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And broke their skulls.—Upon the floor
And raved of God and sin and death,
Blaspheming like an infidel;
And drag it with him down to hell.
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.
And yellow death lay on his face;
And a fixed smile that was not human
I heard all this from the old woman.
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
And I saw the black storm come
Nearer, minute after minute;
It neared as if the Devil was in it.
The Devil was in it:—he had bought
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,
Has neither hoof nor tail nor sting;
He is—what we are: for sometimes
The Devil is a gentleman;
A swindler living as he can;
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,
(For he was of the driving schism)
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.
Peter thought he had parents dear,
In the fens of Lincolnshire.
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.
'Mid the misery and confusion
(The world is full of strange delusion);
That he had a mansion planned
In a square like Grosvenor Square;
And all this, though quite ideal—
Was a state not more unreal
After a little conversation,
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.
A populous and a smoky city;
Small justice shown, and still less pity.
A Cobbett, and a Castlereagh;
Corpses less corrupt than they.
His wits, or sold them, none knows which;
Ever grows more grim and rich.
There is a Chancery Court; a King;
Of thieves who by themselves are sent
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;
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,
The tenfold essence of all these.
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?
Lawyers, judges, old hobnobbers,
Are there,—bailiffs—Chancellors— Bishops—great and little robbers— Rhymesters—pamphleteers—stock-jobbers— Men of glory in the wars,—
To lean, and flirt and stare and simper,
Crucified 'twixt a smile and whimper.