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The spirits were in neutral space, before
The gate of heaven; like eastern thresholds is
The archangel bow'd, not like a modern beau,
But kindly; Sathan met his ancient friend
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
"Michael!" replied the prince of air, "even here,
To thee and thine, because nor wine nor lust
"Look to our earth, or rather mine; it was
"And these but as a kind of quit-rent, to
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, Heaven cannot make them better, nor I worse.
"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.
"He came to his sceptre, young; he leaves it, old:
grew upon his heart a thirst for gold,
"T is true, he was a tool from first to last
Of ages, since mankind have known the rule
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 slam 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
"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 accord ; And this was well for him, but not for those Millions who found him what oppression chose.
The new world shook him off; the old yet groans
"Five millions of the primitive, who hold
Must be your souls, if you have not abhorr'd
In all the license of a Christian nation.
This was a signal unto such damn'd souls
Of worlds past, present, or to come; no station Is theirs particularly in the rolls
Of hell assign'd; but where their inclination Or business carries them in search of game, They may range freely-being damn'd the same. LIV.
They are proud of this-as very well they may,
Being clay myself. Let not those spirits be
When the great signal ran from heaven to hell,-
How much time it takes up, even to a second,
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 :
I say that I can tell-'t was half a minute;
'Gainst Sathan's couriers bound for their own clime The sun takes up some years for every ray To reach its goal-the devil not half a day. LVII.
Upon the verge of space, about the size
Of half-a-crown, a little speck appear'd (I've seen a something like it in the skies In the Ægean, ere a squall); it near'd, And, growing bigger, took another guise;
Like an aerial ship it tack'd, and steer'd
But take your choice); and then it grew a cloud,
But such a cloud! No land e'er saw a crowd
Here crash'd a sturdy oath of stout John Bull,
In certain terms I sha'nt translate in full,
As the first coachman will; and 'midst the w The voice of Jonathan was heard to express, "Our President is going to war, I guess."
Besides there were the Spaniard, Dutch, and [
Of all climes and professions, years and trade. Ready to swear against the good king's reign,
Bitter as clubs in cards are against spades:
When Michael saw this host, he first grew pale,
Or distant lightning on the horizon by night,
Then he address'd himself to Sathan: "Why-
Trust that, whatever may occur below,
"Why, my dear Lucifer, would you abuse
Our time, nay, our eternity, between
Sathan replied, "To me the matter is
With far less trouble than we have gone through
Late Majesty of Britain's case with you
Thus spoke the demon (late call'd "multi-faced"
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 shall It be?" Then Sathan answer'd, "There are many; But you may choose Jack Wilkes as well as any."
A merry, cock-eyed, curious looking sprite
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.
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?"
"Above the sun repeat, then, what thou hast
To urge against him," said the archangel. "Why,"
With all his Lords and Commons: in the sky
"Foolish, no doubt, and wicked, to oppress
"Wilkes," said the devil, "I understand all this;
Reign is concluded; whatsoe'er betide,
"However, I knew what to think of it,
His pupil; I knew what to think, I say:
"Call Junius!" From the crowd a shadow stalk'd, And at the name there was a general squeeze,
So that the very ghosts no longer walk'd
But were all ramm'd, and jamm'd (but to be balk',
"Sir," replied Michael," you mistake: these things The shadow came! a tall, thin, gray-hair'd figure,
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?"
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 I, for one,
Have told them what I thought beneath the sun."
That look'd as it had been a shade on earth;
The more intently the ghosts gazed, the less
Could they distinguish whose the features were; The devil himself seem'd puzzled even to guess; They varied like a dream-now here, now there, And several people swore from out the press,
They knew him perfectly; and one could swear He was his father; upon which another Was sure he was his mother's cousin's brother:
Another, that he was a duke, or knight,
The moment that you had pronounced him one,
Have known, he shifted so from one to t' other,
For sometimes he like Cerberus would seem"Three gentlemen at once (as sagely says Good Mrs. Malaprop); then you might deem
That he was not even one; now many rays Were flashing round him; and now a thick steam Hid him from sight-like fogs on London days: Now Burke, now Tooke, he grew to people's fancies, And certes often like Sir Philip Francis.
I've an hypothesis-'t is quite my own;
I don't see wherefore letters should not be
For certain sure to claim them as his due, Their author, like the Niger's mouth, will bother The world to say if there be mouth or author.
And who and what art thou?" the archangel said. "For that, you may consult my title-page," Replied this mighty shadow of a shade:
"If I have kept my secret half an age,
I scarce shall tell it now."-" Canst thou upbraid,”
"My charges upon record will outlast
The brass of both his epitaph and tomb." "Repent'st thou not," said Michael, "of some past Exaggeration? something which may doom Thyself if false, as him if true? Thou wast Too bitter-is it not so? in thy gloom
Of passion?" "Passion!" cried the phantom dim, "I loved my country, and I hated him.
At length, with jostling, elbowing, and the aid
The devil Asmodeus to the circle made
His way, and look'd as if his journey cost Some trouble. When his burden down he laid, "What's this?" cried Michael; "why, 'tis not a ghost!"
"I know it," quoth the incubus; "but he Shall be one, if you leave the affair to me. LXXXVI.
"Confound the renegado! I have sprain'd
My left wing, he's so heavy; one would think
"The former is the devil's scripture, and
I snatch'd him up just as you see him there,
say that his wife is still at tea."
Here Sathan said, "I know this man of old,
Or more conceited in his petty sphere:
Such trash below your wing, Asmodeus dear! We had the poor wretch safe (without being bored With carriage) coming of his own accord.
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!"
But ere the spavin'd dactyls could be spurr'd
To murmur loudly through their long array;
He had sung against all battles, and again
By whom his muse and morals had been maul'd:
And cried, "For God's sake stop, my friend! 't were He had written much blank verse, and blanker prose best
Non di, non homines,' you know the rest."
A general bustle spread throughout the throng,
When upon service; and the generation
The monarch, mute till then, exclaim'd "What! what!
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,”
The varlet was not an ill-favour'd knave;
Then Michael blew his trump, and still'd the noise
Lift up their lungs when fairly overcrow'd;
He said (I only give the heads)-he said,
Of which he butter'd both sides; 't would delay,
He had written praises of a regicide;
He had written praises of all kings whatever;
Aloud, a scheme less moral than 't was clever;
Had turn'd his coat-and would have turn'd his skin.
And more of both than any body knows.