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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 ?
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.
But a disease soon struck into
The very life and soul of Peter-
Dug better--none a heartier eater.
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.
Whether he talked, wrote, or rehearsed-
Dull—beyond all conception-dull.
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.
With a long, slow, and drear ennui,
Any where else to be.
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.
To do the work of his reviewing,
To dream of what they should be doing.
Yawned in him, till it grew a pest-
A power to infect and to infest.
His kitten late a sportive elf,
All grew dull as Peter's self.
Which lived within it a quick life,
Were dead to their harmonious strife.
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.
Stupidly yawned upon the other :
To save a dying mother.
But some half-idiot and half knave,
Who rather than pay any rent,
Over his father's grave.
For fear of the dull charm, to enter;
The yawn of such a venture.
This pest of dulness holds its sway;
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.