Imatges de pÓgina

Not to slay her bed-fellow, but she will waver
In her mind; and one of two things will prefer,

To hear herself called timid, rather than stained with blood;
She shall in Argos bear a royal race.

Of a long speech is need this clearly to discuss.
From this seed, however, shall be born a brave,
Famed for his bow, who will release me

From these sufferings. Such oracle my ancient
Mother told me, Titanian Themis ;

But how and by what means, this needs long speech
To tell, and nothing, learning, wilt thou gain.

Io. Ah me! ah wretched me!

Spasms again and brain-struck

Madness burn me within, and a fly's dart
Stings me - not wrought by fire.
My heart with fear knocks at my breast,
And my eyes whirl round and round,
And from my course I'm borne by madness'
Furious breath, unable to control my tongue;
While confused words dash idly

'Gainst the waves of horrid woe.

CH. Wise, wise indeed was he,

Who first in mind

This weighed, and with the tongue expressed,

To marry according to one's degree is best by far;
Nor being a laborer with the hands,

To woo those who are by wealth corrupted,

Nor those by birth made great.

Never, never me

Fates *

May you behold the sharer of Zeus' couch.


may I be brought near to any husband among those from heaven,

For I fear, seeing the virginhood of Io,

Not content with man, through marriage vexed

With these distressful wanderings by Here.

But for myself, since an equal marriage is without fear,
I am not concerned lest the love of the almighty
Gods cast its inevitable eye on me.

Without war indeed this war, producing

Troubles; nor do I know what would become of me;
For I see not how I should escape the subtlety of Zeus.

PR. Surely shall Zeus, though haughty now,

Yet be humble, such marriage

He prepares to make, which from sovereignty

And the throne will cast him down obscure; and father Kronos'
Curse will then be all fulfilled,

Which falling from the ancient seats he imprecated.

And refuge from such ills none of the gods

But I can show him clearly.

I know these things, and in what manner. Now therefore
Being bold, let him sit trusting to lofty

Sounds, and brandishing with both hands his fire-breathing


For nought will these avail him, not

To fall disgracefully intolerable falls;
Such wrestler does he now prepare,

Himself against himself, a prodigy most hard to be withstood;
Who, indeed, will invent a better flame than lightning,

And a loud sound surpassing thunder;

And shiver the trident, Neptune's weapon,
The marine earth-shaking ail.
Stumbling upon this ill he'll learn
How different to govern and to serve.

CH. Aye, as you hope you vent this against Zeus.
PR. What will be done, and also what I hope, I say.
CH. And are we to expect that any will rule Zeus?
PR. Even than these more grievous ills he'll have.
CH. How fear'st thou not, hurling such words?

PR. What should I fear, to whom to die has not been fated?
CH. But suffering more grievous still than this he may inflict.
PR. Then let him do it; all is expected by me.

CH. Those reverencing Adrastia are wise.

PR. Revere, pray, flatter each successive ruler.
Me less than nothing Zeus concerns.

Let him do, let him prevail this short time
As he will, for long he will not rule the gods
But I see here, indeed, Zeus' runner,
The new tyrant's drudge;
Doubtless he brings some new message.


HER. To thee, the sophist, the bitterly bitter,

The sinner against gods, the giver of honors
To ephemerals, the thief of fire, I speak ;
The father commands thee to tell the marriage
Which you boast, by which he falls from power;
And that too not enigmatically,

But each particular declare; nor cause me
Double journeys, Prometheus; for thou see'st that
Zeus is not appeased by such.

PR. Solemn-mouthed and full of wisdom

Is thy speech, as of the servant of the gods.
Ye newly rule, and think forsooth

To dwell in griefless citadels; have I not seen
Two tyrants fallen from these?

And third I shall behold him ruling now,

Basest and speediest. Do I seem to thee
To fear and shrink from the new gods?
Nay, much and wholly I fall short of this.
The way thou cam'st go through the dust again;
For thou wilt learn nought which thou ask'st of me.
HER, Aye, by such insolence before

You brought yourself into these woes.

PR. Plainly know, I would not change.

My ill fortune for thy servitude,

For better, I think, to serve this rock
Than be the faithful messenger of Father Zeus.
Thus to insult the insulting it is fit.

HER. Thou seem'st to enjoy thy present state.

PR. I enjoy? Enjoying thus my enemies
Would I see; and thee 'mong them I count.
HER. Dost thou blame me for aught of thy misfortunes?
PR. In plain words, all gods I hate,

As many as well treated wrong me unjustly.
HER. I hear thee raving, no slight ail.

PR. Aye, I should ail, if ail one's foes to hate. HER. If prosperous, thou couldst not be borne. PR. Ah me!

HER. This word Zeus does not know.

PR. But time growing old teaches all things.
HER. And still thou know'st not yet how to be prudent.

PR. For I should not converse with thee a servant.

HER. Thou seem'st to say nought which the father wishes. PR. And yet his debtor I'd requite the favor.

HER. Thou mock'st me verily as if I were a child.

PR. And art thou not a child, and simpler still than this,
If thou expectest to learn aught from me?
There is not outrage nor expedient, by which
Zeus will induce me to declare these things,
Before he loose these grievous bonds.
Let there be hurled then flaming fire,
And with white-winged snows, and thunders
Of the earth, let him confound and mingle all.
For none of these will bend me till I tell

By whom 't is necessary he should fall from sovereignty.

HER. Consider now if these things seem helpful.

PR. Long since these were considered and resolved.
HER. Venture, O vain one, venture, at length,
In view of present sufferings to be wise.
PR. In vain you vex me, as a wave, exhorting.

Ne'er let it come into thy mind, that, I, fearing
Zeus' anger, shall become woman-minded,
And beg him, greatly hated,

With womanish upturnings of the hands,
To loose me from these bonds. I am far from it.
HER. Though saying much I seem in vain to speak;
For thou art nothing softened nor appeased

By prayers; but champing at the bit like a new-yoked
Colt, thou strugglest and contend'st against the reins.
But thou art violent with feeble wisdom.

For stubbornness to him who is not wise,
Itself alone, is less than nothing strong.

But consider, if thou art not persuaded by my words,

What storm and triple surge of ills

Will come upon thee not to be avoided; for first this rugged
Cliff with thunder and lightning flame

The Father 'Il rend, and hide

Thy body, and a strong arm will bury thee.
When thou hast spent a long length of time,
Thou wilt come back to light; and Zeus'
Winged dog, a blood-thirsty eagle, ravenously
Shall tear the great rag of thy body,
Creeping an uninvited guest all day,
And banquet on thy liver black by eating.
Of such suffering expect not any end,
Before some god appear

Succeeding to thy labors, and wish to go to rayless
Hades, and the dark depths of Tartarus.

Therefore deliberate; since this is not made
Boasting, but in earnest spoken;

For to speak falsely does not know the mouth
Of Zeus, but every word he does. So

Look about thee, and consider, nor ever think
Obstinacy better than prudence.

CH. To us indeed Hermes appears to say not unseasonable things,

For he directs thee, leaving off

Self-will, to seek prudent counsel.

Obey; for, it is base to err, for a wise man.

PB. To me foreknowing these messages

He has uttered, but for a foe to suffer ill
From foes, is nought unseemly.
Therefore 'gainst me let there be hurled
Fires' double-pointed curl, and air
Be provoked with thunder, and a tumult
Of wild winds; and earth from its foundations
Let a wind rock, and its very roots,

And with a rough surge mingle



The sea waves with the passages
Of the heavenly stars, and to black
Tartarus let him quite cast down my
Body, by necessity's strong eddies;
Yet after all he will not kill me.

HER. Such words and counsels you may hear
From the brain-struck.

For what lacks he of being mad?

And if prosperous, what does he cease from madness?

Do you, therefore, who sympathize

With this one's suffering,

From these places quick withdraw somewhere,
Lest the harsh bellowing thunder
Stupify your minds.

CH. Say something else, and exhort me
To some purpose; for surely

Thou hast intolerably abused this word.
How direct me to perform a baseness?

I wish to suffer with him whate'er is necessary,

For I have learned to hate betrayers;

Nor is the pest

Which I abominate more than this.

HER. Remember then what I fore-tell;

Nor by calamity pursued

Blame fortune, nor e'er say
That Zeus into unforeseen

Ill has cast you; surely not, but yourselves
You yourselves; for knowing,

And not suddenly nor clandestinely,
You'll be entangled through your folly
In an impassible net of woe.

PR. Surely indeed, and no more in word,
Earth is shaken;

And a hoarse sound of thunder

Bellows near; and wreathes of lightning
Flash out fiercely blazing, and whirlwinds dust
Whirl up; and leap the blasts

Of all winds, 'gainst one another
Blowing in opposite array;
And air with sea is mingled;
Such impulse against me from Zeus
Producing fear, doth plainly come.
O revered Mother, O Ether
Revolving common light to all,
You see me, how unjust things I endure!

H. D. T.

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