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And broke their skulls.-Upon the floor
And cursed his father and his mother;
And raved of God and sin and death,
And said that with his clenched teeth
As he was speaking, came a spasm,
And wrenched his gnashing teeth asunder. Like one who sees a strange phantasm
He lay, there was a silent chasm
And yellow death lay on his face;
And a fixed smile that was not human
Told, as I understand the case,
That he was gone to the wrong place :-
Then there came down from Langdale Pike A cloud, with lightning, wind, and hail;
It swept over the mountains like
An ocean, and I heard it strike
The woods and crags of Grasmere Vale.
And I saw the black storm come
Nearer, minute after minute;
Its thunder made the cataracts dumb;
The Devil was in it :- he had bought
Peter for half-a-crown. And, when
The storm which bore him vanished, nought That in the house that storm had caught
Was ever seen again.
The gaping neighbours came next day—
Smashed glass—and nothing more.
PART II.-THE DEVIL.
THE DEVIL, I safely can aver,
Has neither hoof nor tail nor sting;
Nor is he, as some sages swear,
He is what we are: for sometimes
For sack; a statesman spinning crimes ;
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,
On every side did perk and peer
He had on an upper Benjamin
(For he was of the driving schism) 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,
He perhaps had found them there,
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,
Of an unjust war, just made
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
And all this, though quite ideal—
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.
|| PART III.—HELL.
HELL is a city much like London—
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;
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-confusionTumults-lotteries-rage-delusion
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,
There are mincing women, mewing
Their gentler sisters to that ruin
Without which-what were chastity?
Lawyers, judges, old hobnobbers,
Bishops-great and little robbers— Rhymesters pamphleteers-stock-jobbersMen 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.