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only does not require for its exercise the intervention of supernatural agency, but that, though such agency Je excluded, the faculty may be called forth as imperiously, and for kindred results of pleasure, by incidents, within the compass of poetic probability, in the humblest departments of daily life. Since that Prologue was written, you have exhibited most splendid effects of judicious daring, in the opposite and usual course. Let this acknowledgment make my peace with the lovers of the supernatural; and I am persuaded it will be admitted, that to you, as a Master in that province of the art, the following Tale, whether from contrast or congruity, is not an unappropriate offering. Accept it, then, as a public testimony of affectionate admiration from one with whose name yours has been often coupled (to use your own words) for evil and for good; and believe me to be, with earnest wishes that life and health may be granted you to complete the many important works in which you are engaged, and with High respect,
Most faithfully yours,
Within the breast of Peter Bell
These silent raptures found no place;
Of all that lead a lawless life,
Of all that love their lawless lives,
In city or in village small,
He was the wildest far of all
Nay, start not! - wedded wives - and twelve!
Though Nature could not touch his heart
A savage wildness round him hung
As of a dweller out of doors;
Of mountains and of dreary moors.
To all the unshaped half-human thoughts
Which solitary Nature feeds
'Mid summer storms or winter's ice,
His face was keen as is the wind
He had a dark and sidelong walk, And long and slouching was his gait; Beneath his looks so bare and bold, You might perceive, his spirit cold Was playing with some inward bait.
His forehead wrinkled was and furred; A work, one half of which was done By thinking of his whens and hows; And half, by knitting of his brows Beneath the glaring sun.
There was a hardness in his cheek,
The Swale flowed under the gray rocks,
And is there no one dwelling here,
No hermit with his beads and glass?
Across the deep and quiet spot
"A prize," cried Peter, stepping back
There's nothing to be seen but woods, And rocks that spread a hoary gleam, And this one beast that from the bed Of the green meadow hangs his head Over the silent stream.
His head is with a halter bound;
Upon the Creature's back, and plied
"What's this!" cried Peter, brandishing
Then Peter gave a sudden jerk,
Quoth Peter, leaping from his seat,
All, all is silent-rocks and woods,
Thought Peter, What can mean all this?—
Upon the pivot of his skull
Suspicion ripened into dread;
What followed?-yielding to the shock,
In quiet uncomplaining mood,
Upon the spot where he had stood,
And then upon his side he fell,