AGAMEMNON by Aeschylus, Part 3
And one beheld, the soldier-prophet true,
And the two chiefs, unlike of soul and will,
In the twy-coloured eagles straight he knew,
And spake the omen forth, for good and in.
Go forth, he cried, and Priam's town shall fall.
Yet long the time shall be; and flock and herd,
The people's wealth, that roam before the wall,
Shall force hew down, when Fate shall give the word,
But O beware! lest wrath in Heaven abide,
To dim the glowing battle-forge once more,
And mar the mighty curb of Trojan pride,
The steel of vengeance, welded as for war!
For virgin Artemis bears jealous hate
Against the royal house, the eagle-pair,
Who rend the unborn brood, insatiate-
Yea, loathes their banquet on the quivering hare.
(Ah woe and well-a-day! but be the issue fair!)
For well she loves-the goddess kind and mild-
The tender new-born cubs of lions bold,
Too weak to range-and well the sucking child
Of every beast that roams by wood and wold.
So to the Lord of Heaven she prayeth still,
"Nay, if it must be, be the omen true!
Yet do the visioned eagles presage ill;
THE END be well, but crossed with evil too!"
Healer Apollo! be her wrath controll'd
Nor weave the long delay of thwarting gales,
To war against the Danaans and withhold
From the free ocean-waves their eager sails!
She craves, alas! to see a second life
Shed forth, a curst unhallowed sacrifice-
'Twixt wedded souls, artificer of strife,
And hate that knows not fear, and fell device.
At home there tarries like a lurking snake,
Biding its time, a wrath unreconciled,
A wily watcher, passionate to slake,
In blood, resentment for a murdered child.
Such was the mighty warning, pealed of yore-
Amid good tidings, such the word of fear,
What time the fateful eagles hovered o'er
The kings, and Calchas read the omen clear.
(In strains like his, once more,
Sing woe and well-a-day! but be the issue fair!)
Zeus-if to The Unknown
That name of many names seem good-
Zeus, upon Thee I call.
Thro' the mind's every road
I passed, but vain are all,
Save that which names thee Zeus, the Highest One,
Were it but mine to cast away the load,
The weary load, that weighs my spirit down.
He that was Lord of old,
In full-blown pride of place and valour bold,
Hath fallen and is gone, even as an old tale told:
And he that next held sway,
By stronger grasp o'erthrown
Hath pass'd away!
And whoso now shall bid the triumph-chant arise
To Zeus, and Zeus alone,
He shall be found the truly wise.
'Tis Zeus alone who shows the perfect way
Of knowledge: He hath ruled,
Men shall learn wisdom, by affliction schooled.
In visions of the night, like dropping rain,
Descend the many memories of pain
Before the spirit's sight: through tears and dole
Comes wisdom o'er the unwilling soul-
A boon, I wot, of all Divinity,
That holds its sacred throne in strength, above the sky!
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