Imatges de pÓgina
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THE SWINE.-SEMICHORUS I.
The same, alas! the same;
Though only now the name
Of pig remains to me.

SEMICHORUS II.

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
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 styes 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.

FIRST SOW.

My pigs, 'tis in vain to tug.

SECOND SOw.

I could almost eat my litter.

FIRST PIG.

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

SECOND PIG.

Our skin and our bones would be bitter.

THE BOARS.

We fight for this rag of greasy rug,
Though a trough of wash would be fitter.

SEMICHORUS.

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 !
Swellf. This is sedition and rank blasphemy!
Ho! there, my guards!

Guard.

Enter a GUARD.

Your sacred Majesty.

Swellf. Call in the Jews, Solomon the court porkman,
Moses the sow-gelder, and Zephaniah the hog-butcher.
Guard. They are in waiting, Sire.

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,
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.

Moses.

Keep the boars quiet, else

Swellf

Let your Majesty

Zephaniah, cut

That fat hog's throat; the brute seems overfed;
Seditious hunks ! to whine for want of grains.

Zeph. 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-

Swellf.

'Tis all the same;

He'll serve instead of riot-money, when

Our murmuring troops bivouac 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.

Sol.

I could not give

Swellf.

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

Wizards.

Pur. 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!

Mam. 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

And t

To show his bilious face, go purge himself,

In emulation of her vestal whiteness.

Pur. Oh, would that this were all ! The oracle!
Mam. 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!

Pur.

The words went thus:

"Boeotia, choose reform or civil war !

When through the streets, instead of hare with dogs,
A Consort Queen shall hunt a King with hogs,

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;
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-

Pur.

You arch-priests
Believe in nothing; if you were to dream
Of a particular number in the lottery,
You would not buy the ticket?

Mam.

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,
Contrive their own fulfilment. This Iona-
Well-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 everything 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,-
Now there were danger in the precedent,

If Queen Iona

Purg.

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
Of utmost Ethiopia, to torment

* 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,
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,
Eolia and Elysium, and thy shores,
Parthenope, which now, alas! are free!
And through the fortunate Saturnian land,
Into the darkness of the West.

[blocks in formation]

This Gadfly should drive Iona hither?

Purg. 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,

And

Mam. 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-

Purg.

But my LEECH-a leech

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,

And who, till full, will cling for ever.

Mam.

This

For Queen Iona might suffice, and less;
But 'tis the swinish multitude I fear,
And in that fear I have-

Purg.

Mam.

Done what?

Disinherited

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

prone."-- Cymbeline.

Purg.

A good match!

Mam. A high connexion, Purganax. The bridegroom
Is of a very ancient family,

Of Hounslow Heath, Tyburn, and the New Drop,
And has great influence in both Houses;-Oh!
He makes the fondest husband; nay, too fond,-
New-married people should not kiss in public;
But the poor souls love one another so!
And then my little grandchildren, the gibbets,
Promising children as you ever saw,—

The young playing at hanging, the elder learning
How to hold radicals. They are well taught too,
For every gibbet says its catechism

And reads a select chapter in the Bible

Before it goes to play. [A most tremendous humming is heard.
Purg.
Ha! what do I hear?

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
Of the mountains, I come,

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!
I come! I come!

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,—
The impudent lamps! for they blushed not red,

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;

Hum! hum!

I have stung her and wrung her,

The venom is working;

And if you had hung her

With canting and quirking,

EE

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