;
And never sick man, I dare aver,
Was better tended than he was by her.
“Piet Pieterszoon, my son, and I,
We heard folks talk as we stood by,
And Piet looked at me with a comical eye.
We thought them fools, but, you shall see,
Not over wise ourselves were we.
“For, I must tell you, Father Kijf,
That when we told this to Alit, my wife,
She at the notion perked up with delight,
And said she believed the people were right.
“Yes, she said, it was perfectly clear.
That there must have been a miracle here;
And we had the happiness to be in it,
Having been brought there just at the minute
XXXIX. “Well, Father, we kept him at bed and board, Till his neck was cured and his strength restored And we should have sent him off this day With something to help him on his way.
XL. “But this wicked Roprecht, what did he? Though he had been saved thus mercifully; Hanging had done him so little good, That he took to his old ways as soon as he could