Imágenes de páginas

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-tonguèd 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.

[ocr errors]

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 blessed —
But Cobbett's snuff, revenge; that weed
From which the worms that it doth feed

Squeeze less than they before possessed :

[ocr errors]

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.

v. 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.

[blocks in formation]


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.

XIII. “ '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.

[ocr errors]

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.

« AnteriorContinuar »