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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 thy compassion!
Alas! the Pigs are an unhappy nation!
Now if your Majesty would have our bristles
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 Solons-
You ought to give us hog-wash and clean straw,
And styes well thatched; besides it is the law!
This is sedition, and rank blasphemy!
Ho! there, my guards!
Enter a GUARD.
Your sacred Majesty.
Call in the Jews, Solomon the court porkman,
Moses the sow-gelder, and Zephaniah
They are in waiting, Sire.
Enter SOLOMON, MOSES, and ZEPHANIAH.
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 prisonThis was the art which the arch-priest of Famine Hinted at in his charge to the Theban clergyCut close and deep, good Moses.
Let your Majesty Keep the boars quiet, else
That fat hog's throat, the brute seems overfed ;
Seditious hunks! to whine for want of grains.
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-
'Tis all the same, He'll serve instead of riot money, when Our murmuring troops bivouaque 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,
Why, your Majesty, I could not give
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.
Oh, 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:Bæotia, choose reform or civil war! " When through thy 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 ? 130 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 IonaWell--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 descent
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,- 145
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 Ezechiel? mentions
That the Lord whistled for out of the mountains
Of utmost Æthiopia, 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,
Æolia and Elysium, and thy shores,
Parthenope, which now, alas! are free!
And through the fortunate Saturnian land,
Into the darkness of the West.
This Gadfly should drive Iona hither?
Gods! what an if! but there is my grey 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-
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 hydrogene,
Sucked from men's hearts ; insatiably he sucks
And clings, and pulls—a horse-leech, whose deep maw
The plethoric King Swellfoot could not fill,