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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
tender tone, Could make that spirit mingle with her For on the night when they were buried,
Restored the embalmers' ruining, and
shook Alas! Aurora, what wouldst thou have given
The light out of the funeral lamps, to be For such a charm when Tithon
A mimic day within that deathy nook ; became gray?
And she unwound the woven imagery Or how much, Venus, of thy silver
Of second childhood's swaddling Heaven
bands, and took Wouldst thou have yielded, ere Proser. The coffin, its last cradle, from its niche, pina
And threw it with contempt into a ditch. Had half (oh! why not all ?) the debt
LXXI forgiven Which dear Adonis had been doomed And there the body lay, age after age,
Mute, breathing, beating, warm, and To any witch who would have taught undecaying,
Like one asleep in a green hermitage, The Heliad doth not know its value yet. With gentle smiles about its eyelids
And living in its dreams beyond the 'Tis said in after times her spirit free
rage Knew what love was, and felt itself Of death or life; while they were alone
still arraying But holy Dian could not chaster be In liveries ever new, the rapid, blind
Before she stooped to kiss Endymion, And fleeting generations of mankind. Than now this lady-like a sexless bee Tasting all blossoms, and confined to none,
And she would write strange dreams Among those mortal forms, the wizard
upon the brain maiden
Of those who were less beautiful, and Past with an eye serene and heart un
All harsh and crooked purposes more LXIX
vain To those she saw most beautiful, she
Than in the desert is the serpent's
wake gave Strange panacea in a crystal bowl:- Which the sand covers,—all his evil gain
The miser in such dreams would rise They drank in their deep sleep of that
and shake sweet wave, And lived thenceforward as if some
Into a beggar's lap;—the lying scribe control,
Would his own lies betray without a
bribe, Mightier than life, were in them; and
LXXIII of such, when death oppressed the The priests would write an explanation weary soul,
Translating hieroglyphics into Greek, They hardly knew whether they loved How the god Apis really was a bull,
or not, And nothing more; and bid the herald Would rise out of their rest, and take stick
sweet joy, The same against the temple doors, and To the fulfilment of their inmost pull
thought; The old cant down; they licensed And when next day the maiden and the all to speak
boy Whate'er they thought of hawks, and Met one another, both, like sinners cats, and geese,
caught, By pastoral letters to each diocese. Blushed at the thing which each believed
Only in fancy- till the tenth moon The king would dress an ape up in his
And robes, and seat him on his glori
ous seat, 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 morn
bulism; 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.
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
nights, Than for these garish summer days,
when we Scarcely believe much more than we
And timid lovers who had been so coy,
NOTE ON THE WITCH OF
want of it took away a portion of the
ardour that ought to have sustained him ATLAS, BY MRS. SHELLEY
while writing. He was thrown on his We spent the summer of 1820 at the own resources, and on the inspiration of Baths of San Giuliano, four miles from his own soul ; and wrote because his Pisa. These baths were of great use to mind overflowed, without the hope of Shelley in soothing his nervous irritability, being appreciated. I had not the most We made several excursions in the neigh- distant wish that he should truckle in bourhood. The country around is fertile, opinion, or submit his lofty aspirations and diversified and rendered picturesque for the human race to the low ambition by ranges of near hills and more distant and pride of the many ; but I felt sure mountains. The peasantry are a hand- that, if his poems were more addressed to some intelligent race; and there was a
the common feelings of men, his proper gladsome sunny heaven spread over us,
rank among the writers of the day would that rendered home and every scene we
be acknowledged, and that popularity visited cheerful and bright. During some
as a poet would enable his countrymen of the hottest days of August, Shelley to do justice to his character and virtues, made a solitary journey on foot to the which in those days it was the mode to summit of Monte San Pellegrino-a attack with the most flagitious calumnies
That he felt these mountain of some height, on the top of and insulting abuse. which there is a chapel, the object, during things deeply cannot be doubted, though certain days of the year, of many pilgrim- he armed himself with the consciousness ages. The excursion delighted him while of acting from a lofty and heroic sense of it lasted; though he exerted himself too right. The truth burst from his heart much, and the effect was considerable sometimes in solitude, and he would lassitude and weakness on his return.
write a few unfinished verses that showed During the expedition he conceived the that he felt the sting; among such I find idea, and wrote, in the three days im- the following :mediately succeeding to his return, the
Alas! this is not what I thought Life was, Witch of Atlas. This poem is peculiarly I knew that there were crimes and evil men, characteristic of his tastes-wildly fanciful, Misery and hate; nor did I hope to pass full of brilliant imagery, and discarding
Untouched by suffering through the rugged
glen. human interest and passion, to revel in In mine own heart I saw as in a glass the fantastic ideas that his imagination The hearts of others. And, when suggested.
I went among my kind, with triple brass The surpassing excellence of The Cenci To bear scorn, fear, and hate-a woful mass!"
Of calm endurance my weak breast I armed, had made me greatly desire that Shelley should increase his popularity by adopt- I believed that all this morbid feeling ing subjects that would more suit the would vanish if the chord of sympathy popular taste than a poem conceived in between him and his countrymen were the abstract and dreamy spirit of the touched. But my persuasions were vain, Witch of Atlas. It was not only that I the mind could not be bent from its wished him to acquire popularity as re- natural inclination. Shelley shrunk indounding to his fame ; but I believed stinctively from pourtraying human pasthat he would obtain a greater mastery sion, with its mixture of good and evil, over his own powers, and greater happi- of disappointment and disquiet. Such ness in his mind, if public applause opened again the wounds of his own crowned his endeavours. The few stanzas heart; and he loved to shelter himself that precede the poem were addressed to rather in the airiest flights of fancy, me on my representing these ideas to him. forgetting love and hate, and regret and Even now I believe that I was in the lost hope, in such imaginations as borright. Shelley did not expect sympathy rowed their hues from sunrise or sunset, and approbation from the public ; but the l from the yellow moonshine or paly twi.
light, from the aspect of the far ocean or translation of this remarkable piece of
Tragedy be found, entitled, “ Swellfoot in
might be tempted to give them to the EDIPUS TYRANNUS reading Public.
THIS Tragedy is one of a triad, or
ACT I system of three Plays (an arrangement according to which the Greeks were accus- SCENE I. - A magnificent Temple, tomed to connect their dramatic represen
built of thigh-bones and death's heads, tations), elucidating the wonderful and and tiled with scalps. Over the Altar appalling fortunes of the SWELLFOOT the statue of Famine, veiled ; dynasty. It was evidently written by number of boars, sows, and sucking some learned Theban, and, from its
pigs, crowned with thistle, shamrock, characteristic dulness, apparently before
and oak, sitting on the steps, and the duties on the importation of Attic salt
clinging round the altar of the Temple. had been repealed by the Bootarchs. The tenderness with which he treats the Enter SweLLFOOT, in his Royal robes, PIGS proves him to have been a sus Bæotice ;
without perceiving the Pigs. possibly Epicuri de grege porcus; for, as
Swellfoot. Thou supreme Goddess ! the poet observes,
by whose power divine "A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind."
These graceful limbs are clothed in No liberty has been taken with the
(Hecontemplates himself with satisfaction. Which should be given to cleaner Pigs Of gold and purple, and this kingly
than you? paunch
The Swine. ---Semichorus I. Swells like a sail before a favouring The same, alas! the same; breeze,
Though only now the name And these most sacred nether promon. Of pig remains to me. tories
Semichorus 11. Lie satisfied with layers of fat; and If 'twere your kingly will these
Us wretched swine to kill, Boeotian cheeks, like Egypt's pyramid, What should we yield to thee? (Nor with less toil were their foundations Swellfoot. Why skin and bones, and laid,')
some few hairs for mortar. Sustain the cone of my untroubled brain,
Chorus of Swine. That point, the emblem of a pointless I have heard your Laureate sing, nothing!
That pity was a royal thing; Thou to whom Kings and laurelled Under your mighty ancestors, we pigs Emperors,
Were bless'd as nightingales on myrtle Radical-butchers, Paper-money-millers, sprigs, Bishops and deacons, and the entire army Or grasshoppers that live on noonday Of those fat martyrs to the persecution
dew, Of stifling turtle-soup, and brandy-devils, And sung, old annals tell, as sweetly too, Offer their secret vows! Thou plenteous But now our styes are fallen in, we catch Ceres
The murrain and the mange, the scab of their Eleusis, hail !
and itch; The Swine. Eigh! eigh! eigh! eigh! Sometimes your royal dogs tear down Swellfoot. Ha! what are ye,
our thatch, Who, crowned with leaves devoted to And then we seek the shelter of a ditch; the Furies,
Hog-wash or grains, or ruta baga, none Cling round this sacred shrine ?
Has yet been ours since your reign Swine. Aigh! aigh! aigh !
begun. Swellfoot. What! ye that are
I could almost eat my litter. Ever propitiate her reluctant will
First Pig: When taxes are withheld ?
I suck, but no milk will come from Swine. Ugh! ugh! ugh! Swellfoot. What! ye who grub
Second Pig With filthy snouts my red potatoes up
Our skin and our bones would be In Allan's rushy bog ? Who eat the oats
bitter. Up, from my cavalry in the Hebrides?
The Boars. Who swill the hog-wash soup my cooks We fight for this rag of greasy rug, digest
Though a trough of wash would be From bones, and
Semichorus. 1 See Universal History for an account of the Happier swine were they than we, number of people who died, and the immense Drowned in the Gadarean sea— consumption of garlic by the wretched Egyp. I wish that pity would drive out the tians, who made a sepulchre for the name as well as the bodies of their tyrants.