Health to immortal Jeffrey! once, in name,
England could boast a judge almost the same;
In soul so like, so merciful, yet just,440
Some think that Satan has resigned his trust,
And given the Spirit to the world again,
To sentence Letters, as he sentenced men.
With hand less mighty, but with heart as black,
- [Lines 439-527 are not in the MS. The first draft of the passage on Jeffrey, which appears to have found a place in British Bards and to have been afterwards cut out, runs as follows:—
"Who has not heard in this enlightened age,
When all can criticise the historic page,
Who has not heard in James's Bigot Reign
Of Jefferies! monarch of the scourge, and chain,
Jefferies the wretch whose pestilential breath,
Like the dread Simoom, winged the shaft of Death;
The old, the young to Fate remorseless gave
Nor spared one victim from the common grave?
"Such was the Judge of James's iron time,
When Law was Murder, Mercy was a crime,
Till from his throne by weary millions hurled
The Despot roamed in Exile through the world.
"Years have rolled on;—in all the lists of Shame,
Who now can parallel a Jefferies' name?
With hand less mighty, but with heart as black
With voice as willing to decree the Rack,
With tongue envenomed, with intentions foul
The same in name and character and soul."
The first four lines of the above, which have been erased, are to be found on p. 16 of British Bards. Pages 17, 18, are wanting, and quarto proofs of lines 438-527 have been inserted. Lines 528-539 appear for the first time in the Fifth Edition.]