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XXXV.

The spirits were in neutral space, before

The gate of heaven; like eastern thresholds is The place where death's grand cause is argued o'er, And souls dispatch'd to that world or to this; And therefore Michael and the other wore

A civil aspect: though they did not kiss, Yet still between his Darkness and his Brightness There pass'd a mutual glance of great politeness.

XXXVI.

The archangel bow'd, not like a modern beau,
But with a graceful Oriental bend,
Pressing one radiant arm just where below

The heart in good men is supposed to tend. He turn'd as to an equal, not too low,

But kindly; Sathan met his ancient friend With more hauteur, as might an old Castilian Poor noble meet a mushroom rich civilian.

XXXVII. He merely bent his diabolic brow

An instant; and then, raising it, he stood In act to assert his right or wrong, and show

Cause why King George by no means could or should Make out a case to be exempt from woe

Eternal, more than other kings endued With better sense and hearts, whom history mentions, Who long have «paved hell with their good intentions.» XXXVIII.

Michael began: « What wouldst thou with this man, Now dead, and brought before the Lord? What ill Hath he wrought since his mortal race began,

That thou canst claim him? Speak, and do thy will, If it be just: if in this earthly span

He hath been greatly failing to fulfil
His duties as a king and mortal, say,
And he is thine; if not, let him have way.»>

XXXIX.

« Michael!» replied the prince of air, « even here, Before the gate of Him thou servest, must I claim my subject; and will make appear

That as he was my worshipper in dust, So shall he be in spirit, although dear

To thee and thine, because nor wine nor lust Were of his weaknesses! yet on the throne Ile reign'd o'er millions to serve me alone.

XL.

<< Look to our earth, or rather mine; it was Once, more thy Master's: but I triumph not In this poor planet's conquest, nor, alas!

Need he thou servest envy me my lot: With all the myriads of bright worlds which pass In worship round him, he may have forgot You weak creation of such paltry things:

I think few worth damnation save their kings.

XLI.

« And these but as a kind of quit-rent, to Assert my right as lord; and even had

I such an inclination, 't were (as you

Well know) superfluous; they are grown so bad, That hell has nothing better left to do

Than leave them to themselves: so much more mad And evil be their own internal curse, Beaven cannot make them better, nor I worse.

XLII.

<< Look to the earth, I said, and say again:

When this old, blind, mad, helpless, weak, poor worm Began in youth's first bloom and flush to reign,

The world and he both wore a different form,
And much of earth and all the watery plain

Of ocean call'd him king: through many a storm
His isles had floated on the abyss of time;
For the rough virtues chose them for their clime.

XLIII.

<< He came to his sceptre young; he leaves it old: Look to the state in which he found his realm, And left it: and his annals, too, behold,

How to a minion first he gave the helm; How grew upon his heart a thirst for gold,

The beggar's vice, which can but overwhelm The meanest hearts; and, for the rest, but glance Thine eye along America and France!

XLIV.

«T is true, he was a tool from first to last

(I have the workmen safe); but as a tool So let him be consumed! From out the past

Of ages, since mankind have known the rule Of monarchs-from the bloody rolls amass'd

Of sin and slaughter-from the Cæsar's school, Take the worst pupil, and produce a reign More drench'd with gore, more cumber'd with the slain!

XLV.

<< He ever warr'd with freedom and the free! Nations as men, home subjects, foreign foes, So that they utter'd the word 'Liberty!'

Found George the Third their first opponent. Whose History was ever stain'd as his will be

With national and individual woes?

I grant his household abstinence; I grant

His neutral virtues, which most monarchs want;

XLVI.

<< I know he was a constant consort; own

He was a decent sire, and middling lord. All this is much, and most upon a throne; As temperance, if at Apicius' board,

Is more than at an anchorite's supper shown.

I grant him all the kindest can afford; And this was well for him, but not for those Millions who found him what oppression chose.

XLVII.

The new world shook him off; the old yet groans
Beneath what he and his prepared, if not
Completed: he leaves heirs on many thrones
To all his vices, without what begot
Compassion for kim-his tame virtues; drones

Who sleep, or despots who have now forgot A lesson which shall be re-taught them, wake Upon the throne of earth; but let them quake!

XLVIII.

<< Five millions of the primitive, who hold

The faith which makes ye great on earth, implored

A part of that vast all they held of old,— Freedom to worship-not alone your Lord, Michael, but you, and you, Saint Peter!

Cold

Must be your souls, if you have not abhorr'd The foe to Catholic participation

In all the license of a Christian nation.

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LIV.

They are proud of this-as very well they may,
It being a sort of knighthood, or gilt key
Stuck in their loins; or like to an «< entrée»

Up the back stairs, or such free-masonry:
I borrow my comparisons from clay,

Being clay myself. Let not those spirits be
Offended with such base low likenesses;
We know their posts are nobler far than these.
LV.
When the great signal ran from heaven to hell,---
About ten million times the distance reckon'd
From our sun to its earth, as we can tell

How much time it takes up, even to a second,
For every ray that travels to dispel

The fogs of London; through which, dimly beacon'd, The weathercocks are gilt, some thrice a year, If that the summer is not too severe :

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LXIII.

"Why, my dear Lucifer, would you abuse
My call for witnesses'? I did not mean
That you should half of earth and hell produce;
T is even superfluous, since two honest, clean
True testimonies are enough: we lose

Our time, nay, our eternity, between The accusation and defence: if we Hear both, 't will stretch our immortality.>>

LXIV.

Sathan replied, «To me the matter is

Indifferent, in a personal point of view: I can have fifty better souls than this

With far less trouble than we have gone through Already; and I merely argued his

Late Majesty of Britain's case with you
Upon a point of form: you may dispose
Of him; I've kings enough below, God knows!>>
LXV.

Thus spoke the demon (late call'd « multifaced»
By multo-scribbling Southey). «Then we'll call
One or two persons of the myriads placed

Around our congress, and dispense with all
The rest,» quoth Michael: « Who may be so graced

As to speak first? there's choice enough-who shill It be?» Then Sathan answer'd, « There are many; But you may chuse Jack Wilkes as well as any.»>

LXVI.

A merry, cock-eyed, curious looking sprite Upon the instant started from the throng, Dress'd in a fashion now forgotten quite;

For all the fashions of the flesh stick long By people in the next world; where unite

All the costumes since Adam's right or wrong, From Eve's fig-leaf down to the petticoat, Almost as scanty, of days less remote.

LXVII.
The spirit look'd around upon the crowds

Assembled, and exclaim'd, « My friends of all
The spheres, we shall catch cold amongst these clouds;
So let's to business: why this general call?

If those are freeholders I see in shrouds,

And 't is for an election that they bawl, Behold a candidate with unturn'd-coat! Saint Peter, may I count upon your vote?»

LXVIII.

« Sir,» replied Michael, « you mistake: these things
Are of a former life, and what we do
Above is more august; to judge of kings

Is the tribunal met; so now you know.»
Then I presume those gentlemen with wings,»

Said Wilkes, << are cherubs; and that soul below Looks much like George the Third; but to my mind A good deal older-Bless me! is he blind?>>

LXIX.

<< He is what you behold him, and his doom Depends upon his deeds,» the angel said.

«

<< If you have aught to arraign in him, the tomb Gives license to the humblest beggar's head To lift itself against the loftiest.»-«< Some,»

Said Wilkes, « don't wait to see them laid in lead, For such a liberty-and 1, for one, Have told them what I thought, beneath the sun.>>

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LXXXIX.

« But since he 's here, let's see what he has done,»> <«< Done!» cried Asmodeus, «he anticipates The very business you are now upon,

And scribbles as if head-clerk to the Fates. Who knows to what his ribaldry may run,

When such an ass as this, like Balaam's, prates!»> « Let's hear,» quoth Michael, «what he has to say; You know we're bound to that in every way!»>

XC.

Now the bard, glad to get an audience, which
By no means often was his case below,
Began to cough, and hawk, and hem, and pitch
His voice into that awful note of woe

To all unhappy hearers within reach

Of poets when the tide of rhyme 's in flow; But stuck fast with his first hexameter, Not one of all whose gouty feet would stir.

XCI.

But ere the spavin'd dacty's could be spurr'd
Into recitative, in great dismay

Both cherubim and seraphim were heard

To murmur loudly through their long array;

And Michael rose ere he could get a word

Of all his founder'd verses under way,

XCVIII.

He had sung against all battles, and again
In their high praise and glory; he had call'd
Reviewing the ungentle craft,» and then

Become as base a critic as e'er crawl'd—
Fed, paid, and pamper'd by the very men

By whom his muse and morals had been maul'd:

And cried, << For God's sake stop, my friend! 't were best-He had written much blank verse, and blanker prose, 'Non Di, non homines,—you know the rest.»>

XCII.

A general bustle spread throughout the throng,
Which seem'd to hold all verse in detestation;
The angels had of course enough of song

When upon service; and the generation

Of ghosts had heard too much in life, not long
Before, to profit by a new occasion :

The monarch, mute till then, exclaim'd « What! what!
Pye come again? No more-no more of that!»>

XCII.

The tumult grew, an universal cough

Convulsed the skies, as during a debate, When Castlereagh has been up long enough

(Before he was first minister of state,

I mean the slaves hear now), some cried « off, off,» As at a farce; till, grown quite desperate,

The bar Saint Peter pray'd to interpose (Himself an author) only for his prose.

XCIV.

The varlet was not an ill-favour'd knave;
A good deal like a vulture in the face,
With a hook nose and a hawk's eye, which gave
A smart and sharper looking sort of grace
To his whole aspect, which, though rather grave,
Was by no means so ugly as his case;
But that indeed was hopeless as can be,
(uite a poetic felony, « de se.»

XCV.

Then Michael blew his trump, and still'd the noise
With one still greater, as is yet the mode
On earth besides; except some grumbling voice,
Which now and then will make a slight inroad
Upon decorous silence, few will twice

Lift up their lungs when fairly overcrow'd; And now the bard could plead his own bad cause, With all the attitudes of self-applause.

XCVI.

He said—(I only give the heads)—he said,

He meant no harm in scribbling;'t was his way Upon all topics; 't was, besides, his bread,

Of which he butter'd both sides; 't would delay Too long the assembly (he was pleased to dread), And take up rather more time than a day, To name his works-he would but cite a fewWat Tyler-rhymes on Blenheim-Waterloo.

XCVII.

He had written praises of a regicide;

He had written praises of all kings whatever; He had written for republics, far and wide,

And then against them, bitterer than ever; For pantisocracy he once had cried

Aloud, a scheme less moral than 't was clever; Then grew a hearty anti-jacobin—

Had turn'd his coat-and would have turn'd his skin.

And more of both than any body knows.

XCIX.

He had written Wesley's life:-here, turning round
To Sathan, «Sir, I'm ready to write yours,

In two octavo volumes, nicely bound,
With notes and preface, all that most allures
The pious purchaser; and there's no ground
For fear, for I can chuse my own reviewers:
So let me have the proper documents,
That I may add you to my other saints.>>

C.

Sathan bow'd, and was silent. « Well, if you,
With amiable modesty, decline

My offer, what says Michael? There are few
Whose memoirs could be render'd more divine.

Mine is a pen of all work; not so new

As it was once, but I would make you shine Like your own trumpet; by the way, my own Has more of brass in it, and is as well blown.

CI.

<< But talking about trumpets, here's my Vision!
Now you shall judge, all people; yes, you shall
Judge with my judgment! and by my decision
Be guided who shall enter heaven or fall!

I settle all these things by intuition,

Times present, past, to come, heaven, hell, and all, Like King Alfonso! When I thus see double,

I save the deity some worlds of trouble.»>

CII.

He ceased, and drew forth an MS. ; and no
Persuasion on the part of devils, or saints,
Or angels, now could stop the torrent; so

He read the first three lines of the contents;
But at the fourth, the whole spiritual show
Had vanish'd with variety of scents,
Ambrosial and sulphureous, as they sprang,
Like lightning off from his « melodious twang.»
CIII.

Those grand heroics acted as a spell :

The angels stopp'd their ears and plied their pinious: The devils ran howling, deafen'd, down to hell;

The ghosts fled, gibbering, for their own dominions (For 't is not yet decided where they dwell,

And I leave every man to his opinions);
Michael took refuge in his trump-but lo!
His teeth were set on edge,-he could not blow!

1 See Life of H. Kirke White,

King Alfonso, speaking of the Ptolomean system, said, that had he been consulted at the creation of the world, he would have spared the Maker some absurdities.

3 See Aubrey's account of the apparition which disappeared with a curious perfume and a melodious twang; or see the Antiquary, vol. I.

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