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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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- The world is full of strange delusion-
That he had a mansion planned In a square like Grosvenor Square, That he was aping fashion, and That he now came to Westmoreland To see what was romantic there.
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, Or the care he could not banish.
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 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 Was bowled to Hell in the Devil's chaise.