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All. A toast! a toast! Stand up, and three times three ! Dakry. No heeltaps-darken daylights!
Puts me in mind of blood, and blood of claret.
Swellfoot. Laoctonos is fishing for a compliment,— But 'tis his due. Yes, you have drunk more wine, And shed more blood, than any man in Thebes.
For God's sake stop the grunting of those Pigs.
CHORUS OF SWINE.
Hail to thee, hail to thee, Famine!
Thy throne is on blood, and thy robe is of rags,
Saint of new churches, and cant, and Green Bags!
When thou liftest thy skeleton form,
When the loaves and the skulls roll about,
Then hail to thee, hail to thee, Famine!
When thou risest, dividing possessions,
Mammon. I hear a crackling of the giant bones
Of the dread image, and in the black pits
Which once were eyes I see two livid flames :
These prodigies are oracular, and show
The presence of the unseen Deity.
Mighty events are hastening to their doom!
Swellfoot. I only hear the lean and mutinous Swine
Grunting about the temple.
We ought to put her Majesty the Queen
Upon her trial without delay.
Pyrganax. I have rehearsed the entire scene,
[Taking up the bag. Your Majesty (to SWELLFOOT)
In such a filthy business had better
Upon my brow-which would stain all its seas,
lona Taurina. My lord, I am ready-nay I am impatientTo undergo the test.
[A graceful figure in a semi-transparent veil passes unnoticed through the temple; the word LIBERTY is seen through the veil, as if it were written in fire upon its forehead. Its words are almost drowned in the furious grunting of the Pigs, and the business of the trial. She kneels on the steps of the Altar, and speaks in tones at first faint and low, but which ever become louder and louder.
Mighty Empress! Death's white wife!
Ghastly mother-in-law of Life!
By the God who made thee such,
By the magic of thy touch,
By the starving, and the cramming
Of fasts and feasts !-by thy dread self, O Famine !
I charge thee, when thou wake the multitude,
Thou lead them not upon the paths of blood!
The earth did never mean her foison
For those who crown life's cup with poison Of fanatic rage and meaningless revenge
But for those radiant spirits who are still The standard-bearers in the van of Change.
Be they the appointed stewards to fill
Freedom calls Famine, her eternal foe,
To brief alliance, hollow truce.-Rise now!
[Whilst the Veiled Figure has been chanting 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.
[PYRGANAX, after unsealing the GREEN 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, the Pigs begin scrambling for the loaves, and are tripped up by the skulls; all those who eat the loaves are turned into Bulls, and arrange themselves quietly behind the altar. The image of FAMINE sinks through a chasm in the earth, and a MINOTAUR rises.
Minotaur. I am the Ionian Minotaur, the mightiest
Of all Europa's taurine progeny—
I am the old traditional Man Bull.
And, from my ancestors' having been Ionian,
Or double ditch about the new enclosures;
[During this speech she has been putting on boots and spurs, and a hunting-cap buckishly cocked on one side, and, tucking up her hair, she leaps nimbly on his back.
Hoa! hoa! tallyho! tallyho! ho! ho!
These hares, these wolves, these anything but men !
Now let your noses be as keen as beagles',
FULL CHORUS OF IONA AND THE SWINE.
Through brake, gorse, and briar,
Like the devil behind them!
[Exeunt, in full cry; IONA driving on the SWINE, with the empty GREEN BAG.
SHELLEY'S NOTES TO CEDIPUS TYRANNUS.
Nor with less toil were their foundations laid.
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.
The Gadfly was the same which Juno sent
The Prometheus Bound of Æschylus.
And which Ezekiel mentions
"And the Lord whistled for the gadfly out of Ethiopia, and for the bee out of Egypt," &c.-EZEKIEL.
CEDIPUS TYRANNUS—MRS SHELLEY'S NOTE.
And married her to the Gallows.
"Unless a man would marry a gallows, and beget young gibbets, I never saw one so prone."-CYMBELINE.
Erin's laureate sings it.
"Rich and rare were the gems she wore."
See Moore's Irish Melodies.
NOTE ON CEDIPUS TYRANNUS, BY MRS. SHELLEY.
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 Castlereagh placed the "Green Bag" on the table of the House of Commons, demanding in the King's name that an enquiry 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 political-satirical 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
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.