Slike strani
PDF
ePub

Sustain the cone of my untroubled brain,
That point, the emblem of a pointless nothing!
Thou to whom kings and laurelled emperors,
Radical-butchers, Paper-money-millers,
Bishops and deacons, and the entire army
Of those fat martyrs to the persecution
Of stifling turtle-soup and brandy-devils,
Offer their secret vows! thou plenteous Ceres
Of their Eleusis, hail!

THE SWINE.

Eigh! eigh eigh! eigh!

SWELLFOOT.

Ha! what are ye,

Who, crowned with leaves devoted to the Furies, Cling round this sacred shrine ?

Aigh aigh aigh!

Ugh! ugh! ugh!

SWINE.

SWELLFOOT.

What! ye that are

The very beasts that, offered at her altar

With blood and groans, salt-cake, and fat, and

inwards,

Ever propitiate her reluctant will

When taxes are withheld?

SWINE.

SWELLFOOT.

What! ye

who grub

With filthy snouts my red potatoes up
In Allan's rushy bog? who eat the oats
Up, from my cavalry in the Hebrides?
Who swill the hog-wash soup my cooks digest
From bones, and rags, and scraps of shoe-leather,
Which should be given to cleaner pigs than you?

THE SWINE.

SEMICHORUS I.

The same, alas! the same;
Though only now the name
Of pig remains to me.

SEMICHORUS II.

If 'twere your kingly will

Us wretched swine to kill,

What should we yield to thee?

SWELLFOOT.

Why skin and bones, and some few hairs for mortar

CHORUS OF SWINE.

I have heard your Laureate sing,

That pity was a royal thing.
Under your mighty ancestors, we pigs
Were bless'd as nightingales on myrtle sprigs
Or grasshoppers that live on noon-day dew,
And
sung, old annals tell, as sweetly too;

But now our sties are fallen in, we catch
The murrain and the mange, the scab and itch;
Sometimes your royal dogs tear down our thatch,
And then we seek the shelter of a ditch;
Hog-wash or grains, or ruta-baga, none
Has yet been ours since your reign begun.

FIRST SOW.

My pigs, 'tis in vain to tug!

SECOND sow.

I could almost eat my litter!

FIRST PIG.

I suck, but no milk will come from the dug

SECOND PIG.

Our skin and our bones would be bitter.

THE BOARS.

We fight for this rag of greasy rug,
Though a trough of wash would be fitter.

SEMICHORUS.

Happier swine were they than we,
Drowned in the Gadarean sea!

I wish that pity would drive out the devils
Which in your royal bosom hold their revels,
And sink us in the waves of your compassion!
Alas, the pigs are an unhappy nation!
Now if your majesty would have our bristles

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

To bind your mortar with, or fill our colons With rich blood, or make brawn out of our gristles,

In policy-ask else your royal SolonsYou ought to give us hog-wash and clean straw, And sties well thatched; besides, it is the law!

SWELLFOOT.

This is sedition, and rank blasphemy!
Ho! there, my guards!

Enter a GUARD.

GUARD.

Your sacred Majesty?

SWELLFOOT.

Call in the Jews, Solomon the court porkman, Moses the sow-gelder, and Zephaniah the hog

butcher.

GUARD.

They are in waiting, sire.

Enter SOLOMON, MOSES, and ZEPHANIAH.

SWELLFOOT.

Out with your knife, old Moses, and spay those sows [The Pigs run about in consternation. That load the earth with pigs; cut close and deep. Moral restraint I see has no effect,

Nor prostitution, nor our own example,
Starvation, typhus-fever, war, nor prison.

This was the art which the arch-priest of
Famine

Hinted at in his charge to the Theban clergy.
Cut close and deep, good Moses.

MOSES.

Keep the boars quiet, else—

SWELLFOOT.

Let your majesty

Zephaniah, cut That fat hog's throat, the brute seems overfed; Seditious hunks! to whine for want of grains.

ZEPHANIAH.

Your sacred majesty, he has the dropsy.
We shall find pints of hydatids in 's liver;
He has not half an inch of wholesome fat
Upon his carious ribs.

SWELLFOOT.

"Tis all the same.

He'll serve instead of riot-money, when
Our murmuring troops bivouac in Thebes'

streets;

And January winds, after a day

Of butchering, will make them relish carrion.

Now, Solomon, I'll sell you in a lump
The whole kit of them.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »