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Mouse-Towers

Posted by Bob Gehring, Cedar Rapids, IA, US on August 16, 2000

In Reply to: Line from what poem? posted by Bob Gehring, Cedar Rapids, IA, USA on August 11, 2000

Thanks for reminding me of "The Children's Hour." Either I didn't memorize, or my memory ran out, by the time I got to the phrase ".the mouse-tower on the Rhine."

A mouse-tower:
From tens of years ago until yesterday I thought this was what a mouse-tower was: a small tower at the top of each corner of a castle wall. This was so that the castle defenders could see along the face of each wall for un-dermining and such, without having to put their heads over the top, and get their heads blown off, or arrowed off, or what ever.

THE Mouse-Tower:
In this case, according to Britannica, "mouse" does not refer to it's size, but rather to an infamous use of this tower on the Rhine. Here, Archbishop Hatto I, in 913 AD, as punishment, was gnawed to death by mice for some wrong doing.
I don't see how mild mannered Longfellow could com-pare this to his three daughters ".They climb up into my turret O'r the arms and back of my chair; If I try to es-cape, they surround me. They seem to be everywhere. They almost devour me with kisses, Their arms about me entwine, Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen(?) In his mouse-tower on the Rhine."
Maybe there's another "Mouse-tower on the Rhine."
Bob Gehring