Imatges de pàgina

In the which he wrapped his skin
From the storm he travelled in,
For fear of rheumatism.


He called the ghost out of the corse.
It was exceedingly like Peter,-
Only its voice was hollow and hoarse:
It had a queerish look of course:

Its dress too was a little neater.


The Devil knew not his name and lot,
Peter knew not that he was Bell:
Each had an upper stream of thought
Which made all seem as it was not,
Fitting itself to all things well.


Peter thought he had parents dear,
Brothers, sisters, cousins, cronies,
In the fens of Lincolnshire.

He perhaps had found them there,
Had he gone and boldly shown his


Solemn phiz in his own village;

Where he thought oft when a boy He'd clomb the orchard walls to pillage The produce of his neighbour's tillage, With marvellous pride and joy.


And the Devil thought he had,
'Mid the misery and confusion

Of an unjust war, just made

A fortune by the gainful trade

Of giving soldiers rations bad

(The world is full of strange delusion);


That he had a mansion planned
In a square like Grosvenor Square;
That he was aping fashion, and

That he now came to Westmoreland
To see what was romantic there.


And all this, though quite ideal—
Ready at a breath to vanish-
Was a state not more unreal
Than the peace he could not feel,

Or the care he could not banish.


After a little conversation,

The Devil told Peter, if he chose, He'd bring him to the world of fashion By giving him a situation

In his own service-and new clothes.


And Peter bowed, quite pleased and proud;
And, after waiting some few days
For a new livery-dirty yellow

Turned up with black,-the wretched fellow

Was bowled to Hell in the Devil's chaise.



Hell is a city much like London-
A populous and a smoky city;
There are all sorts of people undone,
And there is little or no fun done;

Small justice shown and still less pity.


There is a Castles, and a Canning,
A Cobbett, and a Castlereagh;
All sorts of caitiff corpses planning
All sorts of cozening, for trepanning
Corpses less corrupt than they.


There is a ***, who has lost

His wits, or sold them, none knows which;

He walks about a double ghost,

And, though as thin as Fraud almost,
Ever grows more grim and rich.


There is a Chancery Court; a King;
A manufacturing mob; a set
Of thieves who by themselves are sent
Similar thieves to represent;

An army; and a public debt;


Which last is a scheme of paper-money,
And means, being interpreted-
"Bees, keep your wax-give us the honey;
And we will plant, while skies are sunny,

Flowers, which in winter serve instead."


There is great talk of revolution,
And a great chance of despotism;
German soldiers-camps-confusion-
Gin-suicide--and Methodism;—


Taxes too on wine and bread,

And meat and beer and tea and cheese;
From which those patriots pure are fed

Who gorge, before they reel to bed,
The tenfold essence of all these.

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There are mincing women, mewing
(Like cats, who amant miserè)
Of their own virtue, and pursuing
Their gentler sisters to that ruin

Without which-what were chastity?


Lawyers, judges, old hobnobbers,

Are there,-bailiffs-ChancellorsBishops-great and little robbersRhymsters-pamphleteers-stock-jobbers— Men of glory in the wars,


Things whose trade is over ladies

To lean, and flirt and stare and simper,
Till all that is divine in woman

Grows cruel, courteous, smooth, inhuman,
Crucified 'twixt a smile and whimper.


Thrusting, toiling, wailing, moiling,
Frowning, preaching-such a riot!

Each with never-ceasing labour,

Whilst he thinks he cheats his neighbour,
Cheating his own heart of quiet.


And all these meet at levees,

Dinners convivial and political

Suppers of epic poets--teas

Where small-talk dies in agonies

Breakfasts professional and critical;—


Lunches and snacks so aldermanic

That one would furnish forth ten dinners

Where reigns a Cretan tongued panic,

Lest news-Russ, Dutch, or Alemanic

Should make some losers, and some winners;—


At conversazioni, balls,

Conventicles, and drawing-rooms; Courts of law, committees, calls

Of a morning, clubs, book-stalls,

Churches, masquerades, and tombs.


And this is Hell: and in this smother
All are damnable and damned;
Each one, damning, damns the other;
They are damned by one another,-
By none other are they damned.


'Tis a lie to say "God damns."

Where was Heaven's Attorney General
When they first gave out such flams?
Let there be an end of shams:

They are mines of poisonous mineral.


Statesmen damn themselves to be
Cursed; and lawyers damn their souls
To the auction of a fee;

Churchmen damn themselves to see

God's sweet love in burning coals:


The rich are damned, beyond all cure,
To taunt and starve and trample on
The weak and wretched; and the poor
Damn their broken hearts to endure

Stripe on stripe with groan on groan:—


Sometimes the poor are damned indeed
To take-not means for being blessed-
But Cobbett's snuff, revenge; that weed
From which the worms that it doth feed

Squeeze less than they before possessed:


And some few, like we know who,
Damned-but God alone knows why--
To believe their minds are given

To make this ugly Hell a Heaven;
In which faith they live and die.


Thus,-as, in a town plague-stricken,
Each man (be he sound or no)

Must indifferently sicken;

As, when day begins to thicken

None knows a pigeon from a crow,—


So good and bad, sane and mad;

The oppressor and the oppressed; Those who weep to see what others Smile to inflict upon their brothers; Lovers, haters, worst and best:


All are damned-They breathe an air,
Thick, infected, joy-dispelling;
Each pursues what seems most fair,
Mining like moles through mind, and there
Scoop palace-caverns vast, where Care
In throned state is ever dwelling.



Lo, Peter in Hell's Grosvenor Square,
A footman in the Devil's service!
And the misjudging world would swear
That every man in service there

To virtue would prefer vice.


But Peter, though now damned, was not
What Peter was before damnation.
Men oftentimes prepare a lot

Which, ere it finds them, is not what

Suits with their genuine station.


All things that Peter saw and felt
Had a peculiar aspect to him;
And, when they came within the belt
Of his own nature, seemed to melt,
Like cloud to cloud, into him.


And so, the outward world uniting,
To that within him, he became

Considerably uninviting

To those who, meditation slighting,

Were moulded in a different frame.


And he scorned them, and they scorned him: And he scorned all they did; and they

Did all that men of their own trim

Are wont to do to please their whim,

Drinking, lying, swearing, play.

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