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And then she had a charm of strange Was as a green and overarching bower device, Lit by the gems of many a starry flower.
Which, murmured on mute lips with
Could make that spirit mingle with her For on the night when they were buried,
Restored the embalmers' ruining, and
The light out of the funeral lamps, to be
Alas! Aurora, what wouldst thou have given
For such a charm when Tithon became gray?
Or how much, Venus, of thy silver
Wouldst thou have yielded, ere Proser.
Had half (oh! why not all?) the debt
Which dear Adonis had been doomed And there the body lay, age after age, to pay,
Mute, breathing, beating, warm, and undecaying,
To any witch who would have taught you it?
The Heliad doth not know its value yet.
Like one asleep in a green hermitage, With gentle smiles about its eyelids playing,
And living in its dreams beyond the rage
Of death or life; while they were still arraying
"Tis said in after times her spirit free Knew what love was, and felt itself alone
But holy Dian could not chaster be
Before she stooped to kiss Endymion, Than now this lady-like a sexless bee Tasting all blossoms, and confined to
Among those mortal forms, the wizardmaiden
Past with an eye serene and heart unladen.
Of second childhood's swaddling
The coffin, its last cradle, from its niche,
In liveries ever new, the rapid, blind
And she would write strange dreams upon the brain
Of those who were less beautiful, and make All harsh and crooked purposes more vain
Than in the desert is the serpent's wake
To those she saw most beautiful, she gave
Strange panacea in a crystal bowl:They drank in their deep sleep of that
sweet wave, And lived thenceforward as if some control, Mightier than life, were in them; and the grave
Of such, when death oppressed the The priests would write an explanation weary soul,
Which the sand covers,-all his evil gain The miser in such dreams would rise and shake
Into a beggar's lap;-the lying scribe Would his own lies betray without a bribe.
They hardly knew whether they loved
Would rise out of their rest, and take sweet joy,
The same against the temple doors, and pull
To the fulfilment of their inmost thought;
The old cant down; they licensed And when next day the maiden and the all to speak
Translating hieroglyphics into Greek, How the god Apis really was a bull,
And nothing more; and bid the herald stick
Whate'er they thought of hawks, and cats, and geese,
By pastoral letters to each diocese.
The king would dress an ape up in his
And robes, and seat him on his glori
And on the right hand of the sunlike throne
Would place a gaudy mock-bird to repeat The chatterings of the monkey.-Every
Of the prone courtiers crawled to kiss the feet
Of their great Emperor, when the morning came,
And kissed-alas, how many kiss the same!
The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths, and
Walked out of quarters in somnambulism;
Round the red anvils you might see them stand
Like Cyclopses in Vulcan's sooty abysm,
Beating their swords to ploughshares; -in a band
The gaolers sent those of the liberal schism
Free through the streets of Memphis, much, I wis
To the annoyance of king Amasis.
And timid lovers who had been so coy,
Met one another, both, like sinners caught,
Blushed at the thing which each believed was done
Only in fancy-till the tenth moon shone;
And then the Witch would let them take no ill:
Of many thousand schemes which lovers find,
The Witch found one,-and so they took their fill
Of happiness in marriage warm and kind.
Friends who, by practice of some envious skill,
Were torn apart, a wide wound, mind from mind!
She did unite again with visions clear
These were the pranks she played among the cities
Of mortal men, and what she did to sprites
And Gods, entangling them in her sweet ditties
To do her will, and show their subtle slights,
I will declare another time; for it is
A tale more fit for the weird winter
Than for these garish summer days,
NOTE ON THE WITCH OF ATLAS, BY MRS. SHELLEY WE spent the summer of 1820 at the Baths of San Giuliano, four miles from Pisa. These baths were of great use to Shelley in soothing his nervous irritability. We made several excursions in the neighbourhood. The country around is fertile, and diversified and rendered picturesque by ranges of near hills and more distant mountains. The peasantry are a handsome intelligent race; and there was a gladsome sunny heaven spread over us, that rendered home and every scene we visited cheerful and bright. During some of the hottest days of August, Shelley made a solitary journey on foot to the summit of Monte San Pellegrino-a mountain of some height, on the top of which there is a chapel, the object, during certain days of the year, of many pilgrimages. The excursion delighted him while it lasted; though he exerted himself too much, and the effect was considerable lassitude and weakness on his return. During the expedition he conceived the idea, and wrote, in the three days immediately succeeding to his return, the Witch of Atlas. This poem is peculiarly characteristic of his tastes-wildly fanciful, full of brilliant imagery, and discarding human interest and passion, to revel in the fantastic ideas that his imagination suggested.
The surpassing excellence of The Cenci had made me greatly desire that Shelley should increase his popularity by adopting subjects that would more suit the popular taste than a poem conceived in the abstract and dreamy spirit of the Witch of Atlas. It was not only that I wished him to acquire popularity as redounding to his fame; but I believed that he would obtain a greater mastery over his own powers, and greater happiness in his mind, if public applause crowned his endeavours. The few stanzas that precede the poem were addressed to me on my representing these ideas to him. Even now I believe that I was in the right. Shelley did not expect sympathy and approbation from the public; but the
want of it took away a portion of the ardour that ought to have sustained him while writing. He was thrown on his own resources, and on the inspiration of his own soul; and wrote because his mind overflowed, without the hope of being appreciated. I had not the most distant wish that he should truckle in opinion, or submit his lofty aspirations for the human race to the low ambition and pride of the many; but I felt sure that, if his poems were more addressed to the common feelings of men, his proper rank among the writers of the day would be acknowledged, and that popularity as a poet would enable his countrymen to do justice to his character and virtues, which in those days it was the mode to attack with the most flagitious calumnies and insulting abuse. things deeply cannot be doubted, though he armed himself with the consciousness of acting from a lofty and heroic sense of right. The truth burst from his heart sometimes in solitude, and he would write a few unfinished verses that showed
That he felt these
that he felt the sting; among such I find the following:
I believed that all this morbid feeling would vanish if the chord of sympathy between him and his countrymen were touched. But my persuasions were vain, the mind could not be bent from its natural inclination. Shelley shrunk instinctively from pourtraying human passion, with its mixture of good and evil, of disappointment and disquiet. Such opened again the wounds of his own heart; and he loved to shelter himself rather in the airiest flights of fancy, forgetting love and hate, and regret and lost hope, in such imaginations as borrowed their hues from sunrise or sunset, from the yellow moonshine or paly twi
light, from the aspect of the far ocean or the shadows of the woods,-which celebrated the singing of the winds among the pines, the flow of a murmuring stream, and the thousand harmonious sounds which Nature creates in her solitudes. These are the materials which form the Witch of Atlas: it is a brilliant congregation of ideas such as his senses gathered, and his fancy coloured, during his rambles in the sunny land he so much loved.
SWELLFOOT THE TYRANT
IN TWO ACTS
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL DORIC
"Choose Reform or civil war,
When thro' thy streets, instead of hare with dogs, A CONSORT QUEEN shall hunt a KING with hogs, Riding on the IONIAN MINOTAUR."
translation of this remarkable piece of antiquity, except the suppressing a seditious and blasphemous Chorus of the Pigs and Bulls at the last act. The word Hoydipouse (or more properly Edipus), has been rendered literally Swellfoot, without its having been conceived necessary to determine whether a swelling of the hind or the fore feet of the Swinish Monarch is particularly indicated.
Should the remaining portions of this Tragedy be found, entitled, "Swellfoot in Angaria," and "Charité," the Translator might be tempted to give them to the reading Public.
THIS Tragedy is one of a triad, or system of three Plays (an arrangement according to which the Greeks were accustomed to connect their dramatic representations), elucidating the wonderful and appalling fortunes of the SWELLFOOT dynasty. It was evidently written by some learned Theban, and, from its characteristic dulness, apparently before the duties on the importation of Attic salt had been repealed by the Bootarchs. The tenderness with which he treats the PIGS proves him to have been a sus Bootie; possibly Epicuri de grege porcus; for, as the poet observes,
"A fellow feeling makes us wond'rous kind." No liberty has been taken with the
[Hecontemplates himself with satisfaction. Of gold and purple, and this kingly paunch
Swells like a sail before a favouring breeze,
And these most sacred nether promontories
Lie satisfied with layers of fat; and
Of their Eleusis, hail!
The Swine. Eigh! eigh! eigh! eigh!
Cling round this sacred shrine?
Swine. Aigh! aigh! aigh!
Boeotian cheeks, like Egypt's pyramid,
Chorus of Swine.
Sustain the cone of my untroubled brain,
I have heard your Laureate sing,
Thou to whom Kings and laurelled Under your mighty ancestors, we pigs
Ever propitiate her reluctant will
Which should be given to cleaner Pigs than you?
Swine. Ugh! ugh! ugh!
From bones, and rags, and scraps of
The Swine.-Semichorus I.
1 See Universal History for an account of the number of people who died, and the immense consumption of garlic by the wretched Egyptians, who made a sepulchre for the name as well as the bodies of their tyrants.
If 'twere your kingly will
What should we yield to thee? Swellfoot. Why skin and bones, and some few hairs for mortar.
And sung, old annals tell, as sweetly too,
And then we seek the shelter of a ditch;