“Your crown and your
sceptre I like full well,
They tempt a poor maiden’s pride, Sir;
But your lands and possessions—excuse if I’m rude—
Are too far in a Northerly latitude
For me to become your Bride, Sir.
“In that aguish clime
I should catch my death,
Being but a raw new comer”—
Quoth he, “We have plenty of fuel stout;
And the fires, which I kindle, never go out
By winter, nor yet by summer.
“I am Prince of Hell,
and Lord Paramount
Over Monarchs there abiding.
My Groom of the Stables is Nimrod old;
And Nebuchadnazor my stirrups must hold,
When I go out a riding.
“To spare your blushes,
and maiden fears,
I resorted to these inventions—
But, Imposture, begone; and avaunt, Disguise!”
And the Devil began to swell and rise
To his own diabolic dimensions.
Twin horns from his forehead
shot up to the moon,
Like a branching stag in Arden;
Dusk wings through his shoulders with eagle’s strength
Push’d out; and his train lay floundering in length
An acre beyond the garden.—
To tender hearts I have framed
Judge ye, all love-sick Maidens,
When the virgin saw in the soft moonlight,
In his proper proportions, her own true knight,
If she needed long persuadings.
Yet a maidenly modesty kept
As her sex’s art had taught her:
For “the biggest Fortunes,” quoth she, “in the land—
Are not worthy”—then blush’d—“of your Highness’s hand—
Much less a poor Taylor’s daughter.
“There’s the two
Miss Crockfords are single still,
For whom great suitors hunger;
And their Father’s hell is much larger than mine”—
Quoth the Devil, “I’ve no such ambitious design,
For their Dad is an old Fishmonger;
“And I cannot endure
the smell of fish—
I have taken an anti-bias
To their livers, especially since the day
That the Angel smoked my cousin away
From the chaste spouse of Tobias.
“Had my amorous kinsman
much longer staid,
The perfume would have seal’d his obit;
For he had a nicer nose than the wench,
Who cared not a pin for the smother and stench,
In the arms of the Son of Tobit.”
“I have read it,”
quoth she, “in Apocryphal Writ”—
And the Devil stoop’d down, and kiss’d her;
Not Jove himself, when he courted in flame,
On Semele’s lips, the love-scorch’d Dame,
Impress’d such a burning blister.
The fire through her bones
and her vitals shot—
“O, I yield, my winsome marrow—
I am thine for life”—and black thunders roll’d—
And she sank in his arms through the garden mould,
With the speed of a red-hot arrow.
Merrily, merrily, ring the
From each Pandemonian steeple;
For the Devil hath gotten his beautiful Bride,
And a Wedding Dinner he will provide,
To feast all kinds of people.