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Newspaper Poetry: “Raising the Devil”

Contemporary newspapers rarely contain poetry, but this was not always so. Both well known as well as original verse were often published in local as well as national newspapers. Indeed these may have been some of the more well loved and – read aloud – parts of any issue.

An example of a reprint of better known poem at the time occurs in the recently digitized “National Defender” – published Tuesday, February 17, 1857 provides an example. Written by “Thomas Ingoldsby” – pen-name for Richard Barham, this poems, Raising the Devil was republished from the December 27th, 1841 issue of Bentley’s Miscellany:

Raising the Devil: A Legend of Albertus Magnus

“And hast thou never enough?” he said,
That gray Old Man, above whose head
Unnumbered years have rolled —
“And host thou nerve to view,” he cried,
“The incarnate Fiend that Heaven defied?
Art thou indeed so bold?

“Say, can’st thou, with unshrinking gaze,
Sustain, rash youth, the withering blaze
Of that unearthly eye,
That blasts where’er it lights — the breath
Thank, like the simon, scatters death
On all that yet can die!

“Darest thou confront that fearful form,
That rides the whirlwind and the storm
In wild unholy revel?
The terrors of that blasted brow,
Archangel’s once, though ruined now —
Ay — dar’st thou face THE DEVIL?”

“I dare!” the desperate youth replied,
And placed him by the Old Man’s side,
In fierce and frantic glee,
Unblanched his check and firm his limb;
— “No paltry juggling fiend, but HIM!
THE DEVIL! I fain would see!
In all his Gorgon terrors clad,
His worst, his fellest shape!” the Lad
Rejoined in reckless tone
“Have then thy wish!” Albertus said,
And sighed, and shook his hoary head,
With many a bitter groan.

He drew the mystic circle’s bound,
With skull and cross bones fences around!
He traced full many a sig’l there;
He muttered many a backward prayer,
That sounded like a curse —
“He comes!” he cried, with wild grimace,
The fellest of Apollyon’s race!”
Then in his startled pupil’s face
He dashed — an EMPTY PURSE?

— Thomas Ingoldsby, Esq.


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Last Modified: June 23, 2016