A poem by Wordsworth, published with a dedication to Southey 1819.
Peter Bell is a potter, a lawless, roving man, insensible to the beauty of nature. Coming to the edge of the Swale he sees a solitary ass and hopes to steal it. The ass is gazing into the water at some object, which turns out to be the dead body of its owner. After a series of supernatural events Peter mounts the ass, which eventually leads him to the cottage of the drowned man's widow. Peter's spiritual and supernatural experiences on this ride make him a reformed man. The ludicrous nature of part of the poem made it the subject of many parodies, including Shelley's Peter Bell The Third.
Related content in Oxford Index
William Wordsworth (1770—1850) poet