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May Rapine and Famine,
Thy gorge ever cramming,
Glut thee with living and dead !

XXXVII.
“May death and damnation,

And consternation,
Flit up from hell with pure intent!

Slash them at Manchester,

Glasgow, Leeds and Chester; Drench all with blood from Avon to Trent.

XXXVIII.

“Let thy body-guard yeomen

Hew down babes and women,
And laugh with bold triumph till Heaven be

rent.
When Moloch in Jewry

Munched children with fury,
It was thou, Devil, dining with pure intent.” 1

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The Devil now knew his proper cue.

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,
A man of interest in both houses,

And said :-“For money or for love,

II.

“ 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

his

III.

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 :

IV.

“ It happens fortunately, dear Sir,

I can. I hope I need require
No pledge from you, that he will stir
In our affairs ;-like Oliver,

That he'll be worthy of his hire.”

v.
These words exchanged, the news sent off

To Peter, home the Devil hied,-
Took to his bed; he had no cough,
No doctor,-meat and drink enough,

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.

VI.

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 ?

VII.
When Peter heard of his promotion,

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.

IX.
But a disease soon struck into

The very life and soul of Peter-
He walked about-slept—had the hue
Of health upon his cheeks—and few

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.

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Whether he talked, wrote, or rehearsed-
Still with this dulness was he cursed-

Dull—beyond all conception—dull.

XII.

No one could read his books—no mortal,

But a few natural friends, would hear him; The parson came not near his portal; His state was like that of the immortal

Described by Swift-no man could bear him.

XIII.
His sister, wife, and children yawned,

With a long, slow, and drear ennui,
All human patience far beyond;
Their hopes of Heaven each would have pawned,

Any where else to be.

XIV.
But in his verse, and in his prose,

The essence of his dulness was Concentred and compressed so close, 'Twould have made Guatimozin doze

On his red gridiron of brass.

XV.
A printer's boy, folding those pages,

Fell slumbrously upon one side ;
Like those famed seven who slept three ages.
To wakeful frenzy's vigil-rages,
As opiates, were the same applied.

XVI.
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.

XVII.
And worse and worse, the drowsy curse

Yawned in him, till it grew a pest-
A wide contagious atmosphere,
Creeping like cold through all things near;

A power to infect and to infest.

XVIII.
His servant-maids and dogs grew dull;

His kitten late a sportive elf,
The woods and lakes, so beautiful,
Of dim stupidity were full,

All grew dull as Peter's self.

XIX.
The earth under his feet—the springs,

Which lived within it a quick life,
The air, the winds of many wings,
That fan it with new murmurings,

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.

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And every neighbouring cottager

Stupidly yawned upon the other :
No jack-ass brayed; no little cur
Cocked up his ears ;—no man would stir

To save a dying mother.

XXII.

Yet all from that charmed district went

But some half-idiot and half knave,

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