BETA

The Devil’s Last Walk.

I.

It wasn’t his dinner, or supper, or tea ;1
What it was, not an imp could tell :2
But something or other, ’ twas easy to see,3
Had dared with his stomach to disagree,4
And the case was as plain as case could be,5
The Devil was far from well !6

II.

He hadn’t a mite of appetite,7
Which was strange in one so craving :8
He had pains, he said, in his hoofs and his head,9
And he cut himself in shaving !10

III.

Not a thing went right in the Devil’s sight,11
Not a soul could please or profit :12
And his valet look’d blue, and his butler look’d white,13
And his running footman swore outright,14
That, since he was born, such a stormy morn15
Had never been known in Tophet !16
The elderly gentle-
man in natural
mourning, troubled
with an indisposition.
He complaineth of a
sensation of all-
overishness,
and evinceth symp-
toms of a catholic
dissatisfaction.

IV.

But at last there came an imp of fame,17
And vast repute for knowledge :18
He had floor’d them all at Surgeons’ Hall,19
And eke at Physicians’ College.20

V.

And he felt his pulse, and he eyed his tongue,21
And he look’d exceeding wise,22
And he order’d a draught to be forthwith quaff’d,23
And he gave it out that, beyond a doubt,24
It was want of exercise !25

VI.

Says the Devil, “ O ho ! do you think ’ tis so ?26
Then I’m glad you’ve given me warning !27
My hat here, quick ! and my gold-headed stick,28
And the ’ Tosh that I bought to’ther day upon tick ;29
By my grandmother’s ghost there’s no time to be lost !30
I’ll be off this blessed morning !31

VII.

But hold,” quoth the Devil, “ I’ve yet to choose32
In what form to take my journey33
And which way to steer—and who to leave here,34
In my absence to watch o’er my children dear,35
With a power of attorney ! ”36

VIII.

So into a study, the Devil, he fell37
For a minute, or two, or three,38
But what he resolved not an imp could tell,39
For never a word spake he,40
Not even to name what kinsman in Hell41
Should act as his deputy.42

IX.

But he winked his eye, and he nodded his head,43
So that all, who knew him not well, would have said44
That nothing with him could have gone ill,—45
And with arms stuck a-kimbo, he started from Limbo,46
In the likeness of Dan O’Connell.47

X.

But first in his pockets were carefully stow’d48
A trifle or two, to amuse on the road49
His majesty infernal ; —50
The last Poor-Law Acts, all in pauper-skin bound51
And a table that show’d how the Pope gained ground52
And a gin bottle stout, and the number last out53
Of Alderman Harmer’s Journal !54

XI.

And being much pleased with the style of the last,55
O’er hill and o’er vale in deep study he past,56
Till his legs ’ gan wax a-weary :57
So he stopp’d on a sudden, and raising his eyes,58
He found he had got, to his great surprise,59
In the heart of Tipperary !60
There arriveth op-
portunely ane very
renowned mediciner,
who delivereth his
opinion touching the
cause of the elderly
gentleman’s ailment.
The elderly gentle-
man manifesteth ex-
treme eagerness to be
restored to health.
The elderly gentleman
propoundeth to him-
self many nice and
important questions,
and revolveth the
same silently in his
mind,
apparently much to
his own contentment.
The elderly gentle-
man indueth his
travelling dress.
omitting not to lay
in good store both
for mind and body.
Whereby he marvel-
lously beguileth the
length of his journey.

XII.

Just then pass’d a Protestant, homeward bound,61
And he wish’d him a pleasant ride ;62
But half an hour after his corpse he found,63
With a fractured skull, and a bullet wound,64
And a dagger in his side65
And he marked the murderer prowling round66
To make sure that his victim died !67

XIII.

He saw the same miscreant, that same night,68
Set fire to a poor man’s dwelling,69
And gloat o’er the fierce flames’ crimson light,70
And the inmates’ frantic yelling !71

XIV.

Then the Devil him took to a shady nook,72
Apart from observation :73
And ask’d him quietly, with a look74
Of virtuous indignation,75
What on earth he meant by being so bent76
On murder and conflagration ? ”77
Quoth the fellow, “ Oh, ho ! here’s a precious go,78
When there’s none so well as yourself can know,79
That it ’ s ‘ peaceable agitation ! ’”80

XV.

Great thanks,” quoth the Devil— “ who lives, they say81
To learn, can never miss ;82
I did myself, in my earlier day,83
Somewhat in the agitating way,84
But I never did aught like this.”85

XVI.

So he told him he oughtn’t to do so again,86
And he gave him a sword and pistol ;87
And, posting away to the seaside then,88
He steam’d across to Bristol.89

XVII.

****

XVIII.

So he turn’d him into Downing Street,90
And found it quite reviving.91
By my faith,” quoth the Devil, “ ‘tis marvellous sweet92
To view one’s children thriving.93

XIX.

By the way,” added he, “ there’s a man I must see94
Hangs out not many a yard hence ; ”95
So he stroll’d to a certain Baronet’s96
Who lived in Privy Gardens.97

XX.

And he left his card, for he couldn’t do less,98
Just to make him some slight amends ;99
Tis no more than fair, when he ’ s taken such care100
Not to incommode my friends.”101
The elderly gentle-
man becomes witness
to the untimely ex-
tinction of a fellow-
traveller,
and the sudden de-
struction of a tene-
ment and its con-
tents.
Whereat he manifest-
eth much becoming
displeasure, maketh
some pertinent en-
quiries, and receiveth
an explanation highly
satisfactory.
He proceedeth
thereupon to moralize
upon the advantages
of experience.
Imparteth some vir-
tuous counsel, maketh
a present, and render-
eth himself scarce.
The elderly gentleman
arriveth in the metro-
polis, and becometh
fatigued by visiting
his numerous friends.
The elderly gentle-
man lighteth upon an
agreeable restorative.
Remembereth him-
self of an obiigation,
and dischargeth it
accordingly.

XXI.

Then he lounged along the Strand,102
Just to see what he might meet ;103
And he chanced on a certain Coroner104
Coming up from Essex Street.105

XXII.

And he gave him a nod, and a knowing wink,106
And Brother, how do?” quoth he,107
It’s not so long since you put, I think,108
Your foot in the fire, like me ? ”109

XXIII.

To St James’s he went, with a loyal intent,110
To visit a lady fair ;111
But with jeer and with flout they kick’d him out,112
For he had no business there !113

XXIV.

And he twitch’d his tail, as he stalk’d away,114
With indignation glowing : —115
As to business there,” quoth Old Nick, “ I’ll swear,116
I’d as much as Robert Owen ! ”117

****

XXVII.

He squeezed in to see the new ballet,118
In the midst of a terrible crush ;119
But out again he was forced to sally,120
For it made the Devil blush :121
Tho’ the ladies, who stay’d, wife, widow, and maid,122
Didn’t seem to care one rush.123

****

XXIX.

He saw a nobleman fined one pound,124
Because he had, after dark,125
Twisted off five knockers, and fifteen bells,126
For an aristocratic “ lark : ”127
And a poor man, for the selfsame crime,128
As a bright example fix’d on,129
And doom’d, instanter, to spend his time130
For the next three months at Brixton !131
And, with hands upraised, and heart elate,132
He bless’d the sitting magistrate !133

XXX.

By chance he met with ———,134
And it tickled him to the core :135
For he could not teach him a single vice136
That he hadn’t got before.137

XXXI.

And the Devil turn’d to hide the mirth138
That long’d to overflow : —139
Two of us at once are too much upon earth,140
So I shall go back below.”141
The elderly gentle-
man encountereth a
Ghoul, who deriveth
his subsistence from
dead bodies,
and expresseth to-
wards him his sym-
pathy.
The elderly gentle-
man, proceeding to act
with the best possible
intentions, experien-
ceth an unexpected
rebuff,
whereby he consider-
ed himself much ag-
grieved.
The elderly gentle-
man attendeth a fa-
shionable exhibition.
Examineth, with
much satisfaction,
into the administra-
tion of justice.
Encountereth ane
very promising
disciple,
and retireth into the
bosom of his domestic
circle.