The interior of the temple of famine. The statue of the goddess, a skeleton clothed in parti-coloured rags, seated upon a heap of skulls and loaves intermingled. A number of exceedingly fat priests in black garments arrayed on each side, with marrow-bones and cleavers in their hands. [Solomon, the court porkman.] A flourish of trumpets.
ENTER MAMMON AS ARCH-PRIEST, SWELLFOOT, DAKRY, PURGANAX, LAOCTONOS, FOLLOWED BY IONA TAURINA GUARDED. ON THE OTHER SIDE ENTER THE SWINE.
CHORUS OF PRIESTS, ACCOMPANIED BY THE COURT PORKMAN ON MARROW-BONES AND CLEAVERS: GODDESS bare, and gaunt, and pale, Empress of the world, all hail! What though Cretans old called thee City-crested Cybele? We call thee FAMINE! Goddess of fasts and feasts, starving and cramming! Through thee, for emperors, kings, and priests and lords, Who rule by viziers, sceptres, bank-notes, words, The earth pours forth its plenteous fruits, Corn, wool, linen, flesh, and roots- Those who consume these fruits through thee grow fat, Those who produce these fruits through thee grow lean, Whatever change takes place, oh, stick to that! And let things be as they have ever been; At least while we remain thy priests, And proclaim thy fasts and feasts. Through thee the sacred SWELLF00T dynasty Is based upon a rock amid that sea Whose waves are Swine-so let it ever be!
[SWELLFOOT, ETC., SEAT THEMSELVES AT A TABLE MAGNIFICENTLY COVERED AT THE UPPER END OF THE TEMPLE. ATTENDANTS PASS OVER THE STAGE WITH HOG-WASH IN PAILS. A NUMBER OF PIGS, EXCEEDINGLY LEAN, FOLLOW THEM LICKING UP THE WASH.]
MAMMON: I fear your sacred Majesty has lost The appetite which you were used to have. Allow me now to recommend this dish- A simple kickshaw by your Persian cook, Such as is served at the great King's second table. The price and pains which its ingredients cost Might have maintained some dozen families A winter or two-not more-so plain a dish Could scarcely disagree.-
SWELLFOOT: After the trial, And these fastidious Pigs are gone, perhaps I may recover my lost appetite,- I feel the gout flying about my stomach- Give me a glass of Maraschino punch.
PURGANAX (FILLING HIS GLASS, AND STANDING UP): The glorious Constitution of the Pigs!
ALL: A toast! a toast! stand up, and three times three!
DAKRY: No heel-taps-darken daylights! -
LAOCTONOS: Claret, somehow, Puts me in mind of blood, and blood of claret!
SWELLFOOT: Laoctonos is fishing for a compliment, But 'tis his due. Yes, you have drunk more wine, And shed more blood, than any man in Thebes. [TO PURGANAX.] For God's sake stop the grunting of those Pigs!
PURGANAX: We dare not, Sire, 'tis Famine's privilege.
CHORUS OF SWINE: Hail to thee, hail to thee, Famine! Thy throne is on blood, and thy robe is of rags; Thou devil which livest on damning; Saint of new churches, and cant, and GREEN BAGS, Till in pity and terror thou risest, Confounding the schemes of the wisest; When thou liftest thy skeleton form, When the loaves and the skulls roll about, We will greet thee-the voice of a storm Would be lost in our terrible shout!
Then hail to thee, hail to thee, Famine! Hail to thee, Empress of Earth! When thou risest, dividing possessions; When thou risest, uprooting oppressions, In the pride of thy ghastly mirth; Over palaces, temples, and graves, We will rush as thy minister-slaves, Trampling behind in thy train, Till all be made level again!
MAMMON: I hear a crackling of the giant bones Of the dread image, and in the black pits Which once were eyes, I see two livid flames. These prodigies are oracular, and show The presence of the unseen Deity. Mighty events are hastening to their doom!
SWELLFOOT: I only hear the lean and mutinous Swine Grunting about the temple.
DAKRY: In a crisis Of such exceeding delicacy, I think We ought to put her Majesty, the QUEEN, Upon her trial without delay.
MAMMON: THE BAG Is here.
PURGANAX: I have rehearsed the entire scene With an ox-bladder and some ditchwater, On Lady P-; it cannot fail. [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 has fixed, as by a spell, Upon my brow-which would stain all its seas, But which those seas could never wash away!
IONA TAURINA: My Lord, I am ready-nay, I am impatient To undergo the test. [A GRACEFUL FIGURE IN A SEMI-TRANSPARENT VEIL PASSES UNNOTICED THROUGH THE TEMPLE; THE WORD "LIBERTY" IS SEEN THROUGH THE VEIL, AS IF IT WERE WRITTEN IN FIRE UPON ITS 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 LOUDER AND LOUDER.] Mighty Empress! Death's white wife! Ghastly mother-in-law of Life! By the God who made thee such, By the magic of thy touch, By the starving and the cramming Of fasts and feasts! by thy dread self, O Famine! I charge thee! when thou wake the multitude, Thou lead them not upon the paths of blood. The earth did never mean her foison For those who crown life's cup with poison Of fanatic rage and meaningless revenge- But for those radiant spirits, who are still The standard-bearers in the van of Change. Be they th' appointed stewards, to fill The lap of Pain, and Toil, and Age!- Remit, O Queen! thy accustomed rage! Be what thou art not! In voice faint and low FREEDOM calls "Famine",-her eternal foe, To brief alliance, hollow truce.-Rise now!
[WHILST THE VEILED FIGURE HAS BEEN CHANTING THIS STROPHE, MAMMON, DAKRY, LAOCTONOS, AND SWELLFOOT, HAVE SURROUNDED IONA TAURINA, WHO, WITH HER HANDS 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 TRJPPED UP BY THE SKULLS; ALL THOSE WHO EAT THE LOAVES ARE TURNED INTO BULLS, AND ARRANGE THEMSELVES QUIETLY BEHIND THE ALTAR. 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 leaf any gate in all Boeotia, Even the palings of the royal park, Or double ditch about the new enclosures; 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]: Hoa! hoa! tallyho! tallyho! ho! ho! Come, let us hunt these ugly badgers down, 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. Tallyho! ho! Through forest, furze, and bog, and den, and desert, Pursue the ugly beasts! tallyho! ho!
FULL CHORUS OF I0NA AND THE SWINE: Tallyho! tallyho! Through rain, hail, and snow, Through brake, gorse, and briar, Through fen, flood, and mire, We go! we go!
Tallyho! tallyho! Through pond, ditch, and slough, Wind them, and find them, Like the Devil behind them, Tallyho! tallyho!
[EXEUNT, IN FULL CRY; IONA DRIVING ON THE SWINE, WITH THE EMPTY GEEEN BAG.]