Imatges de pÓgina
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66 COMPLAINT.

"How seldom, friend, a good, great man inherits
Honor or wealth, with all his worth and pains;
It sounds like stories from the land of spirits,
If any man obtain that which he merits,
Or any merit that which he obtains."

66 REPLY.

"For shame, dear friend! renounce this canting strain,
What wouldst thou have a good great man obtain?
Place? titles? salary? or gilded chain?

Or throne of corses which his sword hath slain?
Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends !
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? Three treasures, Love and LIGHT
And CALM THOUGHTS, regular as infant's breath!

And three firm friends, more sure than day and night, -
HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the Angel DEATH."

We cannot but apply the words of Milton, weeping over his "loved Lycidas":

"Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more,

For Lycidas, your sorrow is not dead,

Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor:
So sinks the day-star in the ocean's bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky.
So Lycidas, sunk low but mounted high,

Through the dear might of him that walked the waves,
Where other groves and other streams along, —
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
He hears the unexpressive nuptial song.
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love,
There entertain him all the saints above
In solemn troops and sweet societies,
That sing and singing in their gay muse,
And wipe the tears forever from his eyes." *

* The following lines of Grotius are not misapplied :

Felix et ille quisquis et ambitu liber

Nec vana captans lucra, nec leves plausus,
Calestiores excitatus ad curas,

In Astra tendit et Deum studet nosse.
Cui charitate temperata Libertas
Certat manere dissidentibus concors;
Piæque purus aquitate affectus
Damnatus aliis ipse neminem damnat ;
Modestiaque limitem premens, donat
Nunc Verba Vero, nunc Silentium Paci.

P.

Grotii Poemata; Lug. Bat. 1637, p. 306.

THE PROMETHEUS BOUND.

[We present our readers with a new and careful translation of the tragedy of Eschylus, in which fidelity to the text, and to the best text, is what is mainly attempted. We are the more readily drawn to this task, by the increasing value which this great old allegory is acquiring in universal literature, as a mystical picture of human life, and the most excellent work in that kind that exists in Greek poetry. Coleridge said of this play, that "it was more properly tragedy itself, in the plenitude of the idea, than a particular tragic poem."]

PERSONS OF THE DRAMA.

KRATOS and BIA, (Strength and Force.)

HEPHAISTUS, (Vulcan.)

PROMETHEUS.

CHORUS OF OCEAN NYMPHS.

OCEANUS.

Io, Daughter of Inachus.
HERMES.

KRATOS and BIA, HEPHAISTUS, PROMETHEUS.

KR. WE are come to the far-bounding plain of earth,
To the Scythian way, to the unapproached solitude.
Hephaistus, orders must have thy attention,

Which the father has enjoined on thee, this bold one
To the high-hanging rocks to bind,

In indissoluble fetters of adamantine bonds.

For thy flower, the splendor of fire useful in all arts,
Stealing, he bestowed on mortals; and for such

A crime 't is fit he should give satisfaction to the gods;
That he may learn the tyranny of Zeus
To love, and cease from his man-loving ways.

HEPH. Kratos and Bia, your charge from Zeus

Already has its end, and nothing further in the way;
But I cannot endure to bind

A kindred god by force to a bleak precipice,

Yet absolutely there's necessity that I have courage for these

things;

For it is hard the father's words to banish.

High-plotting son of the right-counselling Themis,

Unwilling thee unwilling in brazen fetters hard to be loosed
I am about to nail to this inhuman hill,

Where neither voice [you'll hear,] nor form of any mortal
See, but scorched by the sun's clear flame,

Will change your color's bloom; and to you glad

The various-robed night will conceal the light,
And sun disperse the morning frost again;
And always the burden of the present ill

Will wear you; for he that will relieve you has not yet been

born.

Such fruits you've reaped from your man-loving ways,
For a god, not shrinking from the wrath of gods,
You have bestowed honors on mortals more than just,
For which this pleasureless rock you 'll sentinel,
Standing erect, sleepless, not bending a knee;
And many sighs and lamentations to no purpose
Will you utter; for the mind of Zeus is hard to be changed;
And he is wholly rugged who may newly rule.

KR. Well, why dost thou delay and pity in vain?
Why not hate the god most hostile to gods,
Who has betrayed thy prize to mortals?

HEPH. The affinity indeed is appalling and the familiarity.

KR. I agree, but to disobey the Father's words
How is it possible? Fear you not this more?

HEPH. Aye you are always without pity, and full of confidence.

KR. For 't is no remedy to bewail this one;

Cherish not vainly troubles which avail nought.

HEPH. O much hated handicraft!

KR. Why hatest it? for in simple truth, for these misfortunes
Which are present now Art 's not to blame.

HEPH. Yet I would't had fallen to another's lot.

KR. All things were done but to rule the gods,
For none is free but Zeus.

HEPH. I knew it, and have nought to say against these things.

KR. Will you not haste then to put the bonds about him,
That the Father may not observe you loitering?

HEPH. Already at hand the shackles you may see.

KR. Taking them, about his hands with firm strength
Strike with the hammer, and nail him to the rocks.

HEPH. 'T is done, and not in vain this work.

KR. Strike harder, tighten, no where relax,

For he is skilful to find out ways e'en from the impracticable.

HEPH. Aye but this arm is fixed inextricably.

KR. And this now clasp securely; that

He may learn he is a duller schemer than is Zeus. HEPH. Except him would none justly blame me.

KR. Now with an adamantine wedge's stubborn fang
Through the breasts nail strongly.

HEPH. Alas! alas! Prometheus, I groan for thy afflictions.

KR. And do you hesitate, for Zeus' enemies

Do you groan? Beware lest one day you yourself will pity. HEPH. You see a spectacle hard for eyes to behold.

KR. I see him meeting his deserts;
But round his sides put straps.

HEPH. To do this is necessity, insist not much.
KR. Surely I will insist and urge beside,

Go downward, and the thighs surround with force.
HEPH. Already it is done, the work, with no long labor.
KR. Strongly now drive the fetters, through and through,
For the critic of the works is difficult.

HEPH. Like your form your tongue speaks.

KR. Be thou softened, but for my stubbornness
Of temper and harshness reproach me not.
HEPH. Let us withdraw, for he has a net about his limbs.

KR. There now insult, and the shares of gods
Plundering on ephemerals bestow; what thee
Can mortals in these ills relieve?
Falsely thee the divinities Prometheus
Call; for you yourself need one foreseeing
In what manner you will escape this fortune.

PROMETHEUS, alone.

O divine ether, and ye swift-winged winds,
Fountains of rivers, and countless smilings
Of the ocean waves, and earth, mother of all,
And thou all-seeing orb of the sun I call.

Behold me what a god I suffer at the hands of gods.
See by what outrages

Tormented the myriad-yeared

Time I shall endure; such the new

Ruler of the blessed has contrived for me,
Unseemly bonds.

Alas! alas! the present and the coming
Woe I groan; where ever of these sufferings
Must an end appear.

But what say I? I know beforehand all,
Exactly what will be, nor to me strange
Will any evil come. The destined fate
As easily as possible it behoves to bear, knowing
Necessity's is a resistless strength.

But neither to be silent, nor unsilent about this

Lot is possible for me; for a gift to mortals
Giving, I wretched have been yoked to these necessities;
Within a hollow reed by stealth I carry off fire's
Stolen source, which seemed the teacher

Of all art to mortals, and a great resource.
For such crimes penalty I pay,

Under the sky, riveted in chains.

Ah! ah! alas! alas!

What echo, what odor has flown to me obscure,

Of god, or mortal, or else mingled, —
Came it to this terminal hill

A witness of my sufferings, or wishing what?
Behold bound me an unhappy god,

The enemy of Zeus, fallen under
The ill will of all the gods, as many as
Enter into the hall of Zeus,
Through too great love of mortals.
Alas! alas! what fluttering do I hear
Of birds near? for the air rustles
With the soft rippling of wings.
Everything to me is fearful which creeps this way.

PROMETHEUS and CHORUS

CH. Fear nothing; for friendly this band

Of wings with swift contention
Drew to this hill, hardly

Persuading the paternal mind.

The swift-carrying breezes sent me;

For the echo of beaten steel pierced the recesses

Of the caves, and struck out from me reserved modesty ;

And I rushed unsandalled in a winged chariot.

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CH. I see, Prometheus; but to my eyes a fearful

Mist has come surcharged

With tears, looking upon thy body
Shrunk to the rocks

By these mischiefs of adamantine bonds;
Indeed new helmsmen rule Olympus;

And with new laws Zeus strengthens himself, annulling the old,

And the before great now makes unknown.

PR. Would that under earth, and below Hades
Receptacle of dead, to impassible

Tartarus, he had sent me, to bonds indissoluble

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