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"How seldom, friend, a good, great man inherits
"For shame, dear friend! renounce this canting strain,
Or throne of corses which his sword hath slain?
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night, -
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:
Through the dear might of him that walked the waves,
* The following lines of Grotius are not misapplied :
Felix et ille quisquis et ambitu liber
Nec vana captans lucra, nec leves plausus,
In Astra tendit et Deum studet nosse.
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.)
CHORUS OF OCEAN NYMPHS.
Io, Daughter of Inachus.
KRATOS and BIA, HEPHAISTUS, PROMETHEUS.
KR. WE are come to the far-bounding plain of earth,
Which the father has enjoined on thee, this bold one
In indissoluble fetters of adamantine bonds.
For thy flower, the splendor of fire useful in all arts,
A crime 't is fit he should give satisfaction to the gods;
HEPH. Kratos and Bia, your charge from Zeus
Already has its end, and nothing further in the way;
A kindred god by force to a bleak precipice,
Yet absolutely there's necessity that I have courage for these
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
Where neither voice [you'll hear,] nor form of any mortal
Will change your color's bloom; and to you glad
The various-robed night will conceal the light,
Will wear you; for he that will relieve you has not yet been
Such fruits you've reaped from your man-loving ways,
KR. Well, why dost thou delay and pity in vain?
HEPH. The affinity indeed is appalling and the familiarity.
KR. I agree, but to disobey the Father's words
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
HEPH. Yet I would't had fallen to another's lot.
KR. All things were done but to rule the gods,
HEPH. I knew it, and have nought to say against these things.
KR. Will you not haste then to put the bonds about him,
HEPH. Already at hand the shackles you may see.
KR. Taking them, about his hands with firm strength
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
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;
HEPH. To do this is necessity, insist not much.
Go downward, and the thighs surround with force.
HEPH. Like your form your tongue speaks.
KR. Be thou softened, but for my stubbornness
KR. There now insult, and the shares of gods
O divine ether, and ye swift-winged winds,
Behold me what a god I suffer at the hands of gods.
Tormented the myriad-yeared
Time I shall endure; such the new
Ruler of the blessed has contrived for me,
Alas! alas! the present and the coming
But what say I? I know beforehand all,
But neither to be silent, nor unsilent about this
Lot is possible for me; for a gift to mortals
Of all art to mortals, and a great resource.
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, —
A witness of my sufferings, or wishing what?
The enemy of Zeus, fallen under
PROMETHEUS and CHORUS
CH. Fear nothing; for friendly this band
Of wings with swift contention
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.
CH. I see, Prometheus; but to my eyes a fearful
Mist has come surcharged
With tears, looking upon thy body
By these mischiefs of adamantine bonds;
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
Tartarus, he had sent me, to bonds indissoluble