THE PERSIANS by Aeschylus, Part 13
To my grieved memory thy mournful voice,
Tuned to the saddest notes of wo, recalls
My brave friends lost; and my rent heart returns
In dreadful symphony the sorrowing strain.
Yet once more shall I ask thee, yet once more,
Where is the Mardian Xanthes' might,
The daring chief, that from the Pontic shore
Led his strong phalanx to the fight?
Anchares where, whose high-raised shield
Flamed foremost in the embattled field?
Where the high LEADERs of thy mail-clad horse,
Daixis and Arsaces where?
Where Cigdadatas and Lythimnas' force,
Waving untired his purple spear?
Entomb'd, I saw them in the earth entomb'd;
Nor did the rolling car with solemn state
Attend their rites: I follow'd: low they lie
(Ah me, the once great LEADERs of my host!
Low in the earth, without their honours lie.
O wo, wo, wo! Unutterable wo
The demons of revenge have spread;
And Ate from her drear abode below
Rises to view the horrid deed.
Dismay, and rout, and ruin, ills that wait
On man's afflicted fortune, sink us down.
Dismay, and rout, and ruin on us wait,
And all the vengeful storms of Fate:
Ill flows on ill, on sorrows sorrows rise;
Misfortune leads her baleful train;
Before the Ionian squadrons Persia flies,
Or sinks ingulf'd beneath the main.
Fall'n, fall'n is her imperial power,
And conquest on her banners waits no more.
At such a fall, such troops of heroes lost,
How can my soul but sink in deep despair!
Cease thy sad strain.
Is all thy glory lost?
Seest thou these poor remains of my rent robes?
I see, I see.
And this ill-furnish'd quiver?
To store my treasured arrows.
Few, very few.
And few my friendly aids.
I thought these Grecians shrunk appall'd at arms.
No: they are bold and daring: these sad eyes
Beheld their violent and deathful deeds.
The ruin, sayst thou, of thy shattered fleet?
And in the anguish of my soul I rent
My royal robes.
And more than wo.
Redoubled, threefold wo!
Disgrace to me,
But triumph to the foe.
Are all thy powers
In ruin crush'd?
No satrap guards me now.
Thy faithful friends sunk in the roaring main.
Weep, weep their loss, and lead me to my house;
Answer my grief with grief, an ill return
Of ills for ills. Yet once more raise that strain
Lamenting my misfortunes; beat thy breast,
Strike, heave the groan; awake the Mysian strain
To notes of loudest wo; rend thy rich robes,
Pluck up thy beard, tear off thy hoary locks,
And battle thine eyes in tears: thus through the streets
Solemn and slow with sorrow lead my steps;
Lead to my house, and wail the fate of Persia.
Yes, once more at thy bidding shall the strain
Pour the deep sorrows of my soul;
The suff'rings of my bleeding untry plain,
And bid the Mysian measures roll.
Again the voice of wild despair
With thrilling shrieks shall pierce the air;
For high the god of war his flaming crest
Raised, with the fleet of Greece surrounded,
The haughty arms of Greece with conquest bless'd,
And Persia's withered force confounded,
Dash'd on the dreary beach her heroes slain.,
Or whelm'd them in the darken'd main.