The Tragedies of Euripides, Volume I.
by Euripides
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

SEM. Cast on the ground your trembling bodies, cast them down, O Maenads, for the king turning things upside down is coming to this palace, [Bacchus,] the son of Jupiter.

BAC. O barbarian women! have ye fallen to the ground thus stricken with fear? Ye have felt, it seems, Bacchus shaking the house of Pentheus; but lift up your bodies, and take courage, casting off fear from your flesh.

CHOR. O thou most mighty light to us of Evian Bacchic rites, how gladly do I see thee, being before alone and desolate!

BAC. Ye came to despair, when I was sent in, as about to fall into the dark prison of Pentheus.

CHOR. How not?—who was my guardian if you met with misfortune? but how were you liberated, having met with an impious man?

BAC. I delivered myself easily without trouble.

CHOR. And did he not bind your hands in links of chains?

BAC. In this too I mocked him; for, thinking to bind me, he neither touched nor handled me, but fed on hope; and finding a bull in the stable, where having taken me, he confined me, he cast halters round the knees of that, and the hoofs of its feet;[36] breathing out fury, stilling sweat from his body, gnashing his teeth in his lips. But I, being near, sitting quietly, looked on; and, in the mean time, Bacchus coming, shook the house, and kindled flame on the tomb of his mother; and he, when he saw it, thinking the house was burning, rushed to and fro, calling to the servants to bring water,[37] and every servant was at work toiling in vain; and letting go this labor, I having escaped, seizing a dark sword he rushes into the house, and then Bromius, as it seems to me, I speak my opinion, made an appearance in the palace, and he rushing toward it, rushed on and stabbed at the bright air,[38] as if slaying me; and besides this, Bacchus afflicts him with these other things; and threw down his house to the ground, and every thing was shivered in pieces, while he beheld my bitter chains; and from fatigue dropping his sword, he falls exhausted—for he being a man, dared to join battle with a God: and I quietly getting out of the house am come to you, not regarding Pentheus. But, as it seems to me, a shoe sounds in the house; he will soon come out in front of the house. What will he say after this? I shall easily bear him, even if he comes vaunting greatly, for it is the part of a wise man to practice prudent moderation.

PEN. I have suffered terrible things, the stranger has escaped me, who was lately coerced in bonds. Hollo! here is the man; what is this? how do you appear near my house, having come out?

BAC. Stay your foot; and substitute calm steps for anger.

PEN. How come you out, having escaped your chains?

BAC. Did I not say, or did you not hear, that some one would deliver me?

PEN. Who? for you are always introducing strange things.

BAC. He who produces the rich-clustering vine for mortals.

PEN. This is a fine reproach you charge on Bacchus; I order ye to close every tower all round.

BAC. Why? do not Gods pass over walls too?

PEN. You are wise, wise at least in all save what you should be wise in.

BAC. In what I most ought, in that I was born wise; but first learn, hearing his words who is come from the mountain to bring a message to you; but we will await you, we will not fly.

MESSENGER. Pentheus, ruler o'er this Theban land, I come, having left Cithaeron, where never have the brilliant flakes of white snow fallen.[39]

PEN. But bringing what important news are you come?

MESS. Having seen the holy Bacchae, who driven by madness have darted their fair feet from this land, have I come, wishing to tell you and the city, O king, what awful things they do, things beyond marvel; and I wish to hear whether in freedom of speech I shall tell you the matters there, or whether I shall repress my report, for I fear, O king, the hastiness of thy mind, and your keen temper, and too imperious disposition.[40]

PEN. Speak, as you shall be in all things blameless as far as I am concerned; for it is not meet to be wrath with the just; and in proportion as you speak worse things of the Bacchae, so much the more will we punish this man who has taught these tricks to the women.

MESS. I was just now driving up to the heights the herd of calves, when the sun sends forth his rays warming the land, and I see three companies of dances of women, of one of which Autonoe was chief; of a second, thy mother, Agave; and Ino led the third dance; and they were all sleeping, relaxed in their bodies, some resting their locks against the leaves of pine, and some laying their heads at random on the leaves of oak in the ground, modestly, not, as you say, that, drunk with the goblet and the noise of the flute, they solitary hunt Venus through the wood. But thy mother standing in the midst of the Bacchae, raised a shout, to wake their bodies from sleep, when she heard the lowing of the horned oxen; but they, casting off refreshing sleep from their eyes, started upright, a marvel to behold for their elegance, young, old, and virgins yet unyoked, And first they let loose their hair over their shoulders; and arranged their deer-skins, as many as had had the fastenings of their knots unloosed, and they girded the dappled hides with serpents licking their jaws—and some having in their arms a kid, or the wild whelps of wolves, gave them white milk, all those who, having lately had children, had breasts still full, having left their infants, and they put on their ivy chaplets, and garlands of oak and blossoming yew; and one having taken a thyrsus, struck it against a rock, whence a dewy stream of water springs out; another placed her wand on the ground, and then the God sent up a spring of wine. And as many as had craving for the white drink, scratching the earth with the tips of their fingers, obtained abundance of milk; and from the ivy thyrsus sweet streams of honey dropped, so that, had you been present, beholding these things, you would have approached with prayers that God whom you now blame. And we came together, herdsmen and shepherds, to reason with one another concerning this strange matter, what terrible things and worthy of marvel they do; and some one, a wanderer about the city, and practiced in speaking, said to us all, O ye who inhabit the holy downs of the mountains, will ye that we hunt out Agave, the mother of Pentheus, back from the revels, and do the king a pleasure? And he seemed to us to speak well, and hiding ourselves, we lay in ambush in the foliage of the thickets; and they, at the appointed hour, waved the thyrsus in their solemnities, calling on Bacchus with united voice, the son of Jove, Bromius; and the whole mountain and the beasts were in a revel; and nothing was unmoved by their running; and Agave was bounding near to me, and I sprang forth, as wishing to seize her, leaving my ambush where I was hidden. But she cried out, O my fleet hounds, we are hunted by these men; but follow me, follow, armed with thyrsi in your hands. We then flying, avoided the tearing of the Bacchae, but they sprang on the heifers browsing the grass with unarmed hand, and you might see one rending asunder a fatted lowing calf, and others rent open cows, and you might see either ribs, or a cloven-footed hoof, tossed here and there, and hanging beneath the pine-trees the fragments were dripping, dabbled in gore; and the fierce bulls before showing their fury with their horns, were thrown to the ground, overpowered by myriads of maiden hands; and quicker were the coverings of flesh torn asunder by the royal maids than you could shut your eyes; and like birds raised in their course, they proceed along the level plain, which by the streams of the Asopus produce the fertile crop of the Thebans, and falling on Hysiae and Erythrae,[41] which, are below Cithaeron, they turned every thing upside down; they dragged children from the houses; and whatever they put on their shoulders stuck there without chains, and fell not on the dark plain, neither brass nor iron; and they bore fire on their tresses, and it burned not; but some from rage betook themselves to arms, being plundered by the Bacchae, the sight of which was fearful to behold, O king! For their pointed spear was not made bloody, but the women hurling the thyrsi from their hands, wounded them, and turned their backs to flight, women [defeating] men; not without the aid of some God. And they went back again to whence they had departed, to the same fountains which the God had caused to spring up for them, and they washed off the blood; and the snakes with their tongues cleaned off the drops from their cheeks. Receive then, O master, this deity, whoever he be, in this city, since he is mighty in other respects, and they say this too of him, as I hear, that he has given mortals the vine which puts an end to grief,—for where wine exists not there is no longer Venus, nor any thing pleasant to men.[42]

CHOR. I fear to speak unshackled words to the king, but still they shall be spoken; Bacchus is inferior to none of the Gods.

PEN. Already like fire does this insolence of the Bacchae extend thus near, a great reproach to the Greeks. But I must not hesitate; go to the Electra gates, bid all the shield-bearers and riders of swift-footed horses to assemble, and all who brandish the light shield, and twang with their hand the string of the bow, as we will make an attack upon the Bacchae; but it is too much, if we are to suffer what we are suffering at the hands of women.

BAC. O Pentheus, you obey not at all hearing my words; but although suffering ill at your hands, still I say that you ought not to take up arms against a God, but to rest quiet; Bromius will not endure your moving the Bacchae from their Evian mountains.

PEN. You shall not teach me; but be content,[43] having escaped from prison, or else I will again bring punishment upon you.

BAC. I would rather sacrifice to him than, being wrath, kick against the pricks; a mortal against a God.

PEN. I will sacrifice, making a great slaughter of the women, as they deserve, in the glens of Cithaeron.

BAC. You will all fly, (and that will be shameful,) so as to yield your brazen shields to the thyrsi of the Bacchae.

PEN. We are troubled with this impracticable stranger, who neither suffering nor doing will be silent.

BAC. My friend, there is still opportunity to arrange these things well.

PEN. By doing what? being a slave to my slaves?

BAC. I will bring the women here without arms.

PEN. Alas! you are contriving some trick against me.

BAC. Of what sort, if I wish to save you by my contrivances?

PEN. You have devised this together, that ye may have your revelings forever.

BAC. And indeed, know this, I agreed on it with the God.

PEN. Bring hither the arms! and do you cease to speak.

BAC. Hah! Do you wish to see them sitting on the mountains?

PEN. Very much, if I gave countless weight of gold for it.

BAC. But why? have you fallen into a great wish for this?

PEN. I should like to see them drunk grievously [for them].

BAC. Would you then gladly see what is grievous to you?

PEN. To be sure, sitting quietly under the pines.

BAC. But they will track you out, even though you come secretly.

PEN. But [I will come] openly, for you have said this well.

BAC. Shall I then guide you? and will you attempt the way?

PEN. Lead me as quickly as possible; for I do not grudge you the time.

BAC. Put on then linen garments on your body.

PEN. What then, shall I be reckoned among women, being a man?

BAC. Lest they slay you if you be seen there, being a man.

PEN. You say this well, and you have been long wise.

BAC. Bacchus taught me this wisdom.

PEN. How then can these things which you advise me be well done?

BAC. I will attire you, going into the house.

PEN. With what dress—a woman's? but shame possesses me.

BAC. Do you no longer wish to be a spectator of the Maenads?

PEN. But what attire do you bid me put on my body?

BAC. I will spread out your hair at length on your head.

PEN. And what is the next point of my equipment?

BAC. A garment down to your feet; and you shall have a turban on your head.

PEN. Shall you put any thing else on me besides this?

BAC. A thyrsus in your hand, and the dappled hide of a deer.

PEN. I can not wear a woman's dress.

BAC. But you will shed blood if you join battle with the Bacchae.

PEN. True; we must first go and see.

BAC. That is wiser at least than to hunt evils with evils.

PEN. And how shall I go through the city escaping the notice of the Cadmeans?

BAC. We will go by deserted roads, and I will guide you.

PEN. Every thing is better than for the Bacchae to mock me.

BAC. We will go into the house and consider what seems best.

PEN. We can do what we like; my part is completely prepared. Let us go; for either I will go bearing arms, or I will be guided by your counsels.

BAC. O women! the man is in the toils,[44] and he will come to the Bacchae, where, dying, he will pay the penalty. Now, Bacchus, 'tis thine office, for you are not far off. Let us punish him; but first drive him out of his wits, inspiring vain frenzy, since, being in his right mind, he will not be willing to put on a female dress, but driving him out of his senses he will put it on; and I wish him to furnish laughter to the Thebans, being led in woman's guise through the city, after[45] his former threats, with which he was terrible. But I will go to fit on Pentheus the dress, which, having taken, he shall die, slain by his mother's hand. And he shall know Bacchus, the son of Jupiter, who is in fact to men at once the most terrible, and the mildest of deities.[46]

CHOR. Shall I move my white foot in the night-long dance, honoring Bacchus, exposing my neck to the dewy air, sporting like a fawn in the verdant delights of the mead, when it has escaped a fearful chase beyond the watch of the well-woven nets, (and the huntsman cheering hastens on the course of his hounds,) and with toil like the swift storm[47] rushes along the plain that skirts the river, exulting in the solitude apart from men, and in the thickets of the shady-foliaged wood? What is wisdom, what is a more glorious gift from the Gods among mortals than to hold one's hand on the heads of one's enemies? What is good is always pleasant; divine strength is roused with difficulty, but still is sure, and it chastises those mortals who honor folly, and do not extol the Gods in their insane mind. But the Gods cunningly conceal the long foot[48] of time, and hunt the impious man; for it is not right to determine or plan any thing beyond the laws: for it is a light expense to deem that that has power whatever is divine, and that what has been law for a long time has its origin in nature. What is wisdom, what is a more noble gift from the Gods among men, than to hold one's hand on the heads of one's enemies? what is honorable is always pleasant. Happy is he who has escaped from the wave of the sea, and arrived in harbor.[49] Happy, too, is he who has overcome his labors; and one surpasses another in different ways, in wealth and power. Still are there innumerable hopes to innumerable men, some result in wealth to mortals, and some fail, but I call him happy whose life is happy day by day.

BAC. You, who are eager to see what you ought not, and hasty to do a deed not of haste, I mean Pentheus, come forth before the house, be seen by me, having the costume of a woman, of a frantic Bacchant, as a spy upon your mother and her company! In appearance, you are like one of the daughters of Cadmus.

PEN. And indeed I think I see two suns,[50] and twin Thebes, and seven-gated city; and you seem to guide me, being like a bull, and horns seem to grow on your head. But were you ever a beast? for you look like a bull.

BAC. The God accompanies us, not propitious formerly, but now at truce with us. You see what you should see.

PEN. How do I look? Does not my standing seem like that of Ino, or of Agave, my mother?

BAC. I seem to see them as I behold you; but this lock of hair of yours is out of its place, not as I dressed it beneath the turban.

PEN. Moving it within doors backward and forward, and practicing Bacchic revelry, I disarranged it.

BAC. But we who ought to wait upon you will again rearrange it. But hold up your head.

PEN. Look, do you arrange it, for we depend on you.

BAC. And your girdle is loosened, and the fringes of your garments do not extend regularly round your legs.

PEN. They seem so to me, too, about the right foot at least; but on this side the robe sits well along the leg.

BAC. Will you not think me the first of your friends when, contrary to your expectation, you see the Bacchae acting modestly?

PEN. But shall I be more like a Bacchant holding the thyrsus in my right hand, or in this?

BAC. You should [hold it in] your right hand, and raise it at the same time with your right foot; and I praise you for having changed your mind.

PEN. Could I bear on my shoulders the glens of Cithaeron, Bacchae and all?

BAC. You could if you were willing; but you had your mind unsound before; but now you have such as you ought.

PEN. Shall we bring levers, or shall I tear them up with my hands, putting my shoulder or arm under the summits?

BAC. No, lest you ruin the habitations of the Nymphs, and the seats of Pan where he plays his pipes.

PEN. You speak well,—it is not with strength we should conquer women; but I will hide my body among the pines.

BAC. Hide you the hiding in which you should be hidden, coming as a crafty spy on the Maenads.

PEN. And, indeed, I think to catch them in the thickets, like birds in the sweet nets of beds.

BAC. You go then as a watch for this very thing; and perhaps you will catch them, if you be not caught first.

PEN. Conduct me through the middle of the Theban land, for I am the only man of them who would dare these things.

BAC. You alone labor for this city, you alone; therefore the labors, which are meet,[51] await you. But follow me, I am your saving guide, some one else will guide you away from thence.

PEN. Yes, my mother.

BAC. Being remarkable among all.

PEN. For this purpose do I come.

BAC. You will depart being borne.[52]

PEN. You allude to my delicacy.

BAC. In the hands of your mother.

PEN. And wilt thou compel me to be effeminate?

BAC. Ay, with such effeminacy.

PEN. I lay mine hands to worthy things.

BAC. You are terrible, terrible: and you go to terrible sufferings; so that you shall find a renown reaching to heaven. Spread out, O Agave, your hands, and ye, her sister, daughters of Cadmus! I lead this young man to a mighty contest; and the conqueror shall be I and Bacchus! The rest the matter itself will show.

CHOR. Go, ye fleet hounds of madness, go to the mountain where the daughters of Cadmus hold their company; drive them raving against the frantic spy on the Maenads,—him in woman's attire. First shall his mother from some smooth rock or paling, behold him in ambush; and she will cry out to the Maenads: Who is this of the Cadmeans who has come to the mountain, the mountain, as a spy on us, who are on the mountain? Io Bacchae! Who brought him forth? for he was not born of the blood of women: but, as to his race, he is either born of some lion, or of the Libyan Gorgons. Let manifest justice go forth, let it go with sword in hand, slaying the godless, lawless, unjust, earth-born offspring of Echion through the throat; who, with wicked mind and unjust rage about your orgies, O Bacchus, and those of thy mother,[53] with raving heart and mad disposition proceeds as about to overcome an invincible deity by force. To possess without pretext a wise understanding in respect to the Gods, and [a disposition] befitting mortals, is a life ever free from grief. I joyfully hunt after wisdom, if apart from envy, but the other conduct is evidently ever great throughout life, directing one rightly the livelong day, to reverence things honorable.[54] Appear as a bull, or a many-headed dragon, or a fiery lion, to be seen. Go, O Bacchus! cast a snare around the hunter of the Bacchae, with a smiling face falling upon the deadly crowd of the Maenads.

MESS. O house, which wast formerly prosperous in Greece! house of the Sidonian old man, who sowed in the land the earth-born harvest of the dragon; how I lament for you, though a slave. But still the [calamities] of their masters are a grief to good servants.

CHOR. But what is the matter? Tellest thou any news from the Bacchae?

MESS. Pentheus is dead, the son of his father Echion.

CHOR. O, king Bacchus! truly you appear a great God!

MESS. How sayest thou? Why do you say this? Do you, O woman, delight at my master being unfortunate?

CHOR. I, a foreigner, celebrate it in foreign strains; for no longer do I crouch in fear under my fetters.

MESS. But do you think Thebes thus void of men?

CHOR. Bacchus, Bacchus, not Thebes, has my allegiance.

MESS. You, indeed may be pardoned; still, O woman, it is not right to rejoice at the misfortunes which have been brought to pass.

CHOR. Tell me, say, by what fate is the wicked man doing wicked things dead, O man?

MESS. When having left Therapnae of this Theban land, we crossed the streams of Asopus, we entered on the height of Cithaeron, Pentheus and I, for I was following my master, and the stranger who was our guide in this search, for the sight: first, then, we sat down in a grassy vale, keeping our steps and tongues in silence, that we might see, not being seen; and there was a valley surrounded by precipices, irrigated with streams, shaded around with pines, where the Maenads were sitting employing their hands in pleasant labors, for some of them were again crowning the worn-out thyrsus, so as to make it leafy with ivy; and some, like horses quitting the painted yoke, shouted in reply to another a Bacchic melody. And the miserable Pentheus, not seeing the crowd of women, spake thus: O stranger, where we are standing, I can not come at the place where is the dance of the Maenads; but climbing a mound, or pine with lofty neck, I could well discern the shameful deeds of the Maenads. And on this I now see a strange deed of the stranger; for seizing hold of the extreme lofty branch of a pine, he pulled it down, pulled it, pulled it to the dark earth, and it was bent like a bow, or as a curved wheel worked by a lathe describes a circle as it revolves, thus the stranger, pulling a mountain bough with his hands, bent it to the earth; doing no mortal's deed; and having placed Pentheus on the pine branches, he let it go upright through his hands steadily, taking care that it should not shake him off; and the pine stood firm upright to the sky, bearing on its back my master, sitting on it; and he was seen rather than saw the Maenads, for sitting on high he was apparent, as not before.[55] And one could no longer see the stranger, but there was a certain voice from the sky; Bacchus, as one might conjecture, shouted out: O youthful women, I bring you him who made you and me and my orgies a laughing-stock: but punish ye him. And at the same time he cried out, and sent forth to heaven and earth a light of holy fire;[56] and the air was silent, and the fair meadowed grove kept its leaves in silence, and you could not hear the voice of the beasts; but they not distinctly receiving the voice, stood upright, and cast their eyes around. And again he proclaimed his bidding. And when the daughters of Cadmus' recognized the distinct command of Bacchus, they rushed forth, having in the eager running of their feet a speed not less than that of a dove; his mother, Agave, and her kindred sisters, and all the Bacchae: and frantic with the inspiration of the God, they bounded through the torrent-streaming valley, and the clefts. But when they saw my master sitting on the pine, first they threw at him handfuls of stones, striking his head, mounting on an opposite piled rock; and with pine branches some aimed, and some hurled their thyrsi through the air at Pentheus, wretched mark;[57] but they failed of their purpose; for he having a height too great for their eagerness, sat, wretched, destitute through perplexity. But at last thundering together[58] some oaken branches, they tore up the roots with levers not of iron; and when they could not accomplish the end of their labors, Agave said, Come, standing round in a circle, seize each a branch, O Maenads, that we may take the beast[59] who has climbed aloft, that he may not tell abroad the secret dances of the God. And they applied their innumerable hands to the pine, and tore it up from the ground; and sitting on high, Pentheus falls to the ground from on high, with numberless lamentations; for he knew that he was near to ill. And first his mother, as the priestess, began his slaughter, and falls upon him; but he threw the turban from his hair, that the wretched Agave, recognizing him, might not slay him; and touching her cheek, he says, I, indeed, O mother, am thy child,[60] Pentheus, whom you bore in the house of Echion; but pity me, O mother! and do not slay me, thy child, for my sins. But she, foaming and rolling her eyes every way, not thinking as she ought to think, was possessed by Bacchus, and he did not persuade her; and seizing his left hand with her hand, treading on the side of the unhappy man, she tore off his shoulder, not by [her own] strength, but the God gave facility to her hands; and Ino completed the work on the other side, tearing his flesh. And Autonoe and the whole crowd of the Bacchae pressed on; and there was a noise of all together; he, indeed, groaning as much as he had life in him, and they shouted; and one bore his arm, another his foot, shoe and all; and his sides were bared by their tearings, and the whole band, with gory hands, tore to pieces the flesh of Pentheus: and his body lies in different places, part under the rugged rocks, part in the deep shade of the wood, not easy to be sought; and as to his miserable head, which his mother has taken in her hands, having fixed it on the top of a thyrsus, she is bearing it, like that of a savage lion, through the middle of Cithaeron, leaving her sisters in the dances of the Maenads; and she goes along rejoicing in her unhappy prey, within these walls, calling upon Bacchus, her fellow-huntsman, her fellow-workman in the chase, of glorious victory, by which she wins a victory of tears. I, therefore, will depart out of the way of this calamity before Agave comes to the palace; but to be wise, and to reverence the Gods, this, I think, is the most honorable and wisest thing for mortals who adopt it.

CHOR. Let us dance in honor of Bacchus; let us raise a shout for what has befallen Pentheus, the descendant of the dragon, who assumed female attire and the wand with the beautiful thyrsus,—a certain death, having a bull[61] as his leader to calamity. Ye Cadmean Bacchants, ye have accomplished a glorious victory, illustrious, yet for woe and tears. It is a glorious contest to plunge one's dripping hand in the blood of one's son. But—for I see Agave, the mother of Pentheus, coining to the house with starting eyes; receive the revel of the Evian God.

AGAVE. O Asiatic Bacchae!

CHOR. To what dost thou excite me? O!

AG. We bring from the mountains a fresh-culled wreathing[62] to the house, a blessed prey.

CHOR. I see it, and hail you as a fellow-reveler, O!

AG. I have caught him without a noose, a young lion, as you may see.

CHOR. From what desert?

AG. Cithaeron.

CHOR. What did Cithaeron?

AG. Slew him.

CHOR. Who was it who first smote him?

AG. The honor is mine. Happy Agave! We are renowned in our revels.

CHOR. Who else?

AG. Cadmus's.

CHOR. What of Cadmus?

AG. Descendants after me, after me laid hands on this beast.

CHOR. You are fortunate in this capture.

AG. Partake then of our feast.

CHOR. What shall I, unhappy, partake of?

AG. The whelp is young about the chin; he has just lost his soft-haired head-gear.[63]

AG. For it is beautiful as the mane of a wild beast.

CHOR. Bacchus, a wise huntsman, wisely hurried the Maenads against this beast.

CHOR. For the king is a huntsman.

AG. Do you praise?

CHOR. What? I do praise.

AG. But soon the Cadmeans.

CHOR. And thy son Pentheus his mother—

AG. —will praise, as having caught this lion-born prey.

CHOR. An excellent prey.

AG. Excellently.

CHOR. You rejoice.

AG. I rejoice greatly, having accomplished great and illustrious deeds for this land.

CHOR. Show now, O wretched woman, thy victorious booty to the citizens, which you have come bringing with you.

AG. O, ye who dwell in the fair-towered city of the Theban land, come ye, that ye may behold this prey, O daughters of Cadmus, of the wild beast which we have taken; not by the thonged javelins of the Thessalians, not by nets, but by the fingers, our white arms; then may we boast that we should in vain possess the instruments of the spear-makers; but we, with this hand, slew this beast, and tore its limbs asunder. Where is my aged father? let him come near; and where is my son Pentheus? let him take and raise the ascent of a wattled ladder against the house, that he may fasten to the triglyphs this head of the lion which I am present having caught.

CAD. Follow me, bearing the miserable burden of Pentheus; follow me, O servants, before the house; whose body here, laboring with immeasurable search, I bear, having found it in the defiles of Cithaeron, torn to pieces, and finding nothing in the same place, lying in a thicket, difficult to be searched. For I heard from some one of the daring deeds of my daughters just as I came to the city within the walls, with the old Tiresias, concerning the Bacchae; and having returned again to the mountain, I bring back my child, slain by the Maenads. And I saw Autonoe, who formerly bore Actaeon to Aristaeus, and Ino together, still mad in the thicket, unhappy creatures; but some one told me that Agave was coming hither with frantic foot; nor did I hear a false tale, for I behold her, an unhappy sight.

AG. O father! you may boast a great boast, that you of mortals have begotten by far the best daughters; I mean all, but particularly myself, who, leaving my shuttle at the loom, have come to greater things, to catch wild beasts with my hands. And having taken him, I bear in my arms, as you see, these spoils of my valor, that they may be suspended against your house. And do you, O father, receive them in your hands; and rejoicing over my successful capture, invite your friends to a feast; for you are blessed, blessed since I have done such deeds.

CAD. O, woe! and not to be seen, of those who have accomplished a slaughter not to be measured by wretched hands; having stricken down a glorious victim for the Gods, you invite Thebes and me to a banquet. Alas me, first for thy ills, then for mine own; how justly, but how severely, has king Bromius destroyed us, being one of our own family!

AG. How morose is old age in men! and sullen to the eye; would that my son may be fond of hunting, resembling the disposition of his mother, when with the Theban youths he would strive after the beasts—but he is only fit to contend with Gods. He is to be admonished, O father, by you and me, not to rejoice in clever evil. Where is he? Who will summon him hither to my sight, that he may see me, that happy woman?

CAD. Alas, alas! knowing what ye have done, ye will grieve a sad grief; but if forever ye remain in the condition in which ye are, not fortunate, you will seem not to be unfortunate.

AG. But what of these matters is not well, or what is grievous?

CAD. First cast your eyes up to this sky.

AG. Well; why do you bid me look at it?

CAD. Is it still the same, or think you it is changed?

AG. It is brighter than formerly, and more divine.

CAD. Is then this fluttering still present to your soul?

AG. I understand not your word; but I become somehow sobered, changing from my former mind.

CAD. Can you then hear any thing, and answer clearly?

AG. How I forget what we said before, O father!

CAD. To what house did you come in marriage?

AG. You gave me, as they say, to the sown Echion.

CAD. What son then was born in your house to your husband?

AG. Pentheus, by the association of myself and his father.

CAD. Whose head then have you in your arms?

AG. That of a lion, as those who hunted him said.

CAD. Look now rightly; short is the toil to see.

AG. Ah! what do I see? what is this I bear in my hands?

CAD. Look at it, and learn more clearly.

AG. I see the greatest grief, wretch that I am!

CAD. Does it seem to you to be like a lion?

AG. No: but I, wretched, hold the head of Pentheus.

CAD. Ay, much lamented before you recognized him.

AG. Who slew him, how came he into my hands?

CAD. O wretched truth, how unseasonably art thou come!

AG. Tell me, since delay causes a quivering at my heart.

CAD. You and your sisters slew him.

AG. And where did he die, in the house, or in what place?

CAD. Where formerly the dogs tore Actaeon to pieces.

AG. But why did he, unhappy, go to Cithaeron?

CAD. He went deriding the God and your Bacchic revels.

AG. But on what account did we go thither?

CAD. Ye were mad, and the whole city was frantic with Bacchus.[64]

AG. Bacchus undid us—now I perceive.

CAD. Being insulted with insolence—for ye thought him not a God.

AG. But the dear body of my child, O father!

CAD. I having with difficulty traced it, bring it all.

AG. What! rightly united in its joints? * * * *

AG. But what part had Pentheus in my folly?[65]

CAD. He was like you, not reverencing the God, therefore he joined all in one ruin, both ye and this one, so as to ruin the house, and me, who being childless of male children, see this branch of thy womb, O unhappy woman! most miserably and shamefully slain—whom the house respected; you, O child, who supported my house, born of my daughter, and was an object of fear to the city; and no one wished to insult the old man, seeing you; for he would have received a worthy punishment. But now I shall be cast out of my house dishonored, I, the mighty Cadmus, who sowed the Theban race, and reaped a most glorious crop; O dearest of men, for although no longer in being, still thou shalt be counted by me as dearest of my children; no longer touching this, my chin, with thy hand, addressing me, your mother's father, wilt thou embrace me, my son, saying, Who injures, who insults you, O father, who harasses your heart, being troublesome I say, that I may punish him who does you wrong, O father. But now I am miserable, and thou art wretched, and thy mother is pitiable, and thy relations are wretched. But if there is any one who despises the Gods, looking on this man's death, let him acknowledge the Gods.

CHOR. I grieve for thy state, O Cadmus; but your child has the punishment of your daughter, deserved indeed, but grievous to you.

AG. O father, for you see how I am changed ...

BAC ... changing, you shall become a dragon, and your wife becoming a beast, shall receive in exchange the form of a serpent, Harmonia, the daughter of Mars, whom you had, being a mortal. And as the oracle of Jove says, you shall drive with your wife a chariot of heifers, ruling over barbarians; and with an innumerable army you shall sack many cities; and when they plunder the temple of Apollo, they shall have a miserable return, but Mars shall defend you and Harmonia, and shall settle your life in the islands of the blessed. I say this, I, Bacchus, not born of a mortal father, but of Jove; and if ye had known how to be wise when ye would not, ye would have been happy, having the son of Jupiter for your ally.

CAD. Bacchus, we beseech thee, we have erred.

BAC. Ye have learned it too late; but when it behooved you, you knew it not.

CAD. I knew it, but you press on us too severely.

BAC. [Ay,] for I, being a God, was insulted by you.

CAD. It is not right for Gods to resemble mortals in anger.[66]

BAC. My father, Jove, long ago decreed this.

AG. Alas! a miserable banishment is the decree[67] [for us,] old man.

BAC. Why do ye then delay what must needs be?

CAD. O child, into what terrible evil have we come; both you wretched and your * * * * sisters,[68] and I miserable, shall go, an aged sojourner, to foreigners. Still it is foretold that I shall bring into Greece a motley barbarian army, and leading their spears, I, a dragon, shall lead the daughter of Mars, Harmonia, my wife, having the fierce nature of a dragon, to the altars and tombs of the Greeks. Nor shall I, wretched, rest from ills, nor even sailing over the Acheron below shall I be at rest.

AG. O, my father! and I being deprived of you shall be banished.

CAD. Why do you embrace me with your hands, O unhappy child, as a white swan does its exhausted[69] parent?

AG. For whither can I turn, cast out from my country?

CAD. I know not, my child; your father is a poor ally.

AG. Farewell, O house! farewell, O ancestral city! I leave you in misfortune a fugitive from my chamber.

CAD. Go then, my child, to the land of Aristaeus * * * *.

AG. I bemoan thee, O father!

CAD. And I thee, my child; and I lament your sisters.

AG. Terribly indeed has king Bacchus brought this misery upon thy house.

BAC. [Ay,] for I have suffered terrible things from ye, having a name unhonored in Thebes.

AG. Farewell, my father.

CAD. And you farewell, O miserable daughter; yet you can not easily arrive at this.

AG. Lead me, O guides, where I may take my miserable sisters as the companions of my flight; and may I go where neither accursed Cithaeron may see me, nor I may see Cithaeron with my eyes, and where there is no memory of the thyrsus hallowed, but they may be a care to other Bacchae.

CHOR. There are many forms of divine things; and the Gods bring to pass many in an unexpected manner: both what has been expected has not been accomplished, and God has found out a means for doing things unthought of. So, too, has this event turned out.[70]

* * * * *


* * * *

[1] For illustrations of the fable of this play, compare Hyginus, Fab. clxxxiv., who evidently has a view to Euripides. Ovid, Metam. iii. fab. v. Oppian, Cyneg. iv. 241 sqq. Nonnus, 45, p. 765 sq. and 46, p. 783 sqq., some of whose imitations I shall mention in my notes. With the opening speech of this play compare the similar one of Venus in the Hippolytus.

[2] Cf. vs. 176; and for the musical instruments employed in the Bacchanalian rites, vs. 125 sqq. Oppian, Cyn. iv. 243. [Greek: nebrisi d' amphebalonto, kai estepsanto korymbois, En spei, kai peri paida to mystikon orchesanto. Tympana d' ektypeon, kai kymbala chersi krotainon]. Compare Gorius, Monum. Libert. et Serv. ad Tab. vii. p. 15 sq.

[3] Such is the sense of [Greek: synapsomai], [Greek: machen] being understood. See Matthiae.

[4] Drums and cymbals were invented by the Goddess in order to drown the cries of the infant Jupiter. Minutius Felix, xxi. "Avido patri subtrahitur infans ne voretur, et Corybantum cymbalis, ne pater audiat, vagitus initus eliditur" (read audiat vagitus, tinnitus illi editur, from the vestigia of Cod. Reg.). Cf. Lactant. i. 13.

[5] Cf. Homer, Hymn. in Cerer. 485. [Greek: olbios, hos tad' opopen epichthonion anthropon: Hos d' ateles, hieron host' ammoros, oupoth' homoion Aisan echei, phthimenos per, hypo zophoi euroenti]. See Ruhnken's note, and Valck. on Eur. Hippol.

[6] This passage is extremely difficult. [Greek: Plokamon] seems decidedly corrupt. Reiske would read [Greek: pokadon], Musgrave [Greek: leukotrichon plokamois mallon]. Elmsley would substitute [Greek: probaton], "si [Greek: probaton] apud Euripidem exstaret." This seems the most probable view as yet expressed. The [Greek: eriosteptoi kladoi] are learnedly explained by Lobeck on Ag. p. 375 sq., quoted by Dindorf. The [Greek: mallosis] or insertion of spots of party-colored fur upon the plain skin of animals, was a favorite ornament of the wealthy. The spots of ermine similarly used now are the clearest illustration to which I can point. Lobeck also observes, "[Greek: kata bakchiousthai] non bacchari significat, sed coronari."

[7] These ladies seem to have been rather undomestic in character, as Agave makes this very fact a boast, vs. 1236.

[8] Cf. Apollodor. l. i., Sec. 3, interpp. ad Virg. G. iv. 152. Compare Porphyr. de Nymph. Antr. p. 262, ad. Holst. [Greek: spelaia toinyn kai antra ton palaiotaton prin kai naous epinoesai theois aphosiounton. kai en Kretei men koureton, Dii en Arkadiai de, selenei kai Pani Lykeioi: kai en Naxoi Dionysoi. pantachou d' hopou ton Mithran egnosan, dia spelaiou ton theon hileoumenon]. Cf. Moll. ad Longi Past. i. 2. p. 22 sq. ed. Boden.

[9] Cf. Virg. AEn. iv. 301, and Ritterh. on Oppian, Cyn. i, 24.

[10] Compare the epithet of Bacchus [Greek: Omadios], Orph. Hymn. xxx. 5; l. 7, which has been wrongly explained by Gesner and Hermann. The true interpretation is given by Porphyr. de Abst. ii. 55, who states that human sacrifices were offered [Greek: omadioi Dionysoi] the man being torn to pieces ([Greek: diaapontes]).

[11] Persius i. 92. "et lynceus Maenas flexura corymbis Evion ingeminat, reparabilis assonat Echo." Euseb. Pr. Ev. ii. 3, derives the cry from Eve!

[12] I should read this line interrogatively, with Elmsley.

[13] Quoted by Gellius, xiii. 18.

[14] Elmsley would read [Greek: makron to mellon]. Perhaps the true reading is [Greek: mellein akairon] = it is no season for delay.

[15] The construction is so completely akward, that I almost feel inclined to consider this verse as an interpolation, with Dindorf.

[16] Compare Nonnus, 45. p. 765 4. [Greek: Teiresian kai Kadmon atasthalon iache Pentheus. Kadme, ti margaineis, tini daimoni komon egeireis; Kadme, miainomenes apokattheo kisson etheires, Kattheo kai nartheka nooplaneos Dionysou.... Nepie Teiresia stephanephore rhipson aetais Son plokamon tade phylla nothon stephos, k.t.l.]

[17] Compare the opinion of Perseus in Cicero de N.D. i. 15, with Minutius Felix, xxi.

[18] Pseud-Orpheus Hymn. l. 6. [Greek: pausiponon thnetoisi phaneis akos.]

[19] Dindorf truly says that this passage smacks rather of Proclus, than of Euripides, and I agree with him that its spuriousness is more than probable. Had Euripides designed an etymological quibble, he would probably have made some allusion to Merus, a mountain of India, where Bacchus is said to have been brought up. See Curtius, viii. 10. "Sita est sub radicibus montis, quem Meron incolae appellant. Inde Graeci mentiendi traxere licentiam, Jovis femine liberum patrem esse celatum." Cf. Eustath. on Dionys. Perieg. 1159. Lucian. Dial. Deor. ix. and Hermann on Orph. Hymn. lii. 3.

[20] The gift of [Greek: mantike] was supposed to follow initiation, and is often joined with the rites of this deity. Philostratus, Heroic. p. 22, ed. Boiss. [Greek: hote de kai mantikes sophias emphorountai, kai to chresmodes autais prosbakcheuei.]

[21] Cf. Hippol. 443. [Greek: Kypris gar ou phoreton en polle rhyei].

[22] I have followed Matthiae's interpretation of this passage.

[23] See Hermann's note.

[24] The fate of Actaeon is often joined with that of Pentheus.

[25] i.e. over-cunning in regard to religious matters. Cf. 200. [Greek: ouden sophizomestha toisi daimosin].

[26] Probably a mere hyperbole to denote great fruitfulness. See Elmsley.

[27] Cf. Hor. Od. iii. 21, 20.

[28] I follow Dindorf in reading [Greek: sopha d'], but am scarcely satisfied.

[29] Hence his epithet of Bacchus [Greek: Nyktelios]. See Herm. on Orph. Hymn. xlix. 3.

[30] See my note on AEsch. Choeph. 7.

[31] Cf Person Advers. p. 265. Hor. Ep. i. 16. 73 "Vir bonus et sapiens audebit dicere Pentheu, Rector Thebarum, quid me perferre patique Indignum coges? Adima bona, nempe pecus, rem, Lectos, argentum: tollas licet. In manicis et Compedibus saevo te sub custode tenebo. Ipse deus, simul atque volam, me solvet. Opinor, Hoc sentit: moriar. Mors ultima linea rerum est."

[32] Punning on [Greek: penthos], grief. Cf. Arist. Rhet. ii. 23, 29.

[33] i.e. of Parnassus. Elmsley (after Stanl. on AEsch. Eum. 22.) remarks that [Greek: Korykis petra] means the Corycian cave in Parnassus, [Greek: Korykiai koryphai], the heights of Parnassus.

[34] Hermann and Dindorf correct [Greek: Loidian] from Herodot. vii. 127.

[35] The earth and buildings were supposed to shake at the presence of a deity. Cf. Callimach. Hymn. Apol. sub init. Virg. AEn. iii. 90; vi. 255. For the present instance Nonnus, 45. p. 751.

[Greek: ede d' autoeliktos eseieto Pentheos aule,] [Greek: aklineon sphairedon anaissousa themethlon,] [Greek: kai poleon dedoneto thoron enosichthoni palmoi] [Greek: pematos essomenoio proangelos.]

[36] The madness of Ajax led to a similar delusion. Cf. Soph. Aj. 56 sqq.

[37] Compare a fragment of Didymus apud Macrob. Sat. v. 18, who states [Greek: Acheloon pan hydor Euripides phesin en Hypsipylei]. See also comm. on Virg. Georg. i. 9.

[38] The reader of Scott will call to mind the fine description of Ireton lunging at the air, in a paroxysm of fanatic raving. See "Woodstock." So also Orestes in Iph. Taur. 296 sqq.

[39] [Greek: aneisan], solvuntur, liquescunt. BRODEUS.

[40] Cf. Soph Ant. 243 sqq.

[41] These two cities were in ruins in the time of Pausanias. See ix. 3. p. 714, ed. Kuhn.

[42] Cf. Athenaeus, p. 40. B. Terent. Eun. iv. 5. "Sine Cerere et Libero friget Venus." Apul Met. ii. p. 119, ed. Elm. "Ecce, inquam, Veneris hortator et armiger Liber advenit ultro," where see Pricaeus.

[43] More literally, perhaps, "keep it and be thankful."

[44] Theocrit. i. 40. [Greek: mega diktyon es bolon helkei].

[45] But [Greek: ek ton apeilon] conveys a notion of change = instead of.

[46] Elmsley remarks that [Greek: anthropoisi] belongs to both members of the sentence. I have therefore supplied. The sense may be illustrated from Hippol. 5 sq.

[47] See Matthiae.

[48] i.e. step. This is ridiculed by Aristoph. Ran. 100, where the Scholiast quotes a similar example from our author's Alexandra.

[49] Compare Havercamp on Lucret. ii. sub init.

[50] Compare Virgil, AEn. iv. 469. "Et solem geminum, et duplices se ostendere Thebas." In the second passage of Clemens Alexandrinus quoted by Elmsley, [Greek: geron] is probably a mistaken reference to Tiresias.

[51] An obscure hint at the impending fate of Pentheus. Nonnus has led the way to the catastrophe by a graphic description of Agave's dream. Dionys. 45. p. 751.

[52] [Greek: pheromenos] may mean either "carried in a litter," or "carried to burial." There is a somewhat similar play in the epigram of Ausonius, xxiii. "Mater Lacaena clypeo obarmans filium, cum hoc, inquit, aut in hoc, redi."

[53] Burges more rightly reads [Greek: matros te Gas]. See Elmsley's note.

[54] As one must make some translation, I have done my best with this passage, which is, however, utterly unintelligible in Dindorf's text. A reference to his selection of notes will furnish some new readings, but, as a whole, quite unsatisfactory.

[55] Compare the parallel account in Nonnus, 46. p. 784.

[56] Alluded to by Oppian, Cyn. iv. 300. [Greek: apte selas phlogeron patroion, an d' elelexon Daian, atarteron d' opason tisin oka tyrannou]. He then relates that Pentheus was transformed into a bull, the Maenads into panthers, who tore him to pieces.

[57] [Greek: stochos] is either the aim itself, or the mark aimed at, as in this passage, and Xenoph. Ages. 1. 25.

[58] I have done my best with this extraordinary expression, of which Elmsley quotes another example from Archilochus Fragm. 36. Perhaps the notion of excessive rapidity is intended to be expressed.

[59] [Greek: ther] seems metaphorically said, as in AEsch. Eum. 47. Nonnus, 45. p. 784, 23. above, 922.

[60] Compare Nonnus, 46. p. 784.

[Greek: Kai tote min lipe lyssa noosphaleos Dionysou,] [Greek: kai proteras phrenas esche to deuteron: amphi de gaiei] [Greek: geitona potmon echon kenyren ephthenxato phonen.] * * * * * * [Greek: meter eme dysmeter apeneos iocheo lysses,] [Greek: thera pothen kaleeis me ton hyiea.]

The whole passage is very elegant, and even pathetic.

[61] Alluding to the horns of Bacchus. Cf. Sidon. Apoll. Burg. Pontii Leontii, vs. 26, "Caput ardua rumpunt Cornua, et indigenam jaculantur fulminis ignem." See some whimsical reasons for this in Isidor. Origg viii. 2. Albricus de Deor. Nu. xix. But compare above, vs. 920. [Greek: Kai tauros hemin prosthen hegeisthai dokeis, kai soi kerate krati prospephykenai].

[62] Elmsley has rightly shown that [Greek: helika] could not of itself mean "a bull" or "heifer," although Homer has [Greek: eilipodas helikas bous]. I have therefore followed Hermann, who remarks, "[Greek: helix] seems properly to be meant for the clusters of ivy with which the thyrsus was entwined. Hence Agave says that she adorns the thyrsus with a new-fashioned wreath, viz. the head of her son." Such language is, however, more like the proverbial boldness of AEschylus, than the even style of our poet.

[63] "[Greek: korytha], ornamentum capitis, vix potest dubitari quin pro ipso capite posuerit." HERMANN. There is considerable variation in the manner in which the following lines are disposed.

[64] Or, "Bacchus-mad."

[65] I have marked a lacuna with Dindorf.

[66] See the commentators on Virg. AEn. i. 11. "Tantaene animis coelestibus irae?"

[67] After [Greek: tlemones phygai] supply [Greek: menousin]. ELMSLEY.

[68] A word is wanting to complete the verse.

[69] See Musgrave. Cranes are chiefly celebrated for parental affection.

[70] These verses are found at the ends of no less than four others of our author's plays, viz. Andromacha, Helen, Medea, and Alcestis.

* * * * * *


* * * *



Note.—The names of Copreus and Macaria were wanting in the MSS., but have been supplied from the mythologists. See Elmsley on vss. 49 and 474.

* * * * *


* * * *

Iolaus, son of Iphiclus, and nephew of Hercules, whom he had joined in his expeditions during his youth, in his old age protected his sons. For the sons of Hercules having been driven out of every part of Greece by Eurystheus, he came with them to Athens; and, embracing the altars of the Gods, was safe, Demophoon being king of the city; and when Copreus, the herald of Eurystheus, wished to remove the suppliants, he prevented him. Upon this he departed, threatening war. Demophoon despised him; but hearing the oracles promise him victory if he sacrificed the most noble Athenian virgin to Ceres, he was grieved; not wishing to slay either his own daughter, or that of any citizen, for the sake of the suppliants. But Macaria, one of the daughters of Hercules, hearing of the prediction, willingly devoted herself. They honored her for her noble death, and, knowing that their enemies were at hand, went forth to battle. The play ends with their victory, and the capture of Eurystheus.

* * * * *


* * * *


This has long since been my established opinion, the just man is born for his neighbors; but he who has a mind bent upon gain is both useless to the city and disagreeable to deal with, but best for himself. And I know this, not having learned it by word of mouth; for I, through shame, and reverencing the ties of kindred, when it was in my power to dwell quietly in Argos, partook of more of Hercules' labors, while he was with us, than any one man besides:[1] and now that he dwells in heaven, keeping these his children under my wings, I preserve them, I myself being in want of safety. For since their father was removed from the earth, first Eurystheus wished to kill me, but I escaped; and my country indeed is no more, but my life is saved, and I wander in exile, migrating from one city to another. For, in addition to my other ills, Eurystheus has chosen to insult me with this insult; sending heralds whenever on earth he learns we are settled, he demands us, and drives us out of the land; alleging the city of Argos, one not paltry either to be friends with or to make an enemy, and himself too prospering as he is; but they seeing my weak state, and that these too are little, and bereaved of their sire, respecting the more powerful, drive us from the land. And I am banished, together with the banished children, and fare ill together with those who fare ill, loathing to desert them, lest some may say thus, Behold, now that the children have no father, Iolaus, their kinsman born, defends them not. But being bereft of all Greece, coming to Marathon and the country under the same rule, we sit suppliants at the altars of the Gods, that they may assist us; for it is said that the two sons of Theseus inhabit the territory of this land, of the race of Pandion, having received it by lot, being near akin to these children; on which account we have come this way to the frontiers of illustrious Athens. And by two aged people is this flight led, I, indeed, being alarmed about these children; and the female race of her son Alcmena preserves within this temple, clasping it in her arms; for we are ashamed that virgins should mingle with the mob, and stand at the altars. But Hyllus and his brothers, who are older, are seeking where there is a strong-hold that we may inhabit, if we be thrust forth from this land by force. O children, children! hither; take hold of my garments; I see the herald of Eurystheus coming hither toward us, by whom we are pursued as wanderers, deprived of every land.[2] O detested one, may you perish, and the man who sent you: how many evils indeed have you announced to the noble father of these children from that same mouth!

COPREUS. I suppose you think that this is a fine seat you are sitting in, and have come to a city which is an ally, thinking foolishly; for there is no one who will choose your useless power in preference to Eurystheus. Depart; why toilest thou thus? You must rise up and go to Argos, where punishment by stoning awaits you.

IOL. Not so, since the altar of the God will aid me, and the free land in which we tread.

COP. Do you wish to cause me trouble with this band?

IOL. Surely you will not drag me away, nor these children, seizing by force?

COP. You shall know; but you are not a good prophet in this.

IOL. This shall never happen, while I am alive.

COP. Depart; but I will lead these away, even though you be unwilling, considering them, wherever they may be, to belong to Eurystheus.

IOL. O ye who have dwelt in Athens a long time, defend us; for, being suppliants of Jove, the Presider over the Forum,[3] we are treated with violence, and our garlands are profaned, both a reproach to the city, and an insult to the Gods.

CHORUS. Hollo! hollo! what is this noise near the altar? what calamity will it straightway portend?

IOL. Behold me, a weak old man, thrown down on the plain; miserable that I am.

CHOR. By whose hand do you fall this unhappy fall?

* * * *

IOL. This man, O strangers, dishonoring your Gods, drags me violently from the altar of Jupiter.

CHOR. From what land, O old man, have you come hither to this people dwelling together in four cities?[4] or, have you come hither from across [the sea] with marine oar, having quitted the Euboean shore?

IOL. O strangers, I am not accustomed to an islander's life, but we are come to your land from Mycenae.

CHOR. What name, O old man, did the Mycenaean people call you?

IOL. Know that I am lolaus, once the companion of Hercules; for this body is not unrenowned.

CHOR. I know, having heard of it before; but say whose youthful children you are leading in your hand.

IOL. These, O strangers, are the sons of Hercules, who are come as suppliants of you and the city.

CHOR. What do ye seek? or, tell me, is it wanting to have speech of the city?

IOL. Not to be given up, and not to go to Argos, being dragged from your Gods by force.

COP. But this will not be sufficient for your masters, who, having power over you, find you here.

CHOR. It is right, O stranger, to reverence the suppliants of the Gods, and not for you to leave by violent hands the habitations of the deities, for venerable Justice will not suffer this.

COP. Send now Eurystheus's subjects out of this land, and I will not use this hand violently.

CHOR. It is impious for a state to reject the suppliant prayer of strangers.

COP. But it is good to have one's foot out of trouble, being possessed of the better counsel.

CHOR. You should then have dared this, having spoken to the king of this land, but you should not drag strangers away from the Gods by force, if you respect a free land.

COP. But who is king of this country and city?

CHOR. Demophoon, the son of Theseus, of a noble father.

COP. With him, then, the contest of this argument had best be; all else is spoken in vain.

CHOR. And indeed hither he comes in haste, and Acamas, his brother, to hear these words.

DEMOPHOON. Since you, being an old man, have anticipated us, who are younger, in running to this hearth of Jove, say what hap collects this multitude here.

CHOR. These sons of Hercules sit here as suppliants, having crowned the altar, as you see. O king, and Iolaus, the faithful companion of their father.

DE. Why then did this chance occasion clamors?

CHOR. This man caused the noise, seeking to lead him by force from this hearth; and he tripped up the legs of the old man, so that I shed the tear for pity.

DE. And indeed he has a Grecian robe and style of dress; but these are the doings of a barbarian hand; it is for you then to tell me, and not to delay, leaving the confines of what land you are come hither.

COP. I am an Argive; for this you wish to learn: and I am willing to say why, and from whom, I am come. Eurystheus, the king of Mycenae, sends me hither to lead away these men; and I have come, O stranger, having many just things at once to do and to say; for I being an Argive myself, lead away Argives, having them as fugitives from my country condemned to die by the laws there; and we have the right, managing our city ourselves by ourselves, to fix our own punishments: but they having come to the hearths of many others also, there also we have taken our stand on these same arguments, and no one has dared to bring evils upon himself. But either perceiving some folly in you, they have come hither, or in perplexity running the risk, whether it shall be or not. For surely they do not think that you alone are mad, in so great a portion of Greece as they have been over, so as to commiserate their foolish distresses. Come, compare the two; admitting them into your land, and suffering us to lead them away, what will you gain? Such things as these you may gain from us; you may add to this city the whole power of Argos, and all the might of Eurystheus; but if looking to the words and pitiable condition of these men, you are softened by them, the matter comes to the contest of the spear; for think not that we will give up this contest without steel. What then will you say? deprived of what lands, making war with the Tirynthians and Argives, and repelling them, with what allies, and on whose behalf will you bury the dead that fall? Surely you will obtain an evil report among the citizens, if, for the sake of an old man, a mere tomb,[5] one who is nothing, as one may say, and of these children, you will put your foot into a mess;[6] you will say, at best, that you shall find, at least, hope; and this too is at present much wanting; for these who are armed would fight but ill with Argives if they were grown up, if this encourages your mind, and there is much time in the mean while in which ye may be destroyed; but be persuaded by me, giving nothing, but permitting me to lead away my own, gain Mycenae. And do not (as you are wont to do) suffer this, when it is in your power to choose the better friends, choose the worse.

CHOR. Who can decide what is right, or understand an argument, till he has clearly heard the statement of both?

IOL. O king, this exists in thy city; I am permitted in turn to speak and to hear, and no one will reject me before that, as in other places; but with this man we have nothing to do; for since nothing of Argos is any longer ours, (it having been decreed by a vote,) but we are exiled our country, how can this man justly lead us away as Mycenaeans, whom they have driven from the land? for we are strangers; or else you decide that whoever is banished Argos is banished the boundaries of the Greeks. Surely not from Athens; they will not, for fear of the Argives, drive out the children of Hercules from their land; for it is not Trachis, nor the Achaean city, from whence you, not by justice, but bragging about Argos; just as you now speak, drove these men, sitting at the altars as suppliants; for if this shall be, and they ratify your words, I no longer know this Athens as free. But I know their disposition and nature; they will rather die; for among virtuous men, disgrace is considered before life. Enough of the city; for indeed it is an invidious thing to praise it too much; and often I know myself I have been oppressed at being overpraised: but I wish to say to you that it is necessary for you to save these men, since you are ruler over this land. Pittheus was son of Pelops and AEthra, daughter of Pittheus, and your father Theseus was born of her. And again I trace for you their descent: Hercules was son of Jupiter and Alcmena, and she was the child of the daughter of Pelops; so your father and theirs must be fellow-cousins. Thus you, O Demophoon, are related to them by birth; and, besides this connection, I will tell you for what you are bound to requite the children. For I say, I formerly, when shield-bearer to their father, sailed with Theseus after the belt,[7] the cause of much slaughter, and from the murky recesses of hell did he bring forth your father. All Greece bears witness to this; for which things they beseech you to return a kindness, and that they may not be yielded up, nor be driven from this land, torn from your Gods by violence; for this would be disgraceful to you by yourself, and an evil to the city,[8] that suppliant relations, wanderers—alas for the misery! look on them, look—should be dragged away by force. But I beseech you, and offer you suppliant garlands, by your hands and your chin, do not dishonor the children of Hercules, having received them in your power; but be thou a relation to them, be a friend, father, brother, master; for all these things are better than [for them] to fall into the power of the Argives.

CHOR. Hearing of these men's misfortunes, I pitied them, O king! and now particularly I have witnessed nobleness overcome by fortune; for these men, being sons of a noble father, are undeservedly unhappy.

DE. Three ways of misfortune urge me, O Iolaus, not to reject these suppliants. The greatest, Jupiter, at whose altars you sit, having this procession of youths with you; and my relationship to them, and because I am bound of old that they should fare well at my hands, in gratitude to their father; and the disgrace,[9] which one ought exceedingly to regard. For if I permitted this altar to be violated by force by a strange man, I shall not seem to inhabit a free country. But I fear to betray my suppliants to the Argives; and this is nearly as bad as the noose. But I wish you had come with better fortune; but still, even now, fear not that any one shall drag you and these children by force from this altar. And do thou, going to Argos, both tell this to Eurystheus; and besides that, if he has any charge against these strangers, he shall meet with justice; but you shall never drag away these men.

COP. Not if it be just, and I prevail in argument?

DE. And how can it be just to drag away a suppliant by force?

COP. This, then, is not disgraceful to me, but an injury to you.

DE. To me indeed, if I allow you to drag them away.

COP. But do you depart, and then will I drag them thence.

DE. You are stupid, thinking yourself wiser than a God.

COP. Hither it seems the wicked should fly.

DE. The seat of the Gods is a common defense to all.

COP. Perhaps this will not seem good to the Mycenaeans.

DE. Am not I then master over those here?

COP. [Ay,] but not to injure them, if you are wise.

DE. Are ye hurt, if I do not defile the Gods?

COP. I do not wish you to have war with the Argives.

DE. I, too, am the same; but I will not let go of these men.

COP. At all events, taking possession of my own, I shall lead them away.

DE. Then you will not easily depart back to Argos.

COP. I shall soon see that by experience.

DE. You will touch them to your own injury, and that without delay.

CHOR. For God's sake, venture not to strike a herald!

DE. I will not, if the herald at least will learn to be wise.

CHOR. Depart thou; and do not you touch him, O king!

COP. I go; for the struggle of a single hand is powerless. But I will come, bringing hither many a brazen spear of Argive war; and ten thousand shield-bearers await me, and Eurystheus, the king himself, as general. And he waits, expecting news from hence, on the extreme confines of Alcathus; and, having heard of your insolence, he will make himself too well known to you, and to the citizens, and to this land, and to the trees; for in vain should we have so much youth in Argos, if we did not chastise you.

DE. Destruction on you! for I do not fear your Argos. But you are not likely, insulting me, to drag these men away from hence by force; for I possess this land, not being subject to that of Argos, but free.

CHOR. It is time to provide, before the army of the Argives approaches the borders. And very impetuous is the Mars of the Mycenaeans, and on this account more than before; for it is the habit of all heralds to tower up what is twice as much. What do you not think he will say to his princes about what terrible things he has suffered, and how within a little he was losing his life.

IOL. There is not, to this man's children, a more glorious honor than to be sprung from a good and valiant father, and to marry from a good family; but I will not praise him who, overcome by desire, has mingled with the vulgar, to leave his children a reproach instead of pleasure; for noble birth wards off misfortune better than low descent; for we, having fallen into the extremity of evils, find these men friends and relations, who alone, in so large a country as Greece, have stood forward [on our behalf.] Give, O children, give them your right hand; and do ye give yours to the children, and draw near to them. O children, we have come to experience of our friends; and if you ever have a return to your country, and [again] possess the homes and honors of your father, always consider them your saviors and friends, and never lift the hostile spear against the land, remembering these things; but consider it the dearest city of all. And they are worthy that you should revere them, who have chosen to have so great a country and the Pelasgic people as enemies instead of us, though seeing us to be beggared wanderers; but still they have not given us up, nor driven us from their land. But I, living and dying, when I do die, with much praise, my friend, will extol you when I am in company with Theseus; and telling this, I will delight him, saying how well you received and aided the children of Hercules; and, being noble, you preserve through Greece your ancestral glory; and being born of noble parents, you are nowise inferior to your father, with but few others; for among many you may find perhaps but one who is not inferior to his father.[10]

CHOR. This land is ever willing to aid in a just cause those in difficulty; therefore it has borne numberless toils for its friends, and now I see this contest at hand.

DE. Thou hast spoken well; and I boast, old man, that their disposition is such that the kindness will be remembered. And I will make an assembly of the citizens, and draw them up so as to receive the army of the Mycenaeans with a large force. First, I will send spies toward it, that it may not fall upon me by surprise: for in Argos every warrior is eager to run to assistance. And having collected the soothsayers, I will sacrifice. And do you go to my palace with the children, leaving the hearth of Jove, for there are those who, even if I be from home, will take care of you; go then, old man, to my palace.

IOL. I will not leave the altar; but we will sit here, as suppliants, waiting till the city is successful; and when you are well freed from this contest, we will go to thy palace. But we have Gods as allies not inferior to those of the Argives, O king; for Juno, the wife of Jove, is their champion, but Minerva ours; and I say that this also tends to success, to have the best Gods, for Pallas will not endure to be conquered.

CHOR. If thou boastest greatly, others do not therefore care for thee the more, O stranger, coming from Argos; but with thy big words thou wilt not terrify my mind: may it not be so to the mighty Athens, with the beauteous dances. But both thou art foolish, the son of Sthenelus, king in Argos, who, coming to another city not less than Argos, being a stranger, seek by violence to lead away wanderers, suppliants of the Gods, and claiming the protection of my land, not yielding to our kings, nor saying any thing else that is just. How can this be thought well among the wise? Peace indeed pleases me; but, O foolish king, I tell thee, if thou comest to this city, thou wilt not thus obtain what thou thinkest for. You are not the only one who has a spear and a brazen shield; but, O lover of war, mayest thou not with the spear disturb my city dear to the Graces; but restrain thyself.

IOL. O my son, why comest thou, bringing solicitude to my eyes? Hast thou any news of the enemy? Do they delay, or are they at hand I or what do you hear? for I fear the word of the herald will in no wise be false, for their leader will come, having been fortunate in previous affairs, I clearly know, and with no moderate pride, against Athens; but Jove is the chastiser of over-arrogant thoughts.[11]

DE. The army of the Argives is coming, and Eurystheus the king. I have seen it myself;[12] for it behooves a man who says he knows well the duty of a general not to reconnoitre the enemy by means of messengers. He has not then, as yet, let loose his army on these plains, but, sitting on a lofty crag, he reconnoitres (I should tell thee this as a conjecture) to see by which way he shall now lead his expedition, and place it in a safe station in this land; and my preparations are already well arranged, and the city is in arms, and the victims stand ready for those Gods to whom they ought to be slain offered; and the city, by means of soothsayers, is preparing by sacrifices flight for the enemy and safety for the city.[13] And having collected together all the bards who proclaim oracles, I have tested the ancient oracles, both public and concealed, which might save this land; and in their other counsels many things are different; but one opinion of all is conspicuously the same, they command me to sacrifice to the daughter of Ceres a damsel who is of a noble father.[14] And I have indeed, as you see, such great good-will toward you, but I will neither slay my own child[15] nor compel any other of my citizens to do so unwillingly; and who is so mad of his own accord, as to give out of his hands his dearest children? And now you may see bitter meetings; some saying that it is right to aid foreign suppliants, and some blaming my folly; and if I do this, a civil war is at once prepared. This, then, do you consider, and devise how both you yourselves may be saved and this land, and I be not brought into ill odor with the citizens; for I have not absolute sovereignty, as over barbarians; but if I do just things, I shall receive just things.

CHOR. But does not the Goddess allow this city, although eager, to aid strangers?

IOL. O children, we are like sailors, who, fleeing from the fierce rage of the storm, have come close to land, and then, again, by gales from the land, have been driven again out to sea; thus also shall we be driven from this land, being already on shore, as if saved. Alas! why, O wretched hope, did you then delight me, not being about to perfect my joy? For his thoughts, in truth, are to be pardoned if he is not willing to slay the children of his citizens; and I acquiesce in their conduct here, if the Gods decree that I shall fare thus. My gratitude to you shall never perish. O children, I know not what to do with you: whither shall we turn? for who of the Gods has been uncrowned by us? and what bulwark of land have we not approachedl? We shall perish, my children, we shall be given up; and for myself I care nothing if it behooves me to die, except that, dying, I shall gratify my enemies; but I weep for and pity you, O children, and Alcmena, the aged mother of your father; O! unhappy art thou, because of thy long life; and miserable am I, having labored much in vain. It was our fate then, our fate, falling into the hands of an enemy, to leave life disgracefully and miserably. But do you know in what you may aid me? for all hope of their safety has not deserted me. Give me up to the Argives instead of them, O king, and so neither run any risk yourself, and let the children be saved for me; I must not love my own life, let it go; and above all, Eurystheus would like taking me, the ally of Hercules, to insult me; for he is a froward man; and the wise should pray to have enmity with a wise man, not with an ignorant disposition, for in that case one, even if unfortunate, may meet with much respect.

CHOR. O old man, do not now blame the city, perhaps it might be a gain to us; but still it would be an evil reproach that we betrayed strangers,

DE. You have spoken things noble indeed, but impossible; the king does not lead his army hither wanting you; for what profit were it to Eurystheus for an old man to die? but he wishes to slay these children; for noble youths, who remember their fathers' injuries, springing up, are terrible to enemies; all which he must needs foresee; but if you know any other more seasonable counsel, prepare it, since I am perplexed and full of fear, having heard the oracle.

MACARIA. O strangers, do not impute boldness to me because of my advances,[16] this I will beg first; for silence and modesty are best for a woman, and to remain quietly in-doors; but, having heard your lamentations, O Iolaus, I have come forth, not being commissioned to act as embassador for my race, but I am in some wise fit to do so; but chiefly do I care for these, my brothers: concerning myself I wish to ask whether, besides our former evils, any additional distress gnaws your mind?

IOL. O daughter, it is not a new thing that I justly have to praise you most of the children of Hercules; but our house having appeared to us to progress well, has again changed to perplexity, for this man says, that the deliverers of oracles order us to sacrifice not a bull or a heifer, but a virgin, who is of a noble father, if we and this city would exist. About this then we are perplexed, for this man says he will neither slay his own children nor those of any one else; and to me he says, not plainly indeed, but somehow or other, unless I can devise any remedy for this, that we must find some other land, but he himself wishes to preserve this country.

MAC. On this condition can we then be saved?

IOL. On this, being fortunate in other respects.

MAC. Fear not then any longer the hostile spear of the Argives; for I myself, old man, before I am commanded, am prepared to die, and to stand for slaughter; for what shall we say if the city thinks fit for our sakes to encounter a great danger, but we putting toils on others, avoid death when we can be saved? Not so, since this would be ridiculous for suppliants sitting at the shrines of the Gods to mourn, but being of such a sire as we are, to be seen to be cowards; how can this seem good! it were more noble, I think, (which may it never happen!) to fall into the hands of the enemy, this city being taken, and afterward, being born of a noble father, having suffered dreadful things, to see Hades none the less; but shall I wander about, driven from this land, and shall I not indeed be ashamed if any one says, "Why have ye come hither with your suppliant branches, yourselves being too fond of life! Depart from the land, for we will not aid cowards." But neither, indeed, if these die, and I myself am saved, have I any hope to fare well; for before now many have in this way betrayed their friends. For who would choose to have me, a solitary damsel, for his wife, or to raise children from me? therefore it is better to die than to have such an unworthy fate as this; and this may even be more seemly for some other, who is not illustrious as I. Lead me then where this body must needs die, and crown me and begin the rites, if you think fit, and conquer your enemies; for this life is ready for you, willing, and not unwilling; and I promise to die for these my brethren, and for myself; for not caring for life, I have found this most glorious thing to find, namely, to leave life gloriously.

CHOR. Alas! alas! what shall I say, hearing this noble speech of the maiden who is willing to die on behalf of her brothers? Who can utter more noble words than these I who of men can do [a greater deed?][17]

IOL. My child, your head comes from no other source, but thou, the seed of a divine mind, art sprung from Hercules.[18] I am not ashamed at your words, but I am grieved for your fortune; but how it may be more justly done, I will say: we must call hither all her sisters, and then let her who draws the lot die for her family; but it is not right for thee to die without casting lots.

MAC. I will not die, obtaining the lot by chance, for then there are no thanks [to me;]—speak it not, old man; but if you accept me, and are willing to use me willing, I readily give up my life to them, but not, being compelled.

IOL. Alas! this word of thine is again nobler than the former, and that other was most excellent; but you surpass daring by daring, and [good] words by good words. I do not bid you, nor do I forbid you, to die, my child; but you will benefit your brothers by dying.

MAC. Thou biddest wisely; fear not to partake of my pollution, but I shall die freely. But follow me, O old man; for I wish to die by your hand; and do you, being present, wrap my body in my garments, since I am going to the terror of sacrifice, because I am born of the father of whom I boast to be.

IOL. I could not be present at your death.

MAC. At least, then, entreat of him that I may die, not by the hands of men, but of women.

CHOR. It shall be so, O hapless virgin; since it were disgraceful to me too not to deck thee honorably on many accounts; both for your valiant spirit, and for justice' sake: but you are the most unhappy of all women that I have beheld with mine eyes; but, if thou wilt, depart, bespeaking a last address to these and to the old man.

MAC. Farewell, old man, farewell; and train up for me these children to be such as thyself, wise in all respects, nothing more, for they will suffice; and endeavor to save them, not being over-willing to die. We are your children; by your hands we were brought up, and behold see me yielding up my nuptial hour, dying for them. And ye, my company of brothers now present, may ye be happy, and may every thing be yours, for the sake of which my soul is sacrificed; and honor the old man, and the old woman in the house, Alcmena, the mother of my father, and these strangers. And if a release from troubles, and a return should ever be found for you through the Gods, remember to bury her who saves you, as is fitting; most honorably were just, for I was not wanting to you, but died for my race. This is my heir-loom instead of children and virginity, if indeed there be aught under the earth. May there indeed be nothing; for if we, mortals who die, are to have cares even there, I know not where one can turn, for to die is considered the greatest remedy for evils.

IOL. But, O you, who mightily surpass all women in courage, know that, both living and dying, you shall be most honored by us: and farewell; for I abhor to speak words of ill omen about the Goddess to whom your body is given as the first-fruits, the daughter of Ceres. O children, we are undone; my limbs are relaxed by grief; take me, and place me in my seat, veiling me there with these garments, O children; since neither am I pleased at these things which are done, and if the oracle were not fulfilled, life would be unbearable, for the ruin would be greater; but even this is a calamity.

CHOR. I say that no man is either happy or miserable but through the Gods, and that the same family does not always walk in good fortune, but different fates pursue it different ways; it is wont to make one from a lofty station insignificant, and makes the wanderer wealthy: but it is impossible to avoid what is fated; no one can repel it by wisdom, but he who is hasty without purpose will always have trouble; but do not thus bear the fortune sent by the Gods, falling down [in prayer,] and do not over-pain your mind with grief, for she hapless possesses a glorious portion of death on behalf of her brethren and her country; nor will an inglorious reputation among men await her: but virtue proceeds through toils. These things are worthy of her father, and worthy of her noble descent; and if you respect the deaths of the good, I share your feelings.

SERVANT. O children, hail! But at what distance from this place is the aged Iolaus and your father's mother?

IOL. We are here, such a presence as mine is.

SERV. On what account dost thou lie thus, and have an eye so downcast?

IOL. A domestic care has come upon me, by which I am constrained.

SERV. Raise now thyself, erect thy head.

IOL. I am an old man, and by no means strong.

SERV. But I am come, bearing to you a great joy.

IOL. And who art thou, where having met you, do I forget you?

SERV. I am a poor servant of Hyllus; do you not recognize me, seeing me?

IOL. O dearest one, dost thou then come as a savior to us from injury?

SERV. Surely; and moreover you are prosperous as to the present state of affairs.

IOL. O mother of a doughty son, I mean Alcmena, come forth, hear these most welcome words; for you have been long wasting away as to your soul in anxiety concerning those who have come hither, where they would ever arrive.[19]

ALCMENA. Wherefore has a mighty shout filled all this house? O Iolaus, does any herald, coming from Argos, again do you violence? my strength indeed is weak, but thus much you must know, O stranger, you shall never drag these away while I am living, else may I no longer be thought to be his mother; but if you touch them with your hand, you will have no honorable contest with two old people.

IOL. Be of good cheer, old woman; fear not, the herald is not come from Argos bearing hostile words.

ALC. Why then did you raise a shout, a messenger of fear?

IOL. To you, that you should approach near before this temple.

ALC. I do not understand this; for who is this man?

IOL. He announces that your son's son is come.

ALC. O! hail thou also for this news; but why and where[20] is he now absent putting his foot in this country? what calamity prevents him from appearing hither with you, and delighting my mind?

SERV. He is stationing and marshaling the army which he has come bringing.

ALC. I no longer understand this speech.

IOL. I do; but it is my business to inquire about this.

SERV. What then of what has been done do you wish to learn?

IOL. With how great a multitude of allies is he come?

SERV. With many; but I can say no other number.

IOL. The chiefs of the Athenians know, I suppose.

SERV. They do; and they occupy the left wing.[21]

IOL. Is then the army already armed as for the work?

SERV. Ay; and already the victims are led away from the ranks.

IOL. And how far distant is the Argive army?

SERV. So that the general can be distinctly seen.

IOL. Doing what? arraying the ranks of the enemies?

SERV. We conjectured this, for we did not hear him; but I will go; I should not like my masters to join battle with the enemy, deserted as far as my part is concerned.

IOL. And I will go with you; for we think the same things, being present to aid our friends as much as we can.

SERV. It is not your part to say a foolish word.

IOL. And not to share the sturdy battle with my friends!

SERV. One can not see a wound from an inactive hand.

IOL. But what, can not I too strike through a shield?

SERV. You might strike, but you yourself would fall first.

IOL. No one of the enemy will dare to behold me.

SERV. You have not, my good friend, the strength which once you had.

IOL. But I will fight with them who will not be the fewer in numbers.

SERV. You add but a slight weight to your friends.

IOL. Do not detain me who am prepared to act.

SERV. You are not able to do any thing, but you may perhaps be to advise.

IOL. You may say the rest, as I not staying to hear.

SERV. How then will you appear to the soldiers without arms?

IOL. There are within this palace arms taken in war, which I will use and restore if alive; but the God will not demand them back of me, if I fall; but go in, and taking them down from the pegs, bring me as quickly as possible the panoply of a warrior; for this is a disgraceful house-keeping, for some to fight, and some to remain behind through fear.

CHOR. Time does not depress your spirit, but it grows young again, but your body is weak: why dost thou toil in vain? which will harm you indeed, but profit our city but little; you should consider your age, and leave alone impossibilities, it can not be that you again should acquire youth.

ALC. Why are you, not being in your senses, about to leave me alone with my children?

IOL. For valor is the part of men; but it is your duty to take care of them.

ALC. But what if you die? how shall I be saved?

IOL. Your sons who are left will take care of your son.

ALC. But if they, which Heaven forbid, should meet with fate!

IOL. These strangers will not betray you, do not fear.

ALC. Such confidence indeed I have, nothing else.

IOL. And Jove, I well know, cares for your toils.

ALC. Alas! Jupiter shall never be reproached by me, but he himself knows whether he is just toward me.

SERV. You see now this panoply of arms; but you can not make too much haste[22] in arraying your body in them, as the contest is at hand, and, above all things, Mars hates those who delay; but if you fear the weight of arms, now then go forth unarmed,[23] and in the ranks be clad with this equipment, and I will carry it so far.

IOL. Thou hast said well; but bring the arms, having them close at hand, and put a spear in my hand, and support my left arm guiding my foot.

SERV. Is it right to lead a warrior like a child?

IOL. One must go safely for the sake of the omen.

SERV. Would you were able to do as much as you are willing.

IOL. Make haste, I shall suffer sadly if too late for the battle.

SERV. It is you who delay, and not I, seeming to do something.

IOL. Do you not see how my foot presses on?

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10     Next Part
Home - Random Browse