The Devil's Walk
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
edited by Donald H. Reiman and Neil Fraistat
|01||The Devil went out a walking one day,|
|02||Being tired of staying in Hell|
|03||He dressed himself in his Sunday array|
|04||And the reason that he was drest so gay|
|05||Was to cunningly pry, whether under the sky|
|06||The affairs of earth went well|
|07||He poked his hot nose into corners so small|
|08||One wd. think that the innocents there|
|09||Poor creatures were just doing nothing at all|
|10||But settling some dress or arranging some ball|
|11||The Devil saw deeper there|
|12||He peeped in each hole, to each chamber stole|
|13||His promising live-stock to view|
|14||Grinning applause, he just shews his claws|
|15||And Satan laughed in the mirth of his soul|
|16||That they started with fright, from his ugly sight|
|17||Whose works they delighted to do|
|18||A Parson with whom in the house of prayer|
|19||The devil sate side by side|
|20||Bawled out that if the devil were|
|21||His presence he couldnt abide, trick|
|22||Ha ha thought old Nick, thats a very stale|
|23||For without the Devil, ô favorite of evil ^|
|24||In thy carriage thou wouldst not ride|
|25||He saw the Devil a viper slay|
|26||Under his brief-covered table|
|27||It reminded the Devil marvellously|
|28||Of the story of Cain and Abel|
|29||Satan next saw a Brainless King|
|30||In a house as hot as his own|
|31||Many imps he saw near there on the wi[ng]|
|32||They flapped the black pennon and twiste[d]|
|33||Close to the very throne|
|34||Ah! Ah cried Satan the pasture is go[od]|
|35||My cattle will here thrive better than oth[ers]|
|36||They will have for their food, news of|
|37||They will drink the groans of the dying|
|38||And supperless never will go to bed|
|39||Wch. will make 'em as fat as their|
|40||The Devil was walking in the Park|
|41||Dressed like a bond Street beau|
|43||And his mouth was wide his chin came|
|44||And something like Castlereagh was his|
|45||He might be calld so, so . .|
|46||Why does the Devil grin so wide|
|47||& shew the hore teeth within|
|48||Nine and ninety on each side|
|49||By the clearest reckoning _|
Some Information About This Page
The Devil's Walk exists in both a broadside and a letter version. See the editors' headnote as well as the sections entitled Other Romantic Devils, Historical Contexts, Printing and Attempts to Circulate "The Devil's Walk", Textual Transmission, and Copy-text for a fuller description of its history and significance.
This is a literal transcription of the text in the British Library Add. MS. 37,496, f.80 verso, except that letters partially worn away by damage to, or repair of, the paper have been included as if whole and the line-indentations that Shelley seems to have intended have been accentuated.
Line numbers lead to variants within that line. When a line number is italicized, there is a variation between this text and the copy-text. Clicking on a highlighted number will take you directly to its linked variant. This variant will appear in the bottom frame at the very top of a page that will also contain variants for subsequent lines.
Links to more local editors' notes are highlighted in the text. Clicking on a highlighted portion of the text will take you directly to its linked annotation. This annotation will appear in the frame to the right at the very top of a page that will also contain annotations to subsequent lines.
If you wish, you can browse the variants and the annotations independently:
- primary variants from our critically edited text as collated against the copy of the 1812 broadside in the Public Record Office (1812.PRO).
- broadside variants from our critically edited text as collated against all witnesses (i.e., the primary witness and 1871, 1876, 1892, 1927, 1970, 1972, and 1989).
- letter variants from our diplomatic text as collated against all witnesses (i.e., Wise, 1927/i, 1927/viii, 1964J, 1972, and 1989).
- annotations by the editors:
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