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XV

Then Peter rubbed his eyes severe,
And smoothed his spacious forehead
down,

With his broad palm ;-'twixt love and
fear,

He looked, as he no doubt felt, queer,
And in his dream sate down.

XVI

XIV

"Bocca bacciata non perde ventura

Anzi rinnuova come fa la luna :—
So thought Boccaccio, whose sweet
words might cure a

And men of learning, science, wit,
Considered him as you and I
Think of some rotten tree, and sit
Male prude, like you, from what you Lounging and dining under it,
now endure, a
Exposed to the wide sky.

Low-tide in soul, like a stagnant

laguna."

The Devil was no uncommon creature;
A leaden-witted thief-just huddled
Out of the dross and scum of nature;
A toad-like lump of limb and feature,
With mind, and heart, and fancy
muddled.

XVII

He was that heavy, dull, cold thing,
The spirit of evil well may be :
A drone too base to have a sting;
Who gluts, and grimes his lazy wing,
And calls lust, luxury.

XVIII

Now he was quite the kind of wight
Round whom collect, at a fixed æra,

Venison, turtle, hock, and claret,Good cheer-and those who come to share it

And best East Indian madeira!

XIX

It was his fancy to invite

Men of science, wit, and learning,
Who came to lend each other light;
He proudly thought that his gold's
might

Had set those spirits burning.

XX

XXI

And all the while, with loose fat smile,
The willing wretch sat winking there,
Believing 'twas his power that made
That jovial scene-and that all paid
Homage to his unnoticed chair.

XXII

Though to be sure this place was Hell;
He was the Devil-and all they-
What though the claret circled well,
And wit, like ocean, rose and fell ?-
Were damned eternally.

PART THE FIFTH

GRACE

I

AMONG the guests who often staid
Till the Devil's petits-soupers,
A man there came, fair as a maid,
And Peter noted what he said,
Standing behind his master's chair.

II

He was a mighty poet-and

A subtle-souled psychologist ;

All things he seemed to understand,
Of old or new-of sea or land-

But his own mind-which was a mist.

III

This was a man who might have turned
Hell into Heaven-and so in gladness
A Heaven unto himself have earned;
But he in shadows undiscerned

Trusted, and damned himself to
madness.

IV

dream,

And which none can ever trace

He spoke of poetry, and how

"Divine it was-a light-a loveA spirit which like wind doth blow As it listeth, to and fro;

XI

A dew rained down from God above. For though it was without a sense

Of memory, yet he remembered well Many a ditch and quick-set fence;

Heaven's light on earth- - Truth's
brightest beam.”

And when he ceased there lay the gleam
Of those words upon his face.

V

"A power which comes and goes like Of lakes he had intelligence,

VI

Now Peter, when he heard such talk,

Would, heedless of a broken pate,
Stand like a man asleep, or baulk
Some wishing guest of knife or fork,
Or drop and break his master's plate.

VII

At night he oft would start and wake
Like a lover, and began
In a wild measure songs to make
On moor, and glen, and rocky lake,
And on the heart of man—

VIII

IX

For in his thought he visited

The spots in which, ere dead and
damned,

He his wayward life had led;
Yet knew not whence the thoughts were
fed,

Which thus his fancy crammed.

X

And on the universal sky

And the wide earth's bosom green,-
And the sweet, strange mystery
Of what beyond these things may lie,
And yet remain unseen.

And these obscure remembrances
Stirred such harmony in Peter,
That whensoever he should please,
He could speak of rocks and trees
In poetic metre.

He knew something of heath, and fell.

XII

He had also dim recollections

Of pedlars tramping on their rounds; Milk-pans and pails; and odd collections Of saws, and proverbs; and reflections

Old parsons make in burying-grounds.

XIII

But Peter's verse was clear, and came

Announcing from the frozen hearth
Of a cold age, that none might tame
The soul of that diviner flame
It augured to the Earth.

XIV

Like gentle rains, on the dry plains,
Making that green which late was
gray,

Or like the sudden moon, that stains
Some gloomy chamber's window panes
With a broad light like day.

XV

For language was in Peter's hand,
Like clay, while he was yet a potter;

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Mixed with a certain hungry wish.2 1 A famous river in the new Atlantis of the Dynastophylic Pantisocratists.

2 See the description of the beautiful colours produced during the agonising death of a number of trout, in the fourth part of a long poem in blank verse, published within a few years. That poem contains curious evidence of the gradual hardening of a strong but circumscribed sensibility, of the perversion of a penetrating but panic-stricken understanding. The author might have derived a lesson which he had probably forgotten from these sweet and sublime

verses.

"This lesson, Shepherd, let us two divide,

Taught both by what she shows and what conceals,
Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels."

1 Nature.

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For he now raved enormous folly,

Of Baptisms, Sunday-schools, and
Graves,

'Twould make George Colman melancholy,

To have heard him, like a male Molly, Chaunting those stupid staves.

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