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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 Alemannic-

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 blessedBut 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.


Such were his fellow-servants; thus
His virtue, like our own, was built
Too much on that indignant fuss
Hypocrite Pride stirs up in us

To bully out another's guilt.


He had a mind which was somehow

At once circumference and centre Of all he might or feel or know; Nothing went ever out, although Something did ever enter.


He had as much imagination

As a pint-pot; he never could Fancy another situation,

From which to dart his contemplation,

Than that wherein he stood.


Yet his was individual mind,

And new-created all he saw
In a new manner, and refined
Those new creations, and combined
Them by a master-spirit's law.


Thus although unimaginative—
An apprehension clear, intense,
Of his mind's work, had made alive
The things it wrought on; I believe
Wakening a sort of thought in sense.


But from the first 'twas Peter's drift
To be a kind of moral eunuch:
He touched the hem of Nature's shift,-

Felt faint, and never dared uplift

The closest all-concealing tunic.



She laughed the while with an arch smile,
And kissed him with a sister's kiss,
And said: "My best Diogenes,
I love you well-but, if you please,
Tempt not again my deepest bliss.


"Tis you are cold; for I, not coy,

Yield love for love, frank, warm, and true;

And Burns, a Scottish peasant boy-
His errors prove it-knew my joy
More, learned friend, than you.


"Bocca baciata non perde ventura,

Anzi rinnuova come fa la luna :—

So thought Boccaccio, whose sweet words might cure a Male prude, like you, from what you now endure, a Low-tide in soul, like a stagnant laguna."


Then Peter rubbed his eyes severe,

And smoothed his spacious forehead down
With his broad palm ;-'twixt love and fear,
He looked, as he no doubt felt, queer,

And in his dream sate down.


The Devil was no uncommon creature;
A leaden-witted thief-just huddled
Out of the dross and scum of nature;

A toad-like lump of limb and feature,
With mind and heart and fancy muddled.


He was that heavy dull cold thing
The Spirit of Evil well may be:
A drone too base to have a sting;
Who gluts, and grimes his lazy wing,
And calls lust "luxury."


Now he was quite the kind of wight

Round whom collect, at a fixed era,

Venison, turtle, hock, and claret

Good cheer, and those who come to share it

And best East Indian madeira.


It was his fancy to invite

Men of science, wit, and learning,
Who came to lend each other light;
He proudly thought that his gold's might
Had set those spirits burning.

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