After a little conversation,
The Devil told Peter, if he chose,
He’d bring him to the world of fashion
By giving him a situation 140
In his own service—and new clothes.
And Peter bowed, quite pleased and proud,
And after waiting some few days
For a new livery—dirty yellow
Turned up with black—the wretched fellow 145
Was bowled to Hell in the Devil’s chaise.
Hell is a city much like London—
A populous and a smoky city;
There are all sorts of people undone,
And there is little or no fun done; 150
Small justice shown, and still less pity.
There is a Castles, and a Canning,
A Cobbett, and a Castlereagh;
All sorts of caitiff corpses planning
All sorts of cozening for trepanning 155
Corpses less corrupt than they.
There is a ***, who has lost
His wits, or sold them, none knows which;
He walks about a double ghost,
And though as thin as Fraud almost— 160
Ever grows more grim and rich.
There is a Chancery Court; a King;
A manufacturing mob; a set
Of thieves who by themselves are sent
Similar thieves to represent; 165
An army; and a public debt.
Which last is a scheme of paper money,
And means—being interpreted—
’Bees, keep your wax—give us the honey,
And we will plant, while skies are sunny, 170
Flowers, which in winter serve instead.’
There is a great talk of revolution—
And a great chance of despotism—
Taxes too, on wine and bread,
And meat, and beer, and tea, and cheese,
From which those patriots pure are fed,
Who gorge before they reel to bed 180
The tenfold essence of all these.
There are mincing women, mewing,
(Like cats, who amant misere,)
Of their own virtue, and pursuing
Their gentler sisters to that ruin, 185
Without which—what were chastity?(2)
Bishops—great and little robbers—
Men of glory in the wars,—
Things whose trade is, over ladies
To lean, and flirt, and stare, and simper,
Till all that is divine in woman
Grows cruel, courteous, smooth, inhuman, 195
Crucified ’twixt a smile and whimper.