PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus, Part 02
Harder-I say-strike harder-screw all tight
And be not in the least particular
Remiss, for unto one of his resource
Bars are but instruments of liberty.
This forearm's fast: a shackle hard to shift.
Now buckle this! and handsomely! Let him learn
Sharp though he be, he's a dull blade to Zeus.
None can find fault with this: -save him it tortures.
Now take thine iron spike and drive it in,
Until it gnaw clean through the rebel's breast.
Woe's me, Prometheus, for thy weight of woe!
Still shirking? still a-groaning for the foes
Of Zeus? Anon thou'lt wail thine own mishap.
Thou seest what eyes scarce bear to look upon!
I see this fellow getting his deserts!
But strap him with a gelt about his ribs.
I do what I must do: for thee-less words!
"Words," quotha? Aye, and shout 'em if need be.
Come down and cast a ring-bolt round his legs.
The thing is featly done; and 'twas quick work.
Now with a sound rap knock the bolt-pins home!
For heavy-handed is thy task-master.
So villainous a form vile tongue befits.
Be thou the heart of wax, but chide not me
That I am gruffish, stubborn and stiff-willed.
Oh, come away! The tackle holds him fast.
Now, where thou hang'st insult Plunder the Gods
For creatures of a day! To thee what gift
Will mortals tender to requite thy pains?
The destinies were out miscalling the
Designer: a designer thou wilt need
From trap so well contrived to twist thee free.
O divine air Breezes on swift bird-wings,
Ye river fountains, and of ocean-waves
The multitudinous laughter Mother Earth!
And thou all-seeing circle of the sun,
Behold what I, a God, from Gods endure!
Look down upon my shame,
The cruel wrong that racks my frame,
The grinding anguish that shall waste my strength,
Till time's ten thousand years have measured out their length!
He hath devised these chains,
The new throned potentate who reigns,
Chief of the chieftains of the Blest. Ah me!
The woe which is and that which yet shall be
I wail; and question make of these wide skies
When shall the star of my deliverance rise.
And yet-and yet-exactly I foresee
All that shall come to pass; no sharp surprise
Of pain shall overtake me; what's determined
Bear, as I can, I must, knowing the might
Of strong Necessity is unconquerable.
But touching my fate silence and speech alike
Are unsupportable. For boons bestowed
On mortal men I am straitened in these bonds.
I sought the fount of fire in hollow reed
Hid privily, a measureless resource
For man, and mighty teacher of all arts.
This is the crime that I must expiate
Hung here in chains, nailed 'neath the open sky. Ha! Ha!
What echo, what odour floats by with no sound?
God-wafted or mortal or mingled its strain?
Comes there one to this world's end, this mountain-girt ground,
To have sight of my torment? Or of what is he fain?
A God ye behold in bondage and pain,
The foe of Zeus and one at feud with all
The deities that find
Submissive entry to the tyrant's hall;
His fault, too great a love of humankind.
Ah me! Ah me! what wafture nigh at hand,
As of great birds of prey, is this I hear?
The bright air fanned
Whistles and shrills with rapid beat of wings.
There cometh nought but to my spirit brings
Horror and fear.
The DAUGHTERS OF Oceanus draw near in
mid-air in their winged chariot.
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