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And broke their skulls.—Upon the floor
Meanwhile sat Peter Bell, and swore,
And cursed his father and his mother;

IX.

And raved of God and sin and death,

Blaspheming like an infidel;
And said that with his clenched teeth
He'd seize the earth from underneath,

And drag it with him down to hell.

x.

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 Betwixt his upper jaw and under.

x1.

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 :—

I heard all this from the old woman.

XII.

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.

XIII.

And I saw the black storm come

Nearer, minute after minute;
Its thunder made the cataracts dumb;
With hiss and clash and hollow hum,

It neared as if the Devil was in it.

XIV.

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.

xv. The gaping neighbours came next day—

They found all vanished from the shore. The bible whence he used to pray Half scorched under a hen-coop lay; Smashed glass—and nothing more.

PART II—THE DEVIL,
I.
The Devil, I safely can aver,

Has neither hoof nor tail nor sting;
Nor is he, as some sages swear,
A spirit neither here nor there,—
In nothing, yet in everything.

II.

He is—what we are: for sometimes

The Devil is a gentleman;
At others a bard bartering rhymes
For sack; a statesman spinning crimes;

A swindler living as he can;

III.

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.

IV.

But in this case he did appear

Like a slop-merchant from Wapping,
And with smug face and eye severe
On every side did perk and peer
Till he saw Peter dead or napping.

v.
He had on an tipper 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.

VI.

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. VII. 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.

VIII.

Peter thought he had parents dear,
Brothers, sisters, cousins, cronies,

In the fens of Lincolnshire.

He perhaps had found them there,
Had he gone and boldly shown his

IX.

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.

x.
And the Devil thought he had,

'Mid the misery and confusion
Of an unjust war, just made
A fortune by the gainful trade
Of giving soldiers rations bad—

(The world is full of strange delusion);

XI.

That he had a mansion planned

In a square like Grosvenor Square;
That he was aping fashion, and
That he now came to Westmoreland
To see what was romantic there.

XII.

And all this, though quite ideal—
Ready at a breath to vanish—

Was a state not more unreal
Than the peace he could not feel,
Or the care he could not banish.

XIII.

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.

XIV. 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.

I.
Hell is a city much like London—

A populous and a smoky city;
There are all sorts of people undone,
And there is little or no fun done;

Small justice shown, and still less pity.

II.
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.

III.
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.

IV.

There is a Chancery Court; a King;
A manufacturing mob; a set

Of thieves who by themselves are sent
Similar thieves to represent;
An army; and a public debt:—

v.
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."

VI.

There is great talk of revolution,

And a great chance of despotism;

German soldiers—camps—confusion—

Tumults—lotteries—rage—delusion—

Gin—suicide—and Methodism :—

VII.

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,

The tenfold essence of all these.

VIII.

There are mincing women, mewing

(Like cats, who amant miser}) Of their own virtue, and pursuing Their gentler sisters to that ruin

Without which—what were chastity?

IX.

Lawyers, judges, old hobnobbers,

Are there,—bailiffs—Chancellors— Bishops—great and little robbers— Rhymesters—pamphleteers—stock-jobbers— Men of glory in the wars,—

x.
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.

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