PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus, Part 04
These things are sorrowful for me to speak,
Yet silence too is sorrow: all ways woe!
When first the Blessed Ones were filled with wrath
And there arose division in their midst,
These instant to hurl Cronos from his throne
That Zeus might be their king, and these, adverse,
Contending that he ne'er should rule the Gods,
Then I, wise counsel urging to persuade
The Titans, sons of Ouranos and Chthon,
Prevailed not: but, all indirect essays
Despising, they by the strong hand, effortless,
Yet by main force-supposed that they might seize
Supremacy. But me my mother Themis
And Gaia, one form called by many names,
Not once alone with voice oracular
Had prophesied how power should be disposed-
That not by strength neither by violence
The mighty should be mastered, but by guile.
Which things by me set forth at large, they scorned,
Nor graced my motion with the least regard.
Then, of all ways that offered, I judged best,
Taking my mother with me, to support,
No backward friend, the not less cordial Zeus.
And by my politic counsel Tartarus,
The bottomless and black, old Cronos hides
With his confederates. So helped by me,
The tyrant of the Gods, such service rendered
With ignominious chastisement requites.
But 'tis a common malady of power
Tyrannical never to trust a friend.
And now, what ye inquired, for what arraigned
He shamefully entreats me, ye shall know.
When first upon his high, paternal throne
He took his seat, forthwith to divers Gods
Divers good gifts he gave, and parcelled out
His empire, but of miserable men
Recked not at all; rather it was his wish
To wipe out man and rear another race:
And these designs none contravened but me.
I risked the bord attempt, and saved mankind
From stark destruction and the road to hell.
Therefore with this sore penance am I bowed,
Grievous to suffer, pitiful to see.
But, for compassion shown to man, such fate
I no wise earned; rather in wrath's despite
Am I to be reformed, and made a show
Of infamy to Zeus.
He hath a heart
Of iron, hewn out of unfeeling rock
Is he, Prometheus, whom thy sufferings
Rouse not to wrath. Would I had ne'er beheld them,
For verily the sight hath wrung my heart.
Yea, to my friends a woeful sight am I.
Hast not more boldly in aught else transgressed?
I took from man expectancy of death.
What medicine found'st thou for this malady?
I planted blind hope in the heart of him.
A mighty boon thou gavest there to man.
Moreover, I conferred the gift of fire.
And have frail mortals now the flame-bright fire?
Yea, and shall master many arts thereby.
And Zeus with such misfeasance charging thee-
Torments me with extremity of woe.
And is no end in prospect of thy pains?
None; save when he shall choose to make an end.
How should he choose? What hope is thine? Dost thou
Not see that thou hast erred? But how thou erredst
Small pleasure were to me to tell; to the
Exceeding sorrow. Let it go then: rather
Seek thou for some deliverance from thy woes.
He who stands free with an untrammelled foot
Is quick to counsel and exhort a friend
In trouble. But all these things I know well.
Of my free will, my own free will, I erred,
And freely do I here acknowledge it.
Freeing mankind myself have durance found.
Natheless, I looked not for sentence so dread,
High on this precipice to droop and pine,
Having no neighbour but the desolate crags.
And now lament no more the ills I suffer,
But come to earth and an attentive ear
Lend to the things that shall befall hereafter.
Harken, oh harken, suffer as I suffer!
Who knows, who knows, but on some scatheless head,
Another's yet for the like woes reserved,
The wandering doom will presently alight?