Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(1772-1834 / Devon / England)

The Devil's Thoughts


From his brimstone bed at break of day
A walking the DEVIL is gone,
To visit his little snug farm of the earth
And see how his stock went on.

Over the hill and over the dale,
And he went over the plain,
And backward and forward he swished his long tail
As a gentleman swishes his cane.

And how then was the Devil drest?
Oh! he was in his Sunday's best:
His jacket was red and his breeches were blue,
And there was a hole where the tail came through.

He saw a LAWYER killing a Viper
On a dung heap beside his stable,
And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind
Of Cain and _his_ brother, Abel.

A POTHECARY on a white horse
Rode by on his vocations,
And the Devil thought of his old Friend
DEATH in the Revelations.

He saw a cottage with a double coach-house,
A cottage of gentility!
And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin
Is pride that apes humility.

He went into a rich bookseller's shop,
Quoth he! we are both of one college,
For I myself sate like a cormorant once
Fast by the tree of knowledge.

Down the river there plied, with wind and tide,
A pig with vast celerity;
And the Devil look'd wise as he saw how the while,
It cut its own throat. 'There!' quoth he with a smile,
'Goes 'England's commercial prosperity.''

As he went through Cold-Bath Fields he saw
A solitary cell;
And the Devil was pleased, for it gave him a hint
For improving his prisons in Hell.

* * * * * *

General ----------- burning face
He saw with consternation,
And back to hell his way did he take,
For the Devil thought by a slight mistake
It was general conflagration.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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