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lofty and creative genius-quitting the glorious calling of discovering and announcing the beautiful and good, to support and propagate ignorant prejudices and pernicious errors; imparting to the unenlightened, not that ardour for truth and spirit of toleration which Shelley looked on as the sources of the moral improvement and happiness of mankind, but false and injurious opinions, that evil was good, and that ignorance and force were the best allies of purity and virtue. His idea was that a man gifted, even as transcendently as the author of Peter Bell, with the highest qualities of genius, must, if he fostered such errors, be infected with dullness. This poem was written as a warning-not as a narration of the reality. He was unacquainted personally with Wordsworth, or with Coleridge (to whom he alludes in the fifth part of the poem), and therefore, I repeat, his poem is purely ideal ;—it contains something of criticism on the compositions of those great poets, but nothing injurious to the men themselves.
No poem contains more of Shelley's peculiar views with regard to the errors into which many of the wisest have fallen, and the pernicious effects of certain opinions on society. Much of it is beautifully written : and, though, like the burlesque drama of Swellfoot, it must be looked on as a plaything, it has so much merit and poetryso much of himself in it—that it cannot fail to interest greatly, and by right belongs to the world for whose instruction and benefit it was written.
A TRAGEDY, IN TWO ACTS.
TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL DORIC.
Choose Reform or Civil War,
ADVERTISEMENT. This tragedy is one of a triad, or system of three plays (an arrangement according to which the Greeks were accustomed to connect their dramatic representations) elucidating the wonderful and appalling fortunes of the Swellfoot dynasty. It was evidently written by some learned Theban; and, from its characteristic dullness, apparently before the duties on the importation of Attic salt had been repealed by the Bæotarchs. The tenderness with which he treats the Pigs proves him to have been a sus Bæotiæ, possibly Epicuri de grege porcus; for, as the poet observes,
“A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind." No liberty has been taken with the translation of this remarkable piece of antiquity, except the suppressing a seditious and blasphemous chorus of the Pigs and Bulls at the last act. The word Hoydipouse (or more properly Edipus) has been rendered literally Swellfoot, without its having been conceived necessary to determine whether a swelling of the hind or the fore feet of the Swinish Monarch is particularly indi. cated.
Should the remaining portions of this tragedy be found, entitled Swellfoot in Angaria and Charité, the translator might be tempted to give them to the reading public.
TYRANT SWELLFOOT, King of Thebes.
The LEECH. Iona Taurina, his Queen.
The RAT. MAMMON, Arch-Priest of Famine.
Moses, the Sow-gelder.
SOLOMON, the Porkman.
CHORUS of the Swinish Multitude.
ACT I. SCENÉ I.—A magnificent Temple, built of thigh-bones and death's-heads,
and tiled with scalps. Over the altar the statue of Famine, veiled ; a number of Boars, Sows, and Sucking Pigs, crowned with thistle, shamrock, and oak, sitting on the steps, and clinging round the altar
of the Temple. Enter SWELLFoot, in his royal robes, without perceiving the Pigs.
Swell foot. Thou supreme Goddess, by whose power divine
[He contemplates himself with satisfaction.
Of their Eleusis, hail !
The Swine. Eigh! eigh! eigh! eigh!
Ha! what are ye,
Swine. Aigh! aigh! aigh!
What! ye that are
Swine. Ugh! ugh! ugh!
What! ye who grub
THE SWINE.--SEMICHORUS I.
What should we yield to thee?
CHORUS OF SWINE.
That pity was a royal thing.
The murrain and the mange, the scab and itch;
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.
Drowned in the Gadarean sea !
To bind your mortar with, or fill our colons
In policy-ask else your royal Solons-
Swellfoot. This is sedition and rank blasphemy!
Enter a GUARD.
Your sacred Majesty ?
Enter SOLOMON, Moses, and ZEPHANIAH.
[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. VOL. II.
Let your Majesty
Zephaniah. Your sacred Majesty, he has the dropsy;
'Tis all the same;
Why, your Majesty,
Kill them out of the way; That shall be price enough. And let me hear Their everlasting grunts and whines no more !
[Exeunt, driving in the Swine.
Enter MAMMON, the Arch-Priest ; and PYRGANAX, Chief of the
Council of Wizards.
Mammon. Why, what's the matter, my dear fellow, now?
Pyrganax. Oh would that this were all ! The oracle !
Mammon. Why, it was I who spoke that oracle ;