'Robert Southey, the Younger, has placed us in editorial difficulty, for the saucy wit speaks of high persons in phrase we do not approve, and he will not permit us to suppress or alter a line. But he spares nobody, an[d] his 'Devil's Walk in Australia' has good fun and good poetry enough to cover many such sins, and we cannot therefore withhold it from our readers:- they will do us the favour to bear in mind that poeta loquitur.' - Editorial note, the Sydney Morning Herald in 13 May, 1843. (this note also appeared with the poem when it was subsequently published in the Colonial Observer and the Melbourne Times).
'The Devils' Walk in Australia' was probably inspired by the poet Robert Southey's (q.v.) 1827 version of his and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's satirical poem 'The Devil's Thoughts'.
Coleridge and Southey's 'The Devil's Thoughts' was first published in the Morning Post and Gazetteer, 6 September, 1799. Donald H. Reiman and Neil Fraistat in The Devil's Walk by Percy Bysshe Shelley : A Hypertext Edition () note that, ''The Devil's Thoughts', begun for amusement while shaving, as Southey tells in his extended version (Poetical Works of Robert Southey , III, 96), became popular through its many unauthorized reprintings under various titles over the years.'
As well as the version in 1812 by Percy Bysshe Shelley entitled 'The Devil's Walk, A Ballad', Reiman and Fraistat list Lord Byron's 1813 version 'The Devil's Drive', Robert Southey's 1827 revision entitled 'The Devil's Walk', and Coleridge's revised versions of 1829 and 1835 under the original title.
Source for the information on the Coleridge, Southey, Shelley and Byron texts: Donald H. Reiman and Neil Fraistat (eds.) The Devil's Walk by Percy Bysshe Shelley : A Hypertext Edition (), http://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/shelley/devil/index.html (sighted 20/01/2010)