Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DEVIL'S WALK [ON EARTH], by SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE



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THE DEVIL'S WALK [ON EARTH], by             Poet's Biography
First Line: From his brimstone bed at break of day
Last Line: It was general conflagration.
Variant Title(s): The Devil's Thoughts
Subject(s): Devil; Satan; Mephistopheles; Lucifer; Beelzebub


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

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

And how then was the Devil dressed?
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 dunghill hard by his own stable;
And the Devil smiled, for it put him in mind
Of Cain and his brother, Abel.

He saw an Apothecary on a white horse
Ride 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 peeped into a rich bookseller's shop,
Quoth he! we are both of one college,
For I sate myself like a cormorant once
Hard by the tree of knowledge.

Down the river did glide, with wind and tide,
A pig, with vast celerity,
And the Devil looked 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 -- --'s 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.





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