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All Peter did on this occasion

Was writing some sad stuff in prose.
It is a dangerous invasion

When poets criticize; 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 fairAs 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!

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."


And so his soul would not be gay,

But moaned within him; like a fawn

Moaning within a cave, it lay

Wounded and wasting, day by day,

Till all its life of life was gone.


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.


Yet the Reviews, who heaped abuse
On Peter while he wrote for freedom,
So soon as in his song they spy
The folly which soothes tyranny,

Praise him, for those who feed 'em.


He was a man too great to scan ;
A planet lost in truth's keen rays;
His virtue, awful and prodigious;
He was the most sublime, religious,
Pure-minded poet of these days.


As soon as he read that, cried Peter,
"Eureka! I have found the way

To make a better thing of metre
Than e'er was made by living creature
Up to this blessed day."


Then Peter wrote odes to the Devil ;

In one of which he meekly said :

"May Carnage and Slaughter,
Thy niece and thy daughter,
May Rapine and Famine,
Thy gorge ever cramming,
Glut thee with living and dead!


"May Death and Damnation

And Consternation

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 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."

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