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LXXXIII “ On those who first should violate Such sacred heralds in their state Rest the blood that must ensue, And it will not rest on you.
XCI “Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number — Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on youYe are many—they are sew.”
LXXXIV “ And if then the tyrants dare Let them ride among you there, Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew,What they like, that let them do.
LXXXV " With folded arms and steady eyes, And little fear, and less surprise Look upon them as they slay Till their rage has died away.
LXXXVI “ Then they will return with shame To the place from which they came, And the blood thus shed will speak In hot blushes on their cheek.
LXXXVII “ Every woman in the land Will point at them as they standThey will hardly dare to greet Their acquaintance in the street.
NOTE ON THE MASK OF ANARCHY, BY MRS. SHELLEY
Though Shelley's first eager desire to excite his countrymen to resist openly the oppressions existent during “the good old times" had faded with early youth, still his warmest sympathies were for the people. He was a republican, and loved a democracy. He looked on all human beings as inheriting an equal right to possess the dearest privileges of our nature; the necessaries of life when fairly earned by labour, and intellectual instruction. His hatred of any despotism that looked upon the people as not to be consulted, or protected from want and ignorance, was intense. He was residing near Leghorn, at Villa Valsovano, writing The Cenci, when the news of the Manchester Massacre reached us; it roused in him violent emotions of indignation and compassion. The great truth that the many, if accordant and resolute, could control the few, as was shown some years after, made him long to teach his injured countrymen how to resist. Inspired by these feelings, he wrote the Masque of Anarchy, which he sent to his friend Leigh Hunt, to be inserted in the Examiner, of which he was then the Editor.
“I did not insert it," Leigh Hunt writes in his valuable and interesting preface to this poem, when he printed it in 1832, “because I thought that the public at large had not become sufficiently discerning to do justice to the sincerity and kind-heartedness of the spirit that walked in this flaming robe of verse." Days of outrage have passed away, and with them the exasperation that would cause such an appeal to the many to be injurious. Without being aware of them, they at one time acted on his suggestions,
LXXXVIII “ And the bold, true warriors Who have hugged Danger in the wars Will turn to those who would be free Ashamed of such base company.
LXXXIX “And that slaughter to the Nation Shall steam up like inspiration, Eloquent, oracular; A volcano heard afar.
“And these words shall then become Like oppression's thundered doom Ringing thro' each heart and brain, lleard again-again-again
and gained the day. But they rose when presenting him to you, I have the satisfachuman life was respected by the Minister tion of being able to assure you that he is in power; such was not the case during considerably the dullest of the three. the Administration which excited Shelley's There is this particular advantage in in abhorrence.
acquaintance with any one of the Peter 'The poem was written for the people, Bells, that if you know one Peter Beil. and is therefore in a more popular tone you know three Peter Bells; they are not than usual : portions strike as abrupt and one, but three; not three, but one. An unpolished, but many stanzas are all his awful mystery, which, after having caused own. I heard him repeat, and admired, torrents of blood, and having been hymned those beginning
by groans enough to deafen the music of “My Father Time is old and gray," the spheres, is at length illustrated to the before I knew to what poem they were to satisfaction of all parties in the theological belong. But the most touching passage world, by the nature of Mr. Peter Bali. is that which describes the blessed effects Peter is a polyhedric Peter, or a Peter of liberty ; it might make a patriot of any with many sides. He changes colours man whose heart was not wholly closed like a chameleon, and his coat like a snake. against his humbler fellow-creatures. He is a Proteus of a Peter. He was at
first sublime, pathetic, impressive, profound ; then dull; then prosy and dull;
and now dull-oh so very dull ! it is an PETER BELL THE THIRD
You will perceive that it is not necessary BY MICHING MALLECHO, ESQ. to consider Hell and the Devil as super
natural machinery. The whole scene of Is it a party in a parlour, Crammed just as they on earth were crammed,
my epic is in "this world which is " - so Some sipping punch-some sipping tea;
Peter informed us before his conversion But, as you by their faces see,
to IVhite ObiAll silent, and all - damned !
" The world of all of us, and were Peter Bill, by W. WORDSWORTH.
We find our happiness, or not at all." OPHELIA.- What means this, my lord ?
Let me observe that I have spent six or HAMLET.--Marry, this is Miching Mallecho; it means mischief.
seven days in composing this sublime SHAKESPEARE. piece; the orb of my moon-like genius
has made the fourth part of its revolution DEDICATION
round the dull earth which you inhalict.
driving you mad, while it has retained its TO THOMAS BROWN, ESQ., THE YOUNGER, I calmness and its splendour, and I have H.F.
been fitting this its last phase "to occur DEAR TOM--Allow me to request you a permanent station in the literature of to introduce Mr. Peter Bell to the respect my country," able family of the Fudges. Although he Your works, indeed, dear Tom, sell may fall short of those very considerable betier; but mine are far superior. The personages in the more active properties public is no judge; posterity sets all to which characterise the Rat and the Apos- rights.
pect that even you. their his. Allow me to observe that so much has torian, will confess that he surpasses them been written of Peter Bell, that the present in the more peculiarly legitimate quali- history can be considered only, like the fication of intolerable dulness,
Iliad, as a continuation of that series of You know Mr. Examiner Hunt; well cyclic poems, which have already been -- it was he who presented me to two of candidates for bestowing immortality upon. the Mr. Bells. My intimacy with the at the same time that they receive it from, younger Mr. Bell naturally sprung from his character and adventures. In this this introduction to his brothers. And in point of view I have violated no rule of
syntax in beginning my composition with Without which the rest would seem
O'er the grave been forced to pass
O'er the grave been force Odyssey, a full stop of a very qualified |
To the other side, which is,-import. Hoping that the immortality which you
| Go and try else,-- just like this. have given to the Fudges, you will receive | Peter Bell the First was Peter from them; and in the firm expectation, | Smugger, milder, softer, neater, that when London shall be an habitation | Like the soul before it is of bitterns; when St. Paul's and West. Born from that world into this. minster Abbey shall stand, shapeless and The next Peter Bell was he, nameless ruins, in the midst of an un
Predevote, like you and me, peopled marsh; when the piers of Water
To good or evil as may come; loo Bridge shall become the nuclei of
His was the severer doom,islets of reeds and osiers, and cast the jagged shadows of their broken arches on
For he was an evil Cotter, the solitary stream, some transatlantic com.
And a polygamic Potter. 1 mentator will be weighing in the scales of | And the last is Peter Bell, some new and now unimagined system of | Damned since our first parents fell, criticism, the respective merits of the Damned eternally to Hell Bells and the Fudges, and their historians. Surely he deserves it well! I remain, dear Tom, yours sincerely,
MICHING MALLECHO. December 1, 1819.
PART THE FIRST P.S. - Pray excuse the date of place;
DEATH so soon as the profits of the publication come in, I mean to hire lodgings in a more respectable street.
| AND Peter Bell, when he had been
With fresh-imported Hell-fire warmed, PROLOGUE
Grew serious-from his dress and mien Peter BELLS, one, two and three,
'Twas very plainly to be seen ()'er the wide world wandering be. —
Peter was quite reformed. First, the antenatal Peter,
II Wrapt in weeds of the same metre, His eyes turned up, his mouth turned The so long predestined raiment
down; Clothed in which to walk his way meant | His accent caught a nasal twang; The second Peter; whose ambition
| He oiled his hair, 2 there might be heard Is to link the proposition,
The grace of God in every word As the mean of two extremes
Which Peter said or sang. (This was learnt from Aldric's themes)
1 The oldest scholiasts readShielding from the guilt of schism
A dodecagamic Potter. The orthodoxal syllogism;
This is at once more descriptive and more mega. The First l'eter-he who was
lophonous,---but the alliteration of the text had Like the shadow in the glass
captivated the vulgar ear of the herd of later
commentators. Of the second, yet unripe,
9 To those who have not duly appreciated the His substantial antitype.
distinction between Whale and Russia oil, this
attribute might rather seem to belong to the Then came Peter Bell the Second,
Dandy than the Evangelic. The effect, when Who henceforward must be reckoned to the windward, is indeed so similar, that it The body of a double soul,
requires a subtle naturalist to discriminate the
animals. They belong, however, to distinct And that portion of the whole
And said, that with his clenched teeth, But Peter now grew old, and had
He'd seize the earth from underneath, An ill no doctor could unravel;
And drag it with him down to hell.
| As he was speaking came a spasm,
Like one who sees a strange phantasm His holy friends then came about,
He lay,--there was a silent chasın And with long preaching and per
Between his upper jaw and under. suasion, Convinced the patient that, without
XI The smallest shadow of a doubt,
| And yellow death lay on his face; He was predestined to damnation.
And a fixed smile that was not human Told, as I understand the case,
That he was gone to the wrong place : They said _“Thy name is Peter Bell;
I heard all this from the old woman. Thy skin is of a brimstone hue; Alive or dead-ay, sick or well
XII The one God made to rhyme with hell ; 1 Then there came down from Langdale The other, I think, rhymes with you.” |
A cloud, with lightning, wind and hail; vi
It swept over the mountains like Then Peter set up such a yell!
An ocean,-and I heard it strike The nurse, who with some water gruel The woods and crags of Grasmere vale. Was climbing up the stairs, as well As her old legs could climb them--fell,
XIII And broke them both-the fall was And I saw the black storm come cruel.
Nearer, minute after minute;
Its thunder made the cataracts dumb; VII
With hiss, and clash, and hollow hum, The Parson from the casement leapt It neared as if the Devil was in it. Into the lake of Windermere
The Devil was in it :-he had bought Gnawing his kidneys half a year.
Peter for half-a-crown; and when
That in the house that storm had caught And all the rest rushed through the door, Was ever seen again.
And tumbled over one another, And broke their skulls.-C'pon the floor Meanwhile sat Peter Bell, and swore, The gaping neighbours came next dayAnd cursed his father and his mother; They found all vanished from the
shore : IX
The Bible, whence he used to pray, And raved of God, and sin, and death, | Half scorched under a hen-coop lay : Blaspheming like an infidel;
Smashed glass-and nothing more!
PART THE SECOND
Which made all seem as it was not ;
Fitting itself to all things well.
The Devil, I safely can aver,
Has neither hoof, nor tail, nor sting ;
In nothing—yet in everything.
Peter thought he had parents dear,
Brothers, sisters, cousins, cronies,
Had he gone and boldly shown his
Where he thought oft when a boy
With marvellous pride and joy.
A thief, who cometh in the night, And the Devil thought he had,
With whole boots and net pantaloons, 'Mid the misery and confusion
The world is full of strange delusion.
But in this case he did appear
XI Like a slop-merchant from Wapping, | That he had a mansion planned And with smug face, and eye severe, In a square like Grosvenor Square, On every side did perk and peer
That he was aping fashion, and Till he saw Peter dead or napping. I That he now came to Westmoreland
To see what was romantic there.
He had on an upper Benjamin
XII (For he was of the driving schism) | And all this, though quite ideal,In the which he wrapt his skin
Ready at a breath to vanish, From the storm he travelled in,
Was a state not more unreal For fear of rheumatism.
Than the peace he could not feel,
Or the care he could not banish. Ile called the ghost out of the corse ;
XIII It was exceedingly like Peter, Aster a little conversation, Only its voice was hollow and hoarse-. The Devil told Peter, if he chose, It had a queerish look of course
He'd bring him to the world of fashion Its dress too was a little neater. By giving him a situation
In his own service-and new clothes. VII The Devil knew not his name and lot ;
XIV Peter knew not that he was Bell: And Peter bowed, quite pleased and Each had an upper stream of thought, I proud,