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lofty and creative genius-quitting the glorious calling of discovering and announcing the beautiful and good, to support and propagate ignorant prejudices and pernicious errors; imparting to the unenlightened, not that ardour for truth and spirit of toleration which Shelley looked on as the sources of the moral improvement and happiness of mankind, but false and injurious opinions, that evil was good, and that ignorance and force were the best allies of purity and virtue. His idea was that a man gifted, even as transcendently as the author of Peter Bell, with the highest qualities of genius, must, if he fostered such errors, be infected with dullness. This poem was written as a warning-not as a narration of the reality. He was unacquainted personally with Wordsworth, or with Coleridge (to whom he alludes in the fifth part of the poem), and therefore, I repeat, his poem is purely ideal ;-it contains something of criticism on the compositions of those great poets, but nothing injurious to the men themselves.

No poem contains more of Shelley's peculiar views with regard to the errors into which many of the wisest have fallen, and the pernicious effects of certain opinions on society. Much of it is beautifully written: and, though, like the burlesque drama of Swellfoot, it must be looked on as a plaything, it has so much merit and poetryso much of himself in it—that it cannot fail to interest greatly, and by right belongs to the world for whose instruction and benefit it was written.




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.


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Theban; and, from its characteristic dullness, apparently before the duties on the importation of Attic salt had been repealed by the Bootarchs.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 Baotia, possibly Epicuri de grege porcus; for, as the poet observes,

"A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind."

No liberty has been taken with the 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.

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SCENE I.-A magnificent Temple, built of thigh-bones and death's-heads, and tiled with scalps. Over the altar the statue of Famine, veiled; a number of Boars, Sows, and Sucking Pigs, crowned with thistle, shamrock, and oak, sitting on the steps, and clinging round the altar of the Temple.

Enter SWELLFOOT, in his royal robes, without perceiving the Pigs. Swell foot. THOU supreme Goddess, by whose power divine These graceful limbs are clothed in proud array

[He contemplates 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 these
Boeotian cheeks, like Egypt's pyramid,
(Nor with less toil were their foundations laid)
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 sacred vows! thou plenteous Ceres

Of their Eleusis, hail!

The Swine. Eigh! eigh! eigh! eigh!


Ha! what are ye,

Who, crowned with leaves devoted to the Furies,

Cling round this sacred shrine?

Swine. Aigh! aigh! aigh!


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. Ugh! ugh! ugh!


What! ye who grub

With filthy snouts my red potatoes up
In Allen'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 same, alas! the same;
Though only now the name
Of Pig remains to me.


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.


I have heard your Laureate sing

That pity was a royal thing.

Under your mighty ancestors, we Pigs

Were blessed as nightingales on myrtle sprigs,

Or grasshoppers that live on noonday 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.


My Pigs, 'tis in vain to tug!


I could almost eat my litter!


I suck, but no milk will come from the dug.


Our skin and our bones would be bitter.


We fight for this rag of greasy rug,

Though a trough of wash would be fitter.

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

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 sties well thatched; besides, it is the law!
Swellfoot. This is sedition and rank blasphemy!
Ho! there, my guards!


Enter a 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.


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.



Keep the Boars quiet, else—


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.


'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.


I could not give—


Why, your Majesty,

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 PYRGANAX, Chief of the Council of Wizards.

Pyrganax. 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!

Mammon. 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.

Pyrganax. Oh would that this were all! The oracle!
Mammon. 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.

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