You may scoff, human reader, but I, Rattus rattus – also known as black rat, ship rat, roof rat, house rat, Alexandrine rat, old English rat – I have my dreams.
I dream of a time without scoffing humans.
I dream of Old Hamelin, my home town, Hamelin to which I shall not return, not until the burghers beg forgiveness.
Meanwhile I live in the cleft of the rock, together with the lost children of Hamelin.
I dwell in Xanadu, of which you can only dream:
…that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see me there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
I have a dream
that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
I dream with smiles
On my rodent lips;
I dream my dreams
Of sinking ships.
The rat dreams:
All day in the one chair
From dream to dream and rhyme to rhyme I have ranged
In rambling talk with an image of air:
Vague memories, nothing but memories.
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.