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PETER BELL THE THIRD.
BY MICHING MALLECHO, ESQ.
" Is it a party in a parlour,
Crammed just as they on earth were crammed,
Peter Bell, by W. WORDSWORTH.
Dedication. TO THOMAS BROWN, ESQ., THE YOUNGER, H.F. Dear Tom, --Allow me to request you to introduce Mr. Peter Bell to the respectable family of the Fudges. Although he may fall short of those very considerable personages in the more active properties which characterize the Rat and the Apostate, I suspect that even you, their historian, will confess that he surpasses them in the more peculiarly legitimate qualification of intolerable dulness.
You know Mr. Examiner Hunt; well—it was he who presented me to two of the Mr. Bells. My intimacy with the younger Mr. Bell naturally sprung from this introduction to his brothers. And, in presenting him to you. I have the satisfaction of being able to assure you that he is considerably the dullest of the three.
There is this particular advantage in an acquaintance with any one of the Peter Bells-that, if you know one Peter Bell
, you know three Peter Beis they are not one, but three ; not three, but one. after having caused torrents of blood, and having been hymned by grod.com enough to deafen the music of the spheres, is at length illustrated, to the sales faction of all parties in the theological world, by the nature of Mr. Peter Bell
Peter is a polyhedric Peter, or a Peter with many sides. Ile changes cartes like a chameleon, and his coat like a snake. He is a Proteus of a Peter. ** was at first sublime, pathetic, impressive, profound ; then dull; then prosy ziad dull; and now dull--oh, so very dull! it is an ultra-legitimate dulness.
An awful mystery, stich,
You will perceive that it is not necessary to consider Hell and the Devil as supernatural machinery. The whole scene of my epic is in “ this world which 15"-50 Peter informed us before bis conversion to White Obi
“The world of all of us, and where
We find our happiness, or not at all.” Let me observe that I have spent six or seven days in composing this sublime piece ; the orb of my moonlight genius has made the fourth part of its revolution round the dull earth which you inhabit, driving you mad, while it has retained its calmness and its splendour, and I have been fitting this its last phase occupy a permanent station in the literature of my country."
Your works, indeed, dear Tom, sell better; but mine are far superior. The public is no judge ; posterity sets all to rights.
Allow me to observe that so much has been written of Peter Bell that the present history can be considered only, like the Iliad," as a continuation of that series of cyclic poems which have already been candidates for bestowing immortality upon, at the same time that they receive it from, his character and adventures. In this point of view, I have violated no rule of syntax in beginning my composition with a conjunction : the full stop which closes the poem continued by me being, like the full stops at the end of the “Iliad" and “Odyssey," a full stop of a very qualified import.
Hoping that the immortality which you have given to the Fudges you will receive from them; and in the firm expectation that, when London shall be an habitation of bitterns; when St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey shall stand, Thapeless and nameless ruins, in the midst of an unpeopled marsh ; when the piers of Waterloo Bridge shall become the nuclei of islets of reeds and osiers, and cast the jagged shadows of their broken arches on the solitary stream ; some transatlantic commentator will be weighing, in the scales of some new and now unimagined system of criticism, the respective merits of the Bells and the Fudges, and their historians,
I remain, dear Tom,
December 1, 1819.
P.S.–Pray excuse the date of place; so soon as the profits of the publication come in, I mean to hire lodgings in a more respectable street.
Then came Peter Bell the Second
Peter Bell the First was Peter
With fresh-imported hell-fire warmed,
His accent caught a nasal twang;
An ill no doctor could unravel ;
Some swore it was the gravel.
His holy friends then came about,
And with long preaching and persuasion Convinced the patient that, without The smallest shadow of a doubt,
He was predestined to damnation.
Thy skin is of a brimstone hue;
The other, I think, rhymes with you."
The nurse who with some water gruel
And broke them both-the fall was cruel.
Into the lake of Windermere :
Gnawing his kidneys half a year.
And tumbled over one another,
And cursed his father and his mother.
Blaspheming like an infidel;
And drag it with him down to hell.
And wrenched his gnashing teeth asunder.
Betwixt his upper jaw and under.
And a fixed smile that was not human
I heard all this from the old woman.
A cloud, with lightning, wind, and hail;
The woods and crags of Grasmere Vale.
Nearer, minute after minute;
It neared as if the Devil was in it.
Peter for half-a-crown. And, when
Was ever seen again.
They found all vanished from the shore.
Smashed glass—and nothing more.
PART II.-THE DEVIL.
Has neither hoof nor tail, nor sting:
In nothing, yet in everything.
He is—what we are: for sometimes
The Devil is a gentleman;
A swindler living as he can;
A thief who cometh in the night,
With whole boots and net pantaloons, Like some one whom it were not right To mention; or the luckless wight
From whom he steals nine silver spoons.
But in this case he did appear
Like a slop-merchant from Wapping,
He had on an upper Benjamin
(For he was of the driving schism)