« AnteriorContinuar »
Of such exceeding delicacy, I think
(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 bas fixed, as by a spell, Upon my brow—which would stain all its seas, But which those seas could never wash away!
(A graceful figure in a semitransparent veil passes un
noticed through the Temple; the word LIBERTY is seen through the veil, as if it were written in fire upon uts 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
By the starving and the cramming
But for those radiant spirits, who are still
Be they th' appointed stewards, to fill
( Whilst the veiled figure has been chaunting the strophe, MAMMON, DAKRY, LAOCTONOS, and SWELLFOO'r, have surrounded Iona Taurina, who, with her huniis 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. 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 ultar. 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, 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.
IONA TAURINA. (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. Ho, ho! tally-ho! tally-ho, ho, ho ! Come, let us hunt these ngly badgers down,
These stinking foxes, these devouring utters, These hares, these wolves, these anything but
Hey, for a whipper-in! my loyal pigs,
FULL CHORUS OF IONA AND THE SWINE.
We go, we go!
Tally-ho, tally-ho !
the empty GREEN BAG.
NOTE ON EDIPUS TYRANNUS
BY THE EDITOR.
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 inquiry should be instituted into his wife's conduct. These circumstances were the theme of all converbation 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 oi' frogs" in the satiric
rama 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 ts «xistence 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 i contest, and it was laid aside.