Page images
PDF
EPUB

These stinking foxes, these devouring otters, These hares, these wolves, these anything but

men.

Hey, for a whipper-in! 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. Tally-ho, ho !
Through forest, furze, and bog, and den, and

desert,
Pursue the ugly beasts ! Tally-ho, ho!

FULL CHORUS OF IONA AND THE SWINE.

Tally-ho, tally-ho!
Through rain, hail, and snow,
Through brake, gorse, and brier,
Through fen, flood, and mire,

We go, we go!

Tally-ho, tally-ho!
Through pond, ditch, and slough,
Wind them, and find them,
Like the Devil behind them !

Tally-ho, tally-ho!
[Exeunt, in full cry; Iona driving on the SWINE, with

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 Bagon 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 conversation 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 drama 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dawn of its existence by the “Society for the Suppression of Vice," who threatened to prosecute it, if not immediately withdrawn.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 a contest, and it was laid aside.

Hesitation of whether it would do honour to Shelley prevented my publishing it at first; but I cannot bring myself to keep back any thing he ever wrote, for each word is fraught with the peculiar views and sentiments which he believed to be beneficial to the human race; and the bright light of poetry irradiates every thought. The world has a right to the entire compositions of such a man; for it does not live and thrive by the outworn lesson of the dullard or the hypocrite, but by the original free thoughts of men of genius, who aspire to pluck bright truth

" froin the pale-faced moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned”

truth. Even those who may dissent from his opinions will consider that he was a man of genius, and that the world will take more interest in his slightest word, than from the waters of Lethe, which are so eagerly prescribed as medicinal for all its wrongs and woes. This drama, however, must not be judged for more than was meant. It is a mere plaything of the imagination, which even may not excite smiles among many, who will not see wit in those combinations of thought which were full the ridiculous to the author. But, like every thing he wrote, it breathes that deep sympathy for the sorrows of humanity, and indignation against its oppressors, which make it worthy of his name.

EARLY POEMS.

A SUMMER-EVENING CHURCH-YARD,

LECHLADE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE.

THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere

Each vapour that obscured the sunset'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 toward 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 shrine 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 solemnized 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.

MUTABILITY.

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon ;

How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver, Streaking the darkness radiantly !-yet soon

Night closes round, and they are lost for ever :

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings

Give various response to each varying blast, To whose frail frame no second motion brings

One mood or modulation like the last.

« EelmineJätka »