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GODDESS bare, and gaunt, and pale,
We call thee FAMINE!
Goddess of fasts and feasts, starving and I
The earth pours forth its plenteous fruits,
Through thee, for emperors, kings, and Give me a glass of Maraschino punch. priests and lords, Purganax (filling his glass, and standing up). The glorious constitution of the Pigs!
Who rule by viziers, sceptres, banknotes,
Corn, wool, linen, flesh, and roots-Those who consume these fruits thro'
A toast! a toast! stand up and three times three!
Dakry. No heel-taps-darken day-
thee grow fat,
Those who produce these fruits thro' Puts me in mind of blood, and blood thee grow lean,
of claret !
Whatever change takes place, oh, stick
Swellfoot. Laoctonos is fishing for a
Could scarcely disagree.
After the trial, And these fastidious pigs are gone, perhaps
I may recover my lost appetite,—
And let things be as they have ever But 'tis his due. Yes, you have drunk
At least while we remain thy priests, And shed more blood than any man in And proclaim thy fasts and feasts! Through thee the sacred SWELLFOOT
Is based upon a rock amid that sea Whose waves are swine-so let it ever be! [SWELLFOOT, etc., seat themselves at a table magnificently covered at the upper end of the temple. Attendants pass over the stage with hog-wash in pails. A number of pigs, exceedingly lean, follow them licking up the wash.
A winter or two-not more-so plain a dish
[To PURGANAX. God's sake stop the grunting of those pigs! Purganax. We dare not, Sire, 'tis Famine's privilege.
Chorus of Swine.
Hail to thee, hail to thee, Famine!
Thy throne is on blood, and thy
Thou devil which livest on damning;
When thou liftest thy skeleton form,
We will greet thee-the voice of a
Would be lost in our terrible shout!
Then hail to thee, hail to thee,
Hail to thee, Empress of Earth!
When thou risest, dividing posses- [A graceful figure in a semi-transparent sions;
When thou risest, uprooting oppres-
In the pride of thy ghastly mirth.
veil passes unnoticed through the
Of the dread image, and in the black pits Which once were eyes, I see two livid flames.
These prodigies are oracular, and show
Mighty Empress! Death's white wife!
By the God who made thee such,
charge thee! when thou wake the
the sad genius
Of the Green Isle has fixed, as by a spell, Upon my brow-which would stain all its seas,
But which those seas could never wash away!
Iona Taurina. My Lord, I am ready -nay, I am impatient
To undergo the test.
The earth did never mean her foison For those who crown life's cup with poison
Of fanatic rage and meaningless re
But for those radiant spirits, who are still
The standard bearers in the van of
Be they th' appointed stewards, to fill The lap of Pain, and Toil, and Age!Remit, O Queen! thy accustomed rage! Be what thou art not! In voice faint and low FREEDOM calls Famine, -- her eternal foe,
A spot or two on me would do no harm, To brief alliance, hollow truce.-Rise Nay, it might hide the blood, which
[Whilst the Veiled Figure has been chaunt ing this strophe, MAMMON, DAKRY, LAOCTONOS, and SWELLFOOT, have surrounded IONA TAURINA, who, with her hands folded on her breast, and her eyes lifted to Heaven, stands, as with saint-like resignation, to wait the issue of the business, in perfect confidence of her innocence.
[PURGANAX, after unsealing the GREEN These stinking foxes, these devouring
BAG, is gravely about to pour the liquor upon her head, when suddenly the whole expression of her figure and countenance changes; she snatches it from his hand with a loud laugh of triumph, and empties it over SWELLFOOT and his whole Court, who are instantly changed into a number of filthy and ugly animals, and rush out of the Temple. The image of FAMINE then arises with a tremendous sound, | Of village-towers, on sunshine holiday; the PIGS begin scrambling for the Wake all the dewy woods with jangling loaves, and are tripped up by the skulls; all those who eat the loaves are Give them no law (are they not beasts turned into BULLS, and arrange themselves quietly behind the altar. The image of FAMINE sinks through a chasm in the earth, and a MINOTAUR
But such as they gave you. Tallyho! ho!
Minotaur. I am the Ionian Minotaur, the mightiest
Of all Europa's taurine progeny—
I am called Ion, which, by interpretation,
And can leap any gate in all Boeotia,
And if your Majesty will deign to
At least till you have hunted down your
These hares, these wolves, these any. thing but men.
Hey, for a whipper-in! my loyal pigs, Now let your noses be as keen as beagles,
Your steps as swift as greyhounds, and your cries
More dulcet and symphonious than the bells
Through forest, furze, and bog, and den,
Pursue the ugly beasts! tallyho! ho!
Through rain, hail, and snow,
Through pond, ditch, and slough.
[Exeunt, in full cry; IONA driving
NOTE ON EDIPUS TYRANNUS,
IN the brief journal I kept in those days, I find recorded, in August 1820, Shelley begins Swellfoot the Tyrant, suggested by the pigs at the fair of San Giuliano." This was the period of Queen Caroline's landing in England, and the struggles made by George IV to get rid of her claims; which failing, Lord Castle
reagh placed the "Green Bag" on the table of the House of Commons, demanding in the King's name that an inquiry should be instituted into his wife's conduct. These circumstances were the theme of all conversation among the English. We were then at the Baths of San Giuliano. A friend came to visit us on the day when a fair was held in the square beneath our windows: Shelley read to us his Ode to Liberty; and was riotously accompanied by the grunting of a quantity of pigs brought for sale to the fair. He compared it to the "chorus of frogs" in the satiric drama of Aristophanes; and, it being an hour of merriment, and one ludicrous association suggesting another, he imagined a politicalsatirical drama on the circumstances of the day, to which the pigs would serve as chorus-and Swellfoot was begun. When finished, it was transmitted to England, printed, and published anonymously; but stifled at the very dawn of its existence by the Society for the Suppression of Vice, who threatened to prosecute it, if not immediately withdrawn. The friend who had taken the trouble of bringing it out, of course, did not think it worth the annoyance and expense of a contest, and it was laid aside.
Hesitation of whether it would do honour to Shelley prevented my publishing it at first. But I cannot bring myself to keep back anything he ever wrote; for each word is fraught with the peculiar views and sentiments which he believed to be beneficial to the human race, and the bright light of poetry irradiates every thought. The world has a right to the entire compositions of such a man; for it does not live and thrive by the outworn lesson of the dullard or the hypocrite, but by the original free thoughts of men of genius, who aspire to pluck bright truth
"from the pale-faced moon; Or dive into the bottom of the deep Where fathom-line could never touch the ground, And pluck up drowned"
truth. Even those who may dissent from his opinions will consider that he
was a man of genius, and that the world will take more interest in his slightest word than from the waters of Lethe which are so eagerly prescribed as medicinal for all its wrongs and woes. This drama, however, must not be judged for more than was meant. It is a mere plaything of the imagination; which even may not excite smiles among many, who will not see wit in those combinations of thought which were full of the ridiculous to the author. But, like everything he wrote, it breathes that deep sympathy for the sorrows of humanity, and indignation against its oppressors, which make it worthy of his name.
happier and better world of which he is now an inhabitant, but hardly practicable in this. His life was singular; less on account of the romantic vicissitudes which diversified it, than the ideal tinge which it received from his own character and feel
The present poem appears to have been intended by the Writer as the dedication to some longer one. The stanza on the opposite page is almost a literal translation from Dante's famous Canzone
ings. The present Poem, like the Vita Nuova of Dante, is sufficiently intelligible to a certain class of readers without a matter-of-fact history of the circumstances to which it relates; and to a certain other class it must ever remain incomprehensible, from a defect of a common organ of perception for the ideas of which it treats. Not but that, gran ver gogna sarebbe a colui, che rimasse cosa sotto veste di figura, odi colore rettorico: edomandato non sapesse denudare le sue parole da cotal veste, in guisa che avessero verace intendimento.
Voi, ch' intendendo, il terzo ciel movete, etc. The presumptuous application of the concluding lines to his own composition will raise a smile at the expense of my unfortunate friend: be it a smile not of contempt, but pity. S.
SWEET Spirit! Sister of that orphan
Whose empire is the name thou weepest
In my heart's temple I suspend to thee
Poor captive bird! who, from thy narrow cage, Pourest such music, that it might assuage The rugged hearts of those who prisoned thee, Were they not deaf to all sweet melody; This song shall be thy rose: its petals
But soft and fragrant is the faded blossom, And it has no thorn left to wound thy bosom.
High, spirit-winged Heart! who dost
Beat thine unfeeling bars with vain endeavour,
Till those bright plumes of thought, in
It over-soared this low and worldly shade,
Stains with dear blood its unmaternal nest!
weep vain tears: blood would less bitter be,
Yet poured forth gladlier, could it profit thee.
Are dead, indeed, my adored Nightin- From the twin lights thy sweet soul darkens through,