Imatges de pÓgina

We warned you whilst yet on the brink
You stood. From your black name will shrink
The babe that is unborn."


All these Reviews the Devil made
Up in a parcel, which he had
Safely to Peter's house conveyed.
For carriage, tenpence Peter paid-

Untied them-read them-went half mad.


"What!" cried he, "this is my reward

For nights of thought, and days of toil?
Do poets, but to be abhorred

By men of whom they never heard,
Consume their spirits' oil?


"What have I done to them?-and who
Is Mrs. Foy? 'Tis very cruel

To speak of me and Emma so!
Adultery! God defend me! Oh!


I've half a mind to fight a duel."


'Or," cried he, a grave look collecting, "Is it my genius, like the moon, Sets those who stand her face inspecting That face within their brain reflecting, Like a crazed bell-chime, out of tune?"


For Peter did not know the town;

But thought, as country readers do,

For half a guinea or a crown

He bought oblivion or renown

From God's own voice in a review.


All Peter did on this occasion

Was writing some sad stuff in prose.

It is a dangerous invasion

When poets criticise; their station
Is to delight, not pose.


The Devil then sent to Leipsic fair

For Born's translation of Kant's book;

A world of words, tail foremost, where
Right, wrong-false, true-and foul and fair-
As in a lottery-wheel are shook.


Five thousand crammed octavo pages
Of German psychologics,-he

Who his furor verborum assuages

Thereon deserves just seven months' wages
More than will e'er be due to me.


I looked on them nine several days,
And then I saw that they were bad;
A friend, too, spoke in their dispraise,—
He never read them; with amaze

I found Sir William Drummond had.


When the book came, the Devil sent
It to P. Verbovale, Esquire,
With a brief note of compliment,
By that night's Carlisle mail. It went,
And set his soul on fire :-


Fire which ex luce præbens fumum
Made him beyond the bottom see

Of truth's clear well. When I and you, Ma'am,
Go, as we shall do, subter humum,

We may know more than he.


Now Peter ran to seed in soul
Into a walking paradox

(For he was neither part nor whole,
Nor good nor bad, nor knave nor fool)
Among the woods and rocks.


Furious he rode where late he ran,
Lashing and spurring his tame hobby;
Turned to a formal puritan,

A solemn and unsexual man

He half believed White Obi.


This steed in vision he would ride,
High trotting over nine-inch bridges,
With Flibbertigibbet, imp of pride,
Mocking and mowing by his side-
A mad-brained goblin for a guide—
Over cornfields, gates, and hedges.


After these ghastly rides, he came

Home to his heart, and found from thence

Much stolen of its accustomed flame;

His thoughts grew weak, drowsy, and lame
Of their intelligence.


To Peter's view, all seemed one hue;

He was no whig, he was no tory;
No deist and no Christian he;
He got so subtle that to be

Nothing was all his glory.


One single point in his belief
From his organization sprung,-
The heart-enrooted faith, the chief
Ear in his doctrines' blighted sheaf,
That "happiness is wrong."


So thought Calvin and Dominic ;

So think their fierce successors, who
Even now would neither stint nor stick
Our flesh from off our bones to pick,
If they might "do their do.”


His morals thus were undermined:

The old Peter Bell, the hard old potter,

Was born anew within his mind;

He grew dull, harsh, sly, unrefined,

As when he tramped beside the Otter.


In the death hues of agony

Lambently flashing from a fish,
Now Peter felt amused to see

Shades like a rainbow's rise and flee,
Mixed with a certain hungry wish.


So in his Country's dying face

He looked-and, lovely as she lay,

Seeking in vain his last embrace,

Wailing her own abandoned case,

With hardened sneer he turned away:


And coolly to his own Soul said:

"Do you not think that we might make

A poem on her when she's dead?—

Or no! a thought is in my head!

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Her shroud for a new sheet I'll take.


'My wife wants one. Let who will bury This mangled corpse! And I and you, My dearest Soul, will then make merry, As the Prince Regent did with Sherry,Ay, and at last desert me too."

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As troubled skies stain waters clear,
The storm in Peter's heart and mind
Now made his verses dark and queer;
They were the ghosts of what they were,
Shaking dim graveclothes in the wind:-


For he now raved enormous folly,

Of baptisms; Sunday-schools, and graves. "Twould make George Colman melancholy To have heard him, like a male Molly, Chanting those stupid staves.

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Flit up from Hell with pure intent!
Slash them at Manchester,
Glasgow, Leeds, and Chester;

Drench all with blood from Avon to Trent !


"Let thy body-guard yeomen
Hew down babes and women;

And laugh with bold triumph till heaven be rent!
When Moloch in Jewry

Munched children with fury,

It was thou, Devil, dining with pure intent."



The Devil now knew his proper cue.
Soon as he read the ode, he drove
To his friend Lord Mac Murderchouse's,
A man of interest in both houses,

And said:" For money or for love,


"Pray find some cure or sinecure,

To feed him from the superfluous taxes

A friend of ours-a poet: fewer

Have fluttered tamer to the lure

Than he." His lordship stands and racks his


Stupid brains, while one might count
As many beads as he had boroughs,-
At length replies (from his mean front,
Like one who rubs out an account,

Smoothing away the unmeaning furrows):


"It happens, fortunately, dear sir,
I can. I hope I need require

No pledge from you that he will stir
In our affairs; like Oliver,

That he'll be worthy of his hire."


These words exchanged, the news sent off
To Peter, home the Devil hied,-

Took to his bed. He had no cough,
No doctor,-meat and drink enough,
Yet that same night he died.


The Devil's corpse was leaded down;
His decent heirs enjoyed his pelf,
Mourning-coaches many a one
Followed his hearse along the town:-
Where was the Devil himself?

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