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She laughed the while, with an arch smile,
And kissed him with a sister's kiss,
Tempt not again my deepest bliss.
“'Tis you are cold-for I, not coy,
Yield love for love, frank, warm and true;
More, learned friend, than you.
“ Bocca basciata non perde ventura ;
Anzi rinnuova come fa la luna: [cure a So thought Boccaccio, whose sweet words might Male prude, like you, from what you now endure, a
Low-tide in soul, like a stagnant laguna."
Then Peter rubbed his eyes severe,
And smoothed his spacious forehead down, With his broad palm ;-—'twixt love and fear, He looked, as he no doubt felt, queer,
And in his dream sat down.
The Devil was no uncommon creature ;
A leaden-witted thief-just huddled Out of the dross and scum of nature; A toad-like lump of limb and feature,
With mind, and heart, and fancy muddled.
He was that heavy, dull, cold thing,
The spirit of evil well may be:
And calls lust, luxury.
Now he was quite the kind of wight
Round whom collect, at a fixed æra, Venison, turtle, hock, and claret,Good cheer-and those who come to share it
And best East Indian madeira !
It was his fancy to invite
Men of science, wit, and learning,
Had set those spirits burning.
And men of learning, science, wit,
Considered him as you and I Think of some rotten tree, and sit Lounging and dining under it,
Exposed to the wide sky.
And all the while, with loose fat smile,
The willing wretch sat winking there, Believing 'twas his power that made That jovial scene—and that all paid
Homage to his unnoticed chair :
Though to be sure this place was Hell ;
He was the Devil-and all theyWhat though the claret circled well, And wit, like ocean, rose and fell ?-
Were damned eternally.
PART THE FIFTH.
AMONG the guests who often staid
Till the Devil's petits-soupers, A man there came, fair as a maid, And Peter noted what he said,
Standing behind his master's chair.
He was a mighty poet-and
A subtle-souled psychologist ;
But his own mind-which was a mist.
This was a man who might have turned
Hell into Heaven—and so in gladness A Heaven unto himself have earned ; But he in shadows undiscerned
Trusted,—and damned himself to madnes3. He spoke of poetry, and how
“ Divine it was—a light- loveA spirit which like wind doth blow As it listeth, to and fro;
A dew rained down from God above;
“ A power which comes and goes like dream,
And which none can ever trace Heaven's light on earth-Truth's brightest beam." And when he ceased there lay the gleam
Of those words upon his face.
Now Peter, when he heard such talk,
Would, heedless of a broken pate, Stand like a man asleep, or balk Some wishing guest of knife or fork,
Or drop and break his master's plate.
At night he oft would start and wake
Like a lover, and began
And on the heart of man,
And on the universal sky
And the wide earth's bosom green,
And yet remain unseen.
For in his thought he visited
The spots in which, ere dead and damned, He his wayward life had led; Yet knew not whence the thoughts were fed,
Which thus his fancy crammed.
And these obscure remembrances
Stirred such harmony in Peter, That whensoever he should please, He could speak of rocks and trees
In poetic metre.
For though it was without a sense
Of memory, yet he remembered well
He knew something of heath, and fell.
He had also dim recollections
Of pedlers tramping on their rounds ; Milk-pans and pails ; and odd collections Of saws, and proverbs ; and reflections
Old parsons make in burying-grounds.
But Peter's verse was clear, and came
Announcing from the frozen hearth Of a cold age, that none might tame The soul of that diviner flame
It augured to the Earth ;