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Peter Bell the Third


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A satirical poem by P. B. Shelley published 1839.

It is a demonic parody of Wordsworth's poem Peter Bell. Shelley uses inventive doggerel, outrageous rhymes, and effervescent social satire to mock Wordsworth's ‘defection’ from the radical cause. He follows Peter's progress through a black, comic underworld, described in seven sections: ‘Death’, ‘The Devil’, ‘Hell’, ‘Sin’, ‘Grace’, ‘Damnation’, and ‘Double Damnation’. Part III begins with the celebrated, ‘Hell is a city much like London’; while Part V draws a surprisingly sympathetic cartoon of Peter the poet, who remembered ‘Many a ditch and quick‐set fence; | Of Lakes he had intelligence’.

Subjects: Literature.


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