Slike strani

I could not give


Why, your majesty,


Kill them out of the way,

That shall be price enough, and let me hear Their everlasting grunts and whines no more! [Exeunt, driving in the Swine.

Enter MAMMON, the Arch-Priest; and PURGANAX, Chief of the Council of Wizards.


The future looks as black as death, a cloud,
Dark as the frown of Hell, hangs over it.
The troops grow mutinous-the revenue fails—
There's something rotten in us-for the level
Of the State slopes, its very bases topple ;
The boldest turn their backs upon themselves!


Why what's the matter, my dear fellow, now?
Do the troops mutiny ?-decimate some regiments.
Does money fail?- —come to my mint-coin paper,
Till gold be at a discount, and, ashamed
To show his bilious face, go purge himself,
In emulation of her vestal whiteness.


O, would that this were all! The oracle!


Why it was I who spoke that oracle,
And whether I was dead-drunk or inspired,
I cannot well remember; nor, in truth,
The oracle itself!


The words went thus:

"Boeotia, choose reform or civil war,

When through the streets, instead of hare with dogs, A Consort-Queen shall hunt a King with hogs, Riding on the Ionian Minotaur."


Now if the oracle had ne'er foretold
This sad alternative, it must arrive
Or not, and so it must now that it has;
And whether I was urged by grace divine,
Or Lesbian liquor, to declare these words,—
Which must, as all words must, be false or true,—
It matters not; for the same power made all,
Oracle, wine, and me and you—or none;
'Tis the same thing. If you knew as much
Of oracles as I do-


You arch-priests

Believe in nothing; if you were to dream
Of a particular number in the lottery,
You would not buy the ticket!


Yet our tickets

Are seldom blanks. But what steps have you taken ?

For prophecies, when once they get abroad,
Like liars who tell the truth to serve their ends,
Or hypocrites, who, from assuming virtue,
Do the same actions that the virtuous do,
Contrive their own fulfilment. This Iona-
Well-you know what the chaste Pasiphae did,
Wife to that most religious king of Crete,
And still how popular the tale is here;
And these dull swine of Thebes boast their de


From the free Minotaur. You know they still Call themselves bulls, though thus degenerate; And every thing relating to a bull

Is popular and respectable in Thebes:

Their arms are seven bulls in a field gules;
They think their strength consists in eating beef:
Now there were danger in the precedent
If Queen Iona-


I have taken good care

That shall not be. I struck the crust o' the earth
With this enchanted rod, and Hell lay bare!
And from a cavern full of ugly shapes,

I chose a LEECH, a GADFLY, and a RAT.
The gadfly was the same which Juno sent

To agitate Io,* and which Ezekiel † mentions
That the Lord whistled for out of the mountains
Of utmost Ethiopia, to torment
Mesopotamian Babylon. The beast

Has a loud trumpet like the scarabee;

His crooked tail is barbed with many stings,
Each able to make a thousand wounds, and each
Immedicable; from his convex eyes

He sees fair things in many hideous shapes,
And trumpets all his falsehood to the world.
Like other beetles he is fed on dung;
He has eleven feet with which he crawls,
Trailing a blistering slime; and this foul beast
Has tracked Iona from the Theban limits,
From isle to isle, from city unto city,
Urging her flight from the far Chersonese
To fabulous Solyma, and the Ætnean Isle,
Ortygia, Melite, and Calypso's Rock,
And the swart tribes of Garamant and Fez,
Eolia and Elysium, and thy shores,
Parthenope, which now, alas! are free,—
And through the fortunate Saturnian land,
Into the darkness of the West.


Tris Gadfly should drive Iona hither?

But if

The Prometheus Bound of Eschylus.

† And the Lord whistled for the gadfly out of Æthiopia and for the bee out of Egypt, &c.—EZEKIEL.


Gods! what an if! but there is my gray rat,
So thin with want, he can crawl in and out

Of any narrow chink and filthy hole,
And he shall creep into her dressing-room,


My dear friend, where are your wits? as if She does not always toast a piece of cheese, And bait the trap? and rats, when lean enough To crawl through such chinks


But my leech-a leech Fit to suck blood, with lubricous round rings, Capaciously expatiative, which make

His little body like a red balloon,

As full of blood as that of hydrogen,

Sucked from men's hearts; insatiably he sucks And clings and pulls-a horse-leech, whose deep


The plethoric King Swellfoot could not fill,
And who, till full, will cling for ever.



For Queen Iona might suffice, and less;
But 'tis the swinish multitude I fear,
And in that fear I have-

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