PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus, Part 05
Prometheus, we have heard thy call:
Not on deaf cars these awful accents fall.
Lo! lightly leaving at thy words
My flying car
And holy air, the pathway of great birds,
I long to tread this land of peak and scar,
And certify myself by tidings sure
Of all thou hast endured and must endure.
While the winged chariot of the OCEANIDES comes
to ground their father Oceanus enters, riding on a monster.
Now have I traversed the unending plain
And unto thee, Prometheus, am I come,
Guiding this winghd monster with no rein,
Nor any bit, but mind's firm masterdom.
And know that for thy grief my heart is sore;
The bond of kind, methinks, constraineth me;
Nor is there any I would honour more,
Apart from kinship, than I reverence thee.
And thou shalt learn that I speak verity:
Mine is no smooth, false tongue; for do but show
How I can serve thee, grieved and outraged thus,
Thou ne'er shalt say thou hast, come weal, come woe,
A friend more faithful than Oceanus.
How now? Who greets me? What! Art thou too come
To gaze upon my woes? How could'st thou leave
The stream that bears thy name, thine antres arched
With native rock, to visit earth that breeds
The massy iron in her womb? Com'st thou
To be spectator of my evil lot
And fellow sympathizer with my woes?
Behold, a thing indeed to gaze upon
The friend of Zeus, co-stablisher of his rule,
See, by this sentence with what pains I am bowed I
Prometheus, all too plainly I behold:
And for the best would counsel thee: albeit
Thy brain is subtle. Learn to know thy heart,
And, as the times, so let thy manners change,
For by the law of change a new God rules.
But, if these bitter, savage, sharp-set words
Thou ventest, it may be, though he sit throned
Far off and high above thee, Zeus will hear;
And then thy present multitude of ills
Will seem the mild correction of a babe.
Rather, O thou much chastened one, refrain
Thine anger, and from suffering seek release.
Stale, peradventure, seem these words of mine:
Nevertheless, of a too haughty tongue
Such punishment, Prometheus, is the wage.
But thou, not yet brought low by suffering,
To what thou hast of ill would'st add far worse.
Therefore, while thou hast me for schoolmaster,
Thou shalt not kick against the pricks; the more
That an arch-despot who no audit dreads
Rules by his own rough will. And now I leave thee,
To strive with what success I may command
For thy deliv'rance. Keep a quiet mind
And use not over-vehemence of speech-
Knowest thou not, being exceeding wise,
A wanton, idle tongue brings chastisement?
I marvel that thou art not in my case,
Seeing with me thou did'st adventure all.
And now, I do entreat thee, spare thyself.
Thou wilt not move him: he's not easy moved
Take heed lest thou find trouble by the way.
Thou are a better counsellor to others
Than to thyself: I judge by deeds not words.
Pluck me not back when I would fain set forth.
My oath upon it, Zeus will grant my prayer
And free thee from these pangs.
I tender the
For this my thanks and ever-during praise.
Certes, no backward friend art thou; and yet
Trouble not thyself; for at the best thy labour
Will nothing serve me, if thou mean'st to serve.
Being thyself untrammelled stand fast.
For, not to mitigate my own mischance,
Would I see others hap on evil days.
The thought be far from me. I feel the weight
Of Atlas' woes, my brother in the west
Shouldering the pillar that props heaven and earth,
No wieldy fardel for his arms to fold.
The giant dweller in Cilician dens
I saw and pitied-a terrific shape,
A hundred-headed monster-when he fell,
Resistless Typhon who withstood the Gods,
With fearsome hiss of beak-mouth horrible,
While lightning from his eyes with Gorgon-glare
Flashed for the ravage of the realm of Zeus.
But on him came the bolt that never sleeps,
Down-crashing thunder, with emitted fire,
Which shattered him and all his towering hopes
Dashed into ruin; smitten through the breast,
His strength as smoking cinder, lightning-charred.
And now a heap, a helpless, sprawling hulk,
He lies stretched out beside the narrow seas,
Pounded and crushed deep under Etna's roots.
But on the mountain-top Hephaestus sits
Forging the molten iron, whence shall burst
Rivers of fire, with red and ravening jaws
To waste fair-fruited, smooth, Sicilian fields.
Such bilious up-boiling of his ire
Shall Typho vent, with slingstone-showers red-hot,
And unapproachable surge of fiery spray,
Although combusted by the bolt of Zeus.
But thou art not unlearned, nor needest me
To be thy teacher: save thyself the way
Thou knowest and I will fortify my heart
Until the wrathfulness of Zeus abate.