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X. He saw a Turnkey in a trice
Fetter* a troublesome blade; “Nimbly," quoth he,“ do the fingers move
If a man be but used to his trade.”
He saw the same Turnkey unfetter a man
With but little expedition,
On the Slave-trade abolition.
He saw an old acquaintance
As he pass’d by a Methodist meeting ;She holds a consecrated key, I
And the Devil nods her a greeting.
“ Avaunt ! my name's Religion,” And she look'd to Mr.- -||
And leer'd like a love-sick pigeon.
* Handcuff--1799. of And he laugh'd, for he thought of the long debates—ib. He met an old acquaintance
Just by the Methodist meeting ; She held a consecrated flag, &c.—ib. § She tipp'd him the wink, then frown's and cried,-ib. || And turn'd to Mr.W-,-ib. (Wilberforce presumably.] XIV. He saw a certain minister
(A minister to his mind) Go up
into a certain House, With a majority behind.
Like a very learned clerk,
Went up into the Ark.”
He took from the
poor, And he gave to the rich, And he shook hands with a Scotchman,
For he was not afraid of the
General- -'s burning face
He saw with consternation,
It was General Conflagration.*
* If any one should ask who General- meant, the Author begs leave to inform him, that he did once see a red-faced person in a dream whom by the dress he took for a General ; but he might have been mistaken, and most certainly he did not hear any names mentioned. In simple verity, the Author never meant any one, or indeed any thing but to put a concluding stanza to his doggerel.
THE TWO ROUND SPACES ON
THE Devil believes that the Lord will come,
Stealing a march without beat of drum, About the same time that he came last On an old Christmas-day in a snowy blast: Till he bids the trump sound neither body nor
soul stirs For the dead men's heads have slipt under their
Ho ! ho ! brother Bard, in our churchyard †
* This jeu d'esprit originally appeared in The Morning Post, December 4, 1800, under the title of “ The Two Round Spaces, a Skeltoniad." Two different versions of it were resuscitated in Fraser's Magazine, February and May, 1833, a circumstance to which we probably owe its inclusion in the edition of 1834, prefaced by the following note:
“This is the first time the author ever published these lines. He would have been glad had they perished; but they have now been printed repeatedly in magazines, and he is told that the verses will not perish. Here, therefore, they are owned, with the hope that they will be taken, as assuredly they were composed, in mere sport.”
+ The “brother bard” addressed was presumably Wordsworth, and the “churchyard " that of Grasmere. It was the sight of Mr. (afterwards Sir James) Mackintosh in that churchyard that is said to have suggested the lines.-ED.
Save one alone, and that's of stone,
And under it lies a Counsellor keen. 'Twould be a square tomb, if it were not too long, And 'tis fenced round with irons sharp, spearlike
and strong. *
This fellow from Aberdeen hither did skip
This Counsellor sweet,
On the sixth of January,
Brother Bard, ho! ho ! believe it, or no,
Two round spaces void of snow. †
In the house of privity
* This tomb would be square, if it were not too long ; And 'tis rail'd round with iron, tall, spear-like, and strong.
1800. + Clear of snow.-10. * In the large house of privity-16.
On those two places void of snow
The Devil and his Grannam,
With a snow-blast to fan 'em ;f Expecting and hoping the trumpet to blow; For they are cock-sure of the fellow below!
ILLUSTRATED IN THE STORY OF THE MAD ox. I
And work'd with yoke and chain,
At once with Sun and rain.
The grass was fine, the Sun was bright:
With truth I may aver it;
* On these two spaces clear of snow—1800. t With the snow-drift to fan 'em-Ib.
I Printed in the The Morning Post, July 30, 1798. Reprinted in the second volume of The Annual Anthology and in Sibylline Leaves.
§ Was loosen'd-1798.