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THE SWINE.-SEMICHORUS I.
If 'twere your kingly will
Us wretched swine to kill,
What should we yield to thee?
Swellf. Why, skin and bones, and some few hairs for mortar.
CHORUS OF SWINE.
I have heard your Laureate sing
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 styes are fallen in, we catch
The murrain and the mange, the scab and itch;
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,
Happier swine were they than we,
I wish that pity would drive out the devils,
You ought to give us hog-wash and clean straw,
Enter a GUARD.
Your sacred Majesty.
Swellf. Call in the Jews, Solomon the court porkman,
Enter SOLOMON, MOSES, and ZEPHANIAH.
Swellf. 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,
This was the art which the arch-priest of Famine
Keep the boars quiet, else
Let your Majesty
That fat hog's throat; the brute seems overfed;
Zeph. Your sacred Majesty, he has the dropsy;
He has not half an inch of wholesome fat
'Tis all the same;
He'll serve instead of riot-money, when
Our murmuring troops bivouac in Thebes' streets;
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;
[Exeunt, driving in the Swine.
That shall be price enough, and let me hear
Their everlasting grunts and whines no more!
Enter MAMMON, the Arch-Priest; and PURGANAX, Chief of the Council of
Pur. The future looks as black as death, a cloud,
Dark as the frown of Hell, hangs over it.
Mam. Why, what's the matter, my dear fellow, now?
To show his bilious face, go purge himself,
In emulation of her vestal whiteness.
Pur. Oh, would that this were all ! The oracle!
And whether I was dead-drunk or inspired,
I cannot well remember; nor, in truth,
The oracle itself!
The words went thus:
"Boeotia, choose reform or civil war !
When through the streets, instead of hare with dogs,
Riding on the Ionian Minotaur."
Mam. 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;
Yet our tickets
Are seldom blanks. But what steps have you taken ?
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,
And still how popular the tale is here;
And these dull swine of Thebes boast their descent
Is popular and respectable in Thebes.
Their arms are seven bulls in a field gules,
They think their strength consists in eating beef,-
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 Ezechielt mentions
That the Lord whistled for out of the mountains
* The Prometheus Bound of Eschylus.
"And the Lord whistled for the gadfly out of Æthiopia, and for the bee of Egypt," &c.-Ezechiel.
Mesopotamian Babylon. The beast
Has a loud trumpet like the Scarabee,
His crooked tail is barbed with many stings,
He sees fair things in many hideous shapes,
This Gadfly should drive Iona hither?
Purg. Gods! what an if! but there is my grey RAT;
Of any narrow chink and filthy hole,
And he shall creep into her dressing-room,
Mam. My dear friend, where are your wits! as if
And bait the trap? and rats, when lean enough
But my LEECH-a leech
Fit to suck blood, with lubricous round rings,
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
And who, till full, will cling for ever.
For Queen Iona might suffice, and less;
My eldest son Chrysaor, because he
Attended public meetings, and would always
Stand prating there of commerce, public faith,
Economy, and unadulterate coin,
And other topics, ultra-radical;
And have entailed my estate, called the Fool's Paradise,
And funds in fairy-money, bonds, and bills,
Upon my accomplished daughter Banknotina,
And married her to the gallows.
"If one should marry a gallows, and beget young gibbets, I never saw ɗe so
A good match!
Mam. A high connexion, Purganax. The bridegroom
Of Hounslow Heath, Tyburn, and the New Drop,
The young playing at hanging, the elder learning
And reads a select chapter in the Bible
Before it goes to play. [A most tremendous humming is heard.
Enter the GADFLY.
Mam. Your Gadfly, as it seems, is tired of gadding.
Gadfly. Hum! hum! hum!
From the lakes of the Alps, and the cold grey scalps
Hum! hum! hum!
From Morocco and Fez, and the high palaces
Of golden Byzantium;
From the temples divine of old Palestine,
From Athens and Rome,
With a ha! and a hum!
All inn-doors and windows
Were open to me:
I saw all that sin does,
Which lamps hardly see
That burn in the night by the curtained bed,—
Dinging and singing,
From slumber I rung her,
Loud as the clank of an ironmonger;
Hum! hum! hum!
Far, far, far!
With the trump of my lips, and the sting at my hips,
I drove her-afar!
Far, far, far!
From city to city, abandoned of pity,
A ship without needle or star;
Homeless she passed, like a cloud on the blast,
Seeking peace, finding war;
She is here in her car,
From afar and afar;
I have stung her and wrung her,
The venom is working;
And if you had hung her
With canting and quirking,