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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 SolonsYou ought to give us hog-wash and clean straw, And sties well thatched; besides, it is the

SWELLFOOT.

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

[blocks in formation]

Call in the Jews, Solomon the court porkman, Moses the sow-gelder, and Zephaniah the hoge

butcher.

GUARD.

They are in waiting, sire.

Enter SOLOMON, MOSES, and ZEPHANIAH.

SWELLFOOT.

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.

Let your majesty

Keep the boars quiet, else

SWELLFOOT.

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

ZEPHANIAH.

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.

SWELLFOOT.

'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.

SOLOMON.

Why, your majesty,

I could not gire

SWELLFOOT.

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 PURGANAX, Chief

of the Council of Wizards.

PURGANAX.

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 !

MAMMON.

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
To show his bilious face, go purge himself,
In emulation of her vestal whiteness.

PURGANAX.

O, would that this were all! The oracle !

MAMMON.

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 !

PURGANAX.

The words went thus: “ Beotia, 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.”

MAMMON.

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-

PURGANAX.

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

MAMMON.

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 IonaWell-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 de

scent From the free Minotaur. You know they still Call themselves bulls, though thus degenerate ; And every thing 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

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PURGANAX.

I have taken good care That shall not be. I struck the crust oʻthe 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 gadily was the same which Juno sent

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