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  • The Tower Monster #6: Shoe Polish Devil at the Tower July 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    The Tower

    This poem appears as part of the Tower Ghost series. It appeared in an Irish paper in 1825 and was an advert for Warren’s shoe Blacking! Beach includes it because it looks very much like an outer ripple from the events of 1816. The problem is the story, which has escaped this careful reader. A sentry is walking around the tower musing on past deaths. But then an officer appears with Warren’s blacking on his shoes. After this everything gets very confusing: can anyone help, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com The Sentry tells the officer to stop and give the password. Then the sentry’s image appears in the polished boot and the officer says he sees one or two (?) imps. The sentry is perhaps the imp or the devil: he has a cloven foot. Then the sentry says that the officer is a devil and gets promoted and the ghost is exorcised. Beach is very confused. Is there the idea that both British soldier and the devil are one and the same: this was an Irish paper… Couldn’t be bothered with all the tiresome Georgian capitalisation so check the original above if in doubt. Title: The Tower Or Superstition Subdued

    Ye Towers of Julius, London’s lasting shame,
    With many a foul and midnight murder fed,
    A Sentry who the Odes of Gray had read
    The plaintive Bard, immortaliz’d by fame
    This Sentry yet to superstition prone
    Mus’d on each deed of death, the fancied moan
    Of slaughter’d victim strikes the list’ning ear,
    And now, in thought, the ghastly shades appear.
    His mind these dread ideas while possessing,
    Pondering the mode of properly addressing,
    The Airy visitants, their forms if rearing,
    An officer, his vigilance attacking,
    Appear’d in Boots illum’d by Warren’s Blacking,
    The Sentry’s image in the Jet appearing,
    Undaunted, ‘Who Goes There?’ the Sentry cried –
    ‘A Friend!’ A low sepulcharal voice replied.
    ‘Not so, if right, I guess no friend of mine,
    Advance, one only, give the countersign!’
    The Sentry’s image in the Jet’s fine hue
    Now shone, a tiny imp’s dark form to view!
    ‘One!’ Cried the officer ‘Pray where’s the other?’
    ‘Close by your cloven foot, I spy another’
    The sentry said, ‘So courteous Mr Devil
    With all your candying tongue and manners civil,
    For once your subtlety with mach is fitted
    A British soldier has your art outwitted.’
    His strange belief and dauntless courage noted,
    The Sentry late now Sergeant stands promoted;
    The Tower now no glaring ghost attacking
    Exorcise’d All by Warren’s splendid Blacking!

    20 July 2015. Chris from Haunted Ohio Books writes in ‘Perhaps I’m oversimplifying it, but it seems a fairly straightforward case of “out pops the cloven hoof.” The Devil is always discovered in the folktales by his hooves, which are seen under the card table or on the dance floor, even though he is otherwise dressed as a gentleman. In this case the one to spot the hooves on the Father of Lies is a brave British soldier, rewarded by a promotion. (Everyone knows you can’t trust officers—they all buy their commisisons.) My problem with this is that it seems to be the officer who sees the imp and the cloven foot. Am I missing something? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    Chris comes back to me: Inadequate/mis-type-set punctuation? I read it as ‘Close by your cloven foot, I spy another’ 
    The sentry said,… The sentry sees himself in both boots, interpreting them as”two imps,” claiming devilish arts for the appearances.