Slike strani
[blocks in formation]


[Filling his glass, and standing up. The glorious constitution of the Pigs!

[blocks in formation]


I hear a cracking of the guat bone
Of the dread image, and in the bunck 767s
Which once were eyes, I see twe Doi filmes :
These prodigies are cracular, and show
The presence of the unseen. Derry,
Mighty events are hasteang a their daat. 2

Taking up the bag,

Your Majesty 20 SWALLFOOD
In such a filthy business had better
Stand on one side, lest it should sprinkle you.


A toast! a toast! stand up, and three times three! A spot or two on me would do no harm ;


Nay, it might hide the biood, which the sad genius

No heel-taps darken day-lights!

Then hail to thee, hail to thee, Famine !
Hail to thee, Empress of Earth!
When thou risest, dividing possessions;
When thou risest, uprooting oppressions ;

In the pride of thy ghastly mirth.
Over palaces, temples, and graves,
We will rush as thy minister-slaves,
Trampling behind in thy train,
Till all be made level again!

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


I have rehearsed the entire seine
With an ox-bidder and some dich-water,
On Lady P.-it cannot fail.

Of the Green Isle has fixed, as by a spell,
Upon my brow-which would stain all its seas
But which those seas could never wash away!


My Lord, I am ready-nay I am impatient,
To undergo the test.

[A praceful foure in a semi-transparvni real pasos unnotic d through the Temple, the word Lissary is seen through the veil, as (it were written in ̧Òrg upon its forehead. Its words are almost dronomed en the furious grunting of the Pigs, and the hustruss of the trial. She kneels on the steps of the Alter, and speaks in tones at first faint and lewe, dut whic ever become souder and louder.

Mighty Empress! Death's white wife!
Ghastly mother-in-law of life!

By the God who made thee such,
By the magic of thy touch,

By the starving and the cramming,

of fasts and feasts-by thy dread self, O Famine!
I charge thee! when thou wake the multitude,
Thou lead them not upon the paths of blood.
The earth did never mean her foizon
For those who crown life's cup with poison
Of fanatic rage and meaningless revenge-

But for those radiant spirits, who are still
The standard-bearers in the van of Change.

Be they th' appointed stewards, to fill
The lap of Pain, and toil, and Age !—
Remit, O Queen ! thy accustom'd rage!
Be what thou art not! In voice faint and low
FREEDOM calls Famine,-her eternal foe,
To brief alliance, hollow truce.-Rise now!

[Whilst the veiled Figure has been chaunting this strophe, MAMMON, DAKRY, LAOCTONOS, and SWELL

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



FOOT, have surrounded IoNA TAURINA, who, with her hands folded on her breast, and her eyes lifted to Heaven, stands, as with saint-like resignation, to wait the issue of the business, in perfect confidence of her innocence.

PURGANAX, after unsealing the GREEN BAG, is gravely about to pour the liquor upon her head, when suddenly the whole expression of her figure and countenance changes; she snatches it from his hand with a loud laugh of triumph, and empties it over SWELLFOOT and his whole Court, who are instantly changed into a number of filthy and ugly animals, and rush out of the Temple. The image of FAMINE then arises with a tremendous sound, the Pigs begin scrambling for the loaves, and are tripped up by the sculls; all those who eat the loaves are turned into Bulls, and arrange themselves quietly behind the altar. The image of FAMINE sinks through a chasm in the earth, and a MINOTAUR rises.


I am the Ionian Minotaur, the mightiest

Of all Europa's taurine progeny-
I am the old traditional man bull;
And from my ancestors having been Ionian,
I am called Ion, which, by interpretation,
Is JOHN ; in plain Theban, that is to say,
My name's JOHN BULL; I am a famous hunter,
And can leap any gate in all Boeotia,
Even the palings of the royal park,

Or double ditch about the new inclosures;
And if your Majesty will deign to mount me,
At least till you have hunted down your game,
I will not throw you.


[During this speech she has been putting on boots and spurs, and a hunting-cap, buckishly cocked on one side, and tucking up her hair, she leaps nimbly on his back.

Hoa hoa! tallyho! tallyho! ho! ho!
Come, let us hunt these ugly badgers down,
These stinking foxes, these devouring otters,
These hares, these wolves, these any thing but men.
Hey, for a whipper-in! my loyal pigs,
Now let your noses be as keen as beagles',
Your steps as swift as greyhounds', and your cries
More dulcet and symphonious than the bells
Of village-towers, on sunshine holiday;
Wake all the dewy woods with jangling music.
Give them no law (are they not beasts of blood?)
But such as they gave you. Tallyho! ho!
Through forest, furze, and bog, and den, and desert,
Pursue the ugly beasts! tallyho! ho!


Tallyho tallyho!

Through rain, hail, and snow,
Through brake, gorse,
and briar,
Through fen, flood, and mire,
We go! we go!

Tallyho! tallyho! Through pond, ditch, and slough, Wind them, and find them, Like the Devil behind them, Tallyho tallyho!

[Exeunt, in full cry; Iona driving on the SWING, with the empty GREEN BAG.



In the brief journal I kept in those days, I find recorded, in August 1820, Shelley "begins Swellfoot the Tyrant, suggested by the pigs at the fair of San Giuliano." This was the period of Queen Caroline's landing in England, and the struggles made by Geo. IV. to get rid of her claims; which failing, Lord Castlereagh placed the "Green Bag" on the table of the House of Commons, demanding, in the King's name, that an inquiry should be instituted into his wife's conduct. These circumstances were the theme of all conversation among the English. We were then at the Baths of San Giuliano; a friend came to visit us on the day when a fair was held in the square, beneath our windows: Shelley read to us his Ode to Liberty; and was riotously accompanied by the grunting of a quantity of pigs brought for sale to the fair. He compared it to the "chorus of frogs" in the satiric drama of Aristophanes; and it being an hour of merriment, and one ludicrous association suggesting another, he imagined a political satirical drama on the circumstances of the day, to which the pigs would serve as chorus-and Swellfoot was begun. When finished, it was transmitted to England, printed and published anonymously; but stifled at the very dawn of its existence by the "Society for the Suppression of Vice," who threatened to prosecute it, if not immediately withdrawn. The friend who had taken the trouble of bringing it out, of course did not think it worth the annoyance and expense of a contest, and it was

laid aside.

Hesitation of whether it would do honour to Shelley prevented my publishing it at first; but I cannot bring myself to keep back anything he ever wrote, for each word is fraught with the peculiar views and sentiments which he believed to be beneficial to the human race; and the bright light of poetry irradiates every thought. The world has a right to the entire compositions of such a man; for it does not live and thrive by the out-worn lesson of the dullard or the hypocrite, but by the original free thoughts of men of Genius, who aspire to pluck bright truth

[blocks in formation]


Even those who may dissent from his opinions will consider that he was a man of genius,

and that the world will take more interest in his slightest word, than from the waters of Lethe, which are so eagerly prescribed as medicinal for all its wrongs and woes. This drama, however, must not be judged for more than was meant. It is a mere plaything of the imagination, which even may not excite smiles among many, who will not see wit in those combinations of thought which were full of the ridiculous to the author. But, like everything he wrote, it breathes that deep sympathy for the sorrows of humanity, and indignation against its oppressors, which make it worthy of his name.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
« PrejšnjaNaprej »