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VI.

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 ?

VII.
When Peter heard of his promotion,

His eyes grew like two stars for bliss : There was a bow of sleek devotion, Engendering in his back; each motion

Seemed a Lord's shoe to kiss.

VIII. He hired a house, bought plate, and made

A genteel drive up to his door, With sifted gravel neatly laid, As if defying all who said

Peter was ever poor.

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But a disease soon struck into

The very life and soul of Peter-
He walked about-slept—had the hue
Of health upon his cheeks—and few

Dug better--none a heartier eater.

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And yet a strange and horrid curse

Clung upon Peter, night and day, Month after month the thing grew worse, And deadlier than in this my verse,

I can find strength to say.

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Whether he talked, wrote, or rehearsed-
Still with this dulness was he cursed-

Dull—beyond all conception-dull.

XII.

No one could read his books—no mortal,

But a few natural friends, would hear him; The parson came not near his portal; His state was like that of the immortal

Described by Swift-no man could bear him.

XIII.
His sister, wife, and children yawned,

With a long, slow, and drear ennui,
All human patience far beyond;
Their hopes of Heaven each would have pawned,

Any where else to be.

XIV.
But in his verse, and in his prose,

The essence of his dulness was Concentred and compressed so close, 'Twould have made Guatimozin doze

On his red gridiron of brass.

xv. A printer's boy, folding those pages,

Fell slumbrously upon one side ; Like those famed seven who slept three ages. To wakeful frenzy's vigil-rages,

As opiates, were the same applied.

XVI.
Even the Reviewers who were hired

To do the work of his reviewing,
With adamantine nerves, grew tired ;-
Gaping and torpid they retired,

To dream of what they should be doing.

XVII.
And worse and worse, the drowsy curse

Yawned in him, till it grew a pest-
A wide contagious atmosphere,
Creeping like cold through all things near;

A power to infect and to infest.

XVIII.
His servant-maids and dogs grew dull;

His kitten late a sportive elf,
The woods and lakes, so beautiful,
Of dim stupidity were full,

All grew dull as Peter's self.

XIX.
The earth under his feet—the springs,

Which lived within it a quick life,
The air, the winds of many wings,
That fan it with new murmurings,

Were dead to their harmonious strife.

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The birds and beasts within the wood,

The insects, and each creeping thing, Were now a silent multitude; Love's work was left unwrought-no brood

Near Peter's house took wing.

XXI.
And every neighbouring cottager

Stupidly yawned upon the other :
No jack-ass brayed; no little cur
Cocked up his ears ;-no man would stir

To save a dying mother.

XXII.
Yet all from that charmed district went

But some half-idiot and half knave,

Who rather than pay any rent,
Would live with marvellous content,

Over his father's grave.

XXIII.
No bailiff dared within that space,

For fear of the dull charm, to enter;
A man would bear upon his face,
For fifteen months in any case,

The yawn of such a venture.

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XXIV.
Seven miles above-below-around-

This pest of dulness holds its sway;
A ghastly life without a sound;
To Peter's soul the spell is bound-

How should it ever pass away

LETTER TO MARIA GISBORNE.

LEGHORN, July 1, 1820. The spider spreads her webs, whether she be In poet's tower, cellar, or barn, or tree; The silk-worm in the dark green mulberry leaves His winding sheet and cradle ever weaves; So I, a thing whom moralists call worm, Sit spinning still round this decaying form, From the fine threads of rare and subtle

thoughtNo net of words in garish colours wrought To catch the idle buzzers of the dayBut a soft cell, where when that fades away, 10 Memory may clothe in wings my living name And feed it with the asphodels of fame, Which in those hearts which must remember

me Grow, making love an immortality.

Whoever should behold me now, I wist, Would think I were a mighty mechanist, Bent with sublime Archimedean art To breathe a soul into the iron heart Of some machine portentous, or strange gin, Which by the force of figured spells might

win Its way over the sea, and sport therein;

1 See vol. i, pages xliii, xlvii, and xlix.

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