The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 571 pages of information about The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Volume 1.

PART 2.

THE DEVIL.

1. 
The Devil, I safely can aver,
Has neither hoof, nor tail, nor sting;
Nor is he, as some sages swear,
A spirit, neither here nor there,
In nothing—­yet in everything. 80

2. 
He is—­what we are; for sometimes
The Devil is a gentleman;
At others a bard bartering rhymes
For sack; a statesman spinning crimes;
A swindler, living as he can; 85

3. 
A thief, who cometh in the night,
With whole boots and net pantaloons,
Like some one whom it were not right
To mention;—­or the luckless wight
From whom he steals nine silver spoons. 90

4. 
But in this case he did appear
Like a slop-merchant from Wapping,
And with smug face, and eye severe,
On every side did perk and peer
Till he saw Peter dead or napping. 95

5. 
He had on an upper Benjamin
(For he was of the driving schism)
In the which he wrapped his skin
From the storm he travelled in,
For fear of rheumatism. 100

6. 
He called the ghost out of the corse;—­
It was exceedingly like Peter,—­
Only its voice was hollow and hoarse—­
It had a queerish look of course—­
Its dress too was a little neater. 105

7. 
The Devil knew not his name and lot;
Peter knew not that he was Bell: 
Each had an upper stream of thought,
Which made all seem as it was not;
Fitting itself to all things well. 110

8. 
Peter thought he had parents dear,
Brothers, sisters, cousins, cronies,
In the fens of Lincolnshire;
He perhaps had found them there
Had he gone and boldly shown his 115

9. 
Solemn phiz in his own village;
Where he thought oft when a boy
He’d clomb the orchard walls to pillage
The produce of his neighbour’s tillage,
With marvellous pride and joy. 120

10. 
And the Devil thought he had,
’Mid the misery and confusion
Of an unjust war, just made
A fortune by the gainful trade
Of giving soldiers rations bad—­ 125
The world is full of strange delusion—­

11. 
That he had a mansion planned
In a square like Grosvenor Square,
That he was aping fashion, and
That he now came to Westmoreland 130
To see what was romantic there.

12. 
And all this, though quite ideal,—­
Ready at a breath to vanish,—­
Was a state not more unreal
Than the peace he could not feel, 135
Or the care he could not banish.

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The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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