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May Rapine and Famine,
Slash them at Manchester,
Glasgow, Leeds and Chester ; Drench all with blood from Avon to Trent.
Hew down babes and women,
rent. When Moloch in Jewry Munched children with fury, It was thou, Devil, dining with pure intent.” 1
PART THE SEVENTH.
Soon as he read the ode, he drove
It is curious to observe how often extremes meet. Cobbett and Peter use the same language for a different purpose : Peter is indeed a sort of metrical Cobbett. Cobbett is, however, more mischievous than Peter, because he pollutes a holy and now unconquerable cause with the principles of legitimate murder; whilst the other only makes a bad one ridiculous and odious.
If either Peter or Cobbett should see this note, each will feel more indignation at being compared to the other than at any censure implied in the moral perversion laid to their charge.
To his friend Lord MacMurderchouse's,
And said :-“For money or for love,
“ Pray find some cure or sinecure;
To feed from the superfluous taxes, A friend of ours—a poet-fewer Have fluttered tamer to the lure Than he.” His lordship stands and racks
Stupid brains, while one might count
As many beads as he had boroughs,At length replies; from his mean front, Like one who rubs out an account,
Smoothing away the unmeaning furrows :
“ It happens fortunately, dear Sir,
I can. I hope I need require
That he'll be worthy of his hire.”
To Peter, home the Devil hied,-
Yet that same night he died.
i Oliver, like Castles (see note at page 161), was a Government spy. He had been very prominent, two years before Peter Bell was published, in the Brandreth, Turner, and Ludlam case, which induced Shelley to write his Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte. See vol. i, page xlii. -ED.
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.
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.
But a few natural friends, would hear him;
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.
Fell slumbrously upon one side ;
As opiates, were the same applied.
Even the Reviewers who were hired
To do the work of his reviewing, With adamantine nerves, grew tired ;Gaping and torpid they retired,
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.
xx. 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.
And every neighbouring cottager
Stupidly yawned upon the other :
To save a dying mother.
Yet all from that charmed district went
But some half-idiot and half knave,