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NOTE ON THE WITCH OF
want of it took away a portion of the
ardour that ought to have sustained bin ATLAS, BY MRS. SHELLEY
while writing. He was thrown on his We spent the summer of 1820 at the own resources, and on the inspiration of Baths of San Giuliano, four miles from his own soul ; and wrote because his Pisa. These baths were of great use to
mind overflowed, without the hope of Shelley in soothing his nervous irritability.
being appreciated. I had not the most We made several excursions in the neigh- distant wish that he should truchle in bourhood. The country around is fertile opinion, or submit his lofty aspirations and diversified and rendered picturesque
for the human race to the low ambition by ranges of near hills and more distant and pride of the many ; but I felt sure mountains. The peasantry are a hand that, if his poems were more addressert to some intelligent race; and there was a
the common feelings of men, his proper gladsome sunny heaven spread over us,
rank among the writers of the day would that rendered home and every scene we
be acknowledged, and that populanty visited cheerful and bright. During some
as a poet would enable his countrymen of the hottest days of August, Shelley
to do justice to his character and virtues, made a solitary journey on foot to the
which in those days it was the mode ta summit of Monte San Pellegrino-a
attack with the most flagitious czluninies
That he felt these mountain of some height on the top of and insulting abuse. which there is a chapel, the object, during
things deeply cannot be doubted, though certain days of the year, of many pilgrim
he armed himself with the consciousness ages. The excursion delighted him while
of acting from a lofty and heroic sense of it lasted; though he exerted himself too
right. The truth burst from his heart much and the effect was considerable sometimes in solitude, and he would lassitude and weakness on his return. write a few unfinished verses that showed During the expedition he conceived the
that he felt the sting; among such I find idea, and wrote, in the three days im
the following:mediately succeeding to his return, the
"Alas! this is not what I thought Life was Iitch of Atlas. This poem is peculiarly I knew that there were crimes and evil men, characteristic of his tastes-wildly fanciful, Misery and hate; nor did I hope to pass full of brilliant imagery, and discarding
Untouched by suffering through the rugged
glen. human interest and passion, to revel in | In mine own heart I saw as in a glass the fantastic ideas that his imagination The hearts of others. ... And, when suggested.
I went among my kind, with triple brass The surpassing excellence of The Cencil
Of calm endurance my weak breast I amed,
To bear scorn, fear, and hate-a woful mass! had made me greatly desire that Shelley should increase his popularity by adopt. I believed that all this morbid feeling ing subjects that would more suit the would vanish if the chord of sympathy popular taste than a poem conceived in between him and his countrymen were the abstract and dreamy spirit of the touched. But my persuasions were vain. IVitch of Atlas. It was not only that I the mind could not be bent from its wished him to acquire popularity as rc. natural inclination. Shelley shrunk indounding to his fame ; but I believed stinctively from pourtraying human pis. that he would obtain a greater mastery sion, with its mixture of good and evil. over his own powers, and greater happi. of disappointment and disquiet. Such ness in his mind, if public applause opened again the wounds of his own crowned his endeavours. The few stanzas heart; and he loved to shelter himself that precede the poem were addressed to rather in the airiest fights of fancy, me on my representing these ideas to him. forgetting love and hate, and regret and Even now I believe that I was in the lost hope, in such imaginations as borright. Shelley did not expect sympathy rowed their hues from sunrise or sunset, and approbation from the public; but the from the yellow moonshine or paly (wi.
light, from the aspect of the far ocean or translation of this remarkable piece of
Tragedy be found, entitled, “Swellfoot in
might be tempted to give them to the EDIPUS TYRANNUS reading Public.
SCENE.—THEBES This Tragedy is one of a triad, or
ACT I system of three Plays (an arrangement according to which the Greeks were accus-SCENE I.--A magnificent Temple, tomed to connect their dramatic represen. built of thigh-bones and death's heads, tations), elucidating the wonderful and and tiled with scalps. Over the Altar appalling fortunes of the SWELLFOOT the statue of Famine, veiled ; a dynasty. It was evidently written by number of boars, sows, and sucking some learned Theban, and, from its
pigs, crowned with thistle, shamrock, characteristic dulness, apparently before and oak, sitting on the steps, and the duties on the importation of Attic salt
clinging round the altar of the Temple. had been repealed by the Bocotarchs. The tenderness with which he treats the Enter SwellFoot, in his Royal robes, PIGS proves him to have been a sus Bæotia'; without percciving the Pigs. possibly Epicuri de grege porcus; for, as Swellfoot. Thou supreme Goddess ! the poet observes,
by whose power divine "A fellow feeling makes us wond'rous kind." These graceful limbs are clothed in No liberty has been taken with the proud array
[Hecontemplates himself with satisfaction. Which should be given to cleaner Pigs Of gold and purple, and this kingly
than you? paunch
The Swine.--Semichorus 1. Swells like a sail before a favouring The same, alas! the same; breeze,
Though only now the name And these most sacred nether promon. Of pig remains to me. tories
Semichorus II. Lie satisfied with layers of fat; and Ir 'twere your kingly will these
L's wretched swine to kill, Baotian cheeks, like Egypt's pyramid,
What should we yield to thee? (Nor with less toil were their foundations Swellfoot. Why skin and bones, and laid,?)
some few hairs for mortar. Sustain the cone of my untroubled brain,
Chorus of Swine. That point, the emblem of a pointless I have heard your Laureate sing, nothing!
That pity was a royal thing; Thou to whom Kings and laurelled Under your mighty ancestors, we pigs Emperors,
Were bless'd as nightingales on myrtie Radical-butchers, Paper-money-millers,
sprigs, Bishops and deacons, and the entire army Or grasshoppers that live on noonday Of those fat martyrs to the persecution
dew, Of stilling turtle-soup, and brandy-devils, And sung, old annals tell, as sweetly too, Offer their secret vows! Thou plenteous But now our styes are fallen in, we catch Ceres
The murrain and the mange, the scab Of their Eleusis, hail !
and itch; The Swine. Eigh! eigh! eigh! eigh! Sometimes your royal dogs tear down Swellfoot.
Ha! what are ye, our thatch, Who, crowned with leaves devoted to And then we seek the shelter of a ditch; the Furies,
Hog-wash or grains, or ruta baga, none Cling round this sacred shrine?
Has yet been ours since your reign Swine. Aigh! aigh! aigh !
begun. Swellfoot. What! ye that are
I could almost eat my litter. Ever propitiate her reluctant will
First Pixi When taxes are withheld ?
I suck, but no milk will come from Swine. Ugh! ugh! ugh!
the dug. Swellfoot. What! ye who grub
Second Pigs With filthy snouts my red potatoes up Our skin and our bones would be In Allan's rushy bog? Who eat the oats
bitter. Up, from my cavalry in the Hebrides? Who swill the hog-wash soup my cooks We fight for this rag of greasy rug, digest
Though a trough of wash would be From bones, and rags, and scraps of fitter. shoe-leather,
Semichorus. I See l'niversal History for an account of the Happier swine were they than we, number of people who died, and the immense Drowned in the Gadarean seaconsumption of garlic by the wretched Egyp. I wish that pity would drive out the tians, who made a sepulchre for the name as well as the bodies of their tyrants.
Which in your royal bosom hold their | Zephaniah. Your sacred Majesty, he revels,
has the dropsy ;And sink us in the waves of thy com. We shall find pints of hydatids in's
passion! Alas! the Pigs are an unhappy nation! He has not half an inch of wholesome fat Now if your Majesty would have our | Upon his carious ribs--bristles
'Tis all the same, To bind your mortar with, or fill our He'll serve instead of riot money, when colons
Our murmuring troops bivouac in With rich blood, or make brawn out of Thebes' streets; our gristles,
And January winds, after a day In policy-ask else your royal Solons- of butchering, will make them relish You ought to give us hog-wash and clean carrion. straw,
Now, Solomon, I'll sell you in a lump And styes well thatched; besides it is The whole kit of them. the law !
| Solomon. Why, your Majesty, Swellfoot. This is sedition, and rank I could not give--blasphemy!
Kill them out of Ho! there, my guards !
the way, Enter a GUARD.
That shall be price enough, and let me Guard. Your sacred Majesty.
hear Swellfoot. Call in the Jews, Solomon | Their everlasting grunts and whines no the court porkman,
more! Moses the sow-gelder, and Zephaniah
[Exeunt, driving in the swin. The hog-butcher.
| Enter MAMMON, the Arch-Priest; and Guard. They are in waiting, Sire. PURGANAX, Chief of the Council of Enter SOLOMON, MOSES, and
l'urganax. The future looks as black Swellfoot. Out with your knife, old as death, a cloud,
Moses, and spay those sows, Dark as the frown of Hell, hangs overit[The pigs run about in consternation. The troops grow mutinous-the revenue That load the earth with pigs; cut close I
| There's something rotten in us---for the Moral restraint I see has no effect,
level Nor prostitution, nor our own example, of the State slopes, its very bases topple, Starvation, typhus - fever, war, nor The boldest turn their backs upon themprison
selves ! This was the art which the arch-priest Mammon. Why what's the matter, of Famine
my dear fellow, now? Hinted at in his charge to the Theban Do the troops mutiny ?-decimate some clergy
regiments; Cut close and deep, good Moses. Does money fail ?- come to my mintMoses.
Let your Majesty coin paper, Keep the boars quiet, else-- | Till gold be at a discount, and ashamed Swellfoot,
Zephaniah, cut to show his bilious face, go purge That fat hog's throat, the brute seems himself, overfed ;
In emulation of her vestal whiteness. Seditious hunks! to whine for want of Purganax. Oh, would that this were grains.
all! The oracle!!
Mammon. Why it was I who spoke And these dull swine of Thebes bues: that oracle,
their descent And whether I was dead drunk or From the free Minotaur. You know inspired,
they still I cannot well remember ; nor, in truth, Call themselves Bulls, though thus deThe oracle itself!
generate, Purganax. The words went thus:- And everything relating to a bull “ Boeotia, choose reform or civil war! Is popular and respectable in Thebe When through thy streets, instead of Their arms are seven bulls in a tieki hare with dogs,
gules, A Consort Queen shall hunt a King with They think their strength consists in hogs,
eating beef,Riding on the Ionian Minotaur.” Now there were danger in the precedent Mammon. Now if the oracle had If Queen Ionane'er foretold
| Purganax. I have taken good care This sad alternative, it must arrive, That shall not be. I struck the crust Or not, and so it must now that it has,
o the earth And whether I was urged by grace With this enchanted rod, and Hell liy divine,
bare! Or Lesbian liquor to declare these words, And from a cavern full of ugly shapes, Which must, as all words must, be false I chose a LEECH, a GADFLY, and a Kar. or true ;
The gadily was the same which Juno It matters not: for the same power
sent made all,
To agitate lo, and which Ezekiel ? Oracle, wine, and me and you — or mentions none
That the Lord whistled for out of the 'Tis the same thing. If you knew as mountains much
or utmost Æthiopia, to torment Of oracles as I do
Mesopotamian Babylon. The beast Purganax.
You arch-priests Has a loud trumpet like the Scarabee, Believe in nothing; if you were to His crooked tail is barbed with many dream
stings, of a particular number in the Lottery, Each able to make a thousand wounds, You would not buy the ticket?
and each 1/ummon.
Yet our tickets Immedicable; from his convex eyes Are seldom blanks. But what steps He sees fair things in many hideous
have you taken? For prophecies when once they get And trumpets all his falsehood to the abroad,
world. Like liars who tell the truth to serve Like other beetles he is fed on dungtheir ends,
He has eleven feet with which he crawls, Or hypocrites who, from assuming virtue, Trailing a blistering slime, and this foul Do the same actions that the virtuous do, beast Contrive their own fulfilment. This Ilas tracked lona from the Theban lona
limits, Well-you know what the chaste Pasi. phae did,
1 The Prometheus Pound of Æschylus. Wife to that most religious King of Crete,
! And the Lord whistled for the gadtly out
* of Æthiopia, and for the bee of Egypt, etc.And still how popular the tale is here ; EZEKIEL