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OR, SWELLFOOT THE TYRANT.
The price and pains which its ingredients cost,
Might have maintained some dozen families
A winter or two-not more—80 plain a dish
Could scarcely disagree. -
After the trial,
And these fastidious pigs are gone, perhaps
I may recover my lost appetite, -
I feel the gout flying about my stomach-
Give me a glass of Maraschino punch.
Purganax (filling his glass and standing up).
The glorious constitution of the pigs.
Aů. A toast! a toast ! stand up, and three times three !
Dakry. No heel-taps—darken day-lights !
Claret, somehow, • 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.
[To PURGANAX For God's sake stop the grunting of those pigs. Purganar. 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 robe is of rags;
Thou devil which livest on damning;
Saint of new churches, and cant, and GREEN Bags;
Till in pity and terror thou risest,
Confounding the schemes of the wisest.
When thou liftest thy skeleton form,
When the loaves and the skulls roll about,
We will greet thee- the voice of a storm
Would be lost in our terrible shout!
Then hail to thee, hail to thee, Famine !
Hail to thee, Empress of Earth !
When thou risest, dividing possessions;
When thou risest, uprooting oppressions ;
In the pride of thy ghastly mirth.
Over palaces, temples, and graves,
We will rush as thy minister-slaves,
Trampling behind in thy train,
Till all be made level again!
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.
In a crisis
Of such exceeding delicacy, I think
We ought to put her majesty, the QUEEN,
Upon her trial without delay.
Purganax. I have rehearsed the entire scene
With an ox-bladder and some ditch-water.
On Lady P.-it cannot fail.
[Taking up the bag.
Your majesty (to SWELLFOOT) In such a filthy business had better Stand on one side, lest it should sprinkle you. A spot or two on me would do no harm; Nay, it might hide the blood, which 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.
[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 thy 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 th' appointed stewards, to fill
The lap of Pain, and Toil, and Age !-
Remit, o Queen! thy accustom'd rage !
Be what thou art not! In voice faint and low
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 busi-
ness, in perfect confidence of her innocence.
PURGANAX, 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 FĂMine 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,
I am called Ion, which, by interpretation,
Is John; in plain Theban, that is to say,
My name's JOHN BULL; I am a famous hunter,
And can leap any gate in all Bæotia,
Even the palings of the royal park,
Or double ditch about the new inclosures ;
And if your majesty will deign to mount me,
At least till you have hunted down your game,
I will not throw you.
(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 1 ho !
Come, let us hunt these ugly badgers down,
These stinking foxes, these devouring otters,
These hares, these wolves, these anything but men.
Hey, for a whipper-in i 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
Of village towers, on sunshine holiday;
Wake all the dewy woods with jangling music.
Give them no law are they not beasts of blood ?)
But such as they gave you. Tallyho I ho 1
358 EDIPUS TYRANNUS; OR, SWELLFOOT THE TYRANT.
Through forest, furze, and bog, and den, and desert,
Pursue the ugly beasts ! tallyho ! ho !
FULL CHORUS OF IoNA AND THE SWINE.
Tallyho ! tallyho !
Through rain, hail, and snow,
Through brake, gorse, and briar,
Through fen, flood, and mire,
We go I we go!
Tallyho ! tallyho !
Through pond, ditch, and slough,
Wind them, and find them,
Like the devil behind them,
Tallyho ! tallyho !
(Breunt, in full cry; Iona driving on the SWINE, with the
empty GREEN BAG.
A SUMMER-EVENING CHURCH.YARD.
THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sun-set's ray;
And pallid evening twines its beaming hair
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of day :
Silence and twilight, unbeloved of men,
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.
They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea; Light, sound, and motion own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery. The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.
Thou too, aërial Pile ! whose pinnacles
Point from one sbrine like pyramids of fire,
Obeyest in silence their sweet solemn spells,
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
Around whose lessening and invisible height
Gather among the stars the clouds of night.
The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres :
And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound,
Half sense, half thought, among the darkness stirs,
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around, And mingling with the still night and mute sky Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.
Thus solemnised and softened, death is mild
And terrorless as this serenest night : Here could I hope, like some inquiring child
Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.