PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus, Part 06
Nay then, Prometheus, art thou ignorant
Words are physicians to a wrath-sick soul?
Yes, if with skill one soften the ripe core,
Not by rough measures make it obdurate.
Seest thou in warm affection detriment
Or aught untoward in adventuring?
A load of toil and a light mind withal.
Then give me leave to call that sickness mine.
Wise men accounted fools attain their ends.
But how if I am galled by thine offence?
There very palpably thou thrustest home.
Beware lest thou through pity come to broils.
With one established in Omnipotence?
Of him take heed lest thou find heaviness.
I am schooled by thy calamity, Prometheus!
Pack then! And, prithee, do not change thy mind!
Thou criest "On" to one in haste to go.
For look, my dragon with impatient wings
Flaps at the broad, smooth road of level air.
Fain would he kneel him down in his own stall.
CHORUS (after alighting)
I mourn for thee, Prometheus,
minished and brought low,
Watering my virgin cheeks with these sad drops, that flow
From sorrow's rainy fount, to fill soft-lidded eyes
With pure libations for thy fortune's obsequies.
An evil portion that none coveteth hath Zeus
Prepared for thee; by self-made laws established for his use
Disposing all, the elder Gods he purposeth to show
How strong is that right arm wherewith he smites a foe.
There hath gone up a cry from earth, a groaning for the fall
Of things of old renown and shapes majestical,
And for thy passing an exceeding bitter groan;
For thee and for thy brother Gods whose honour was thine own:
These things all they who dwell in Asia's holy seat,
Time's minions, mourn and with their groans thy groans repeat.
Yea, and they mourn who dwell beside the Colchian shore,
The hero maids unwedded that delight in war,
And Scythia's swarming myriads who their dwelling make
Around the borders of the world, the salt Maeotian lake.
Mourns Ares' stock, that flowers in desert Araby,
And the strong city mourns, the hill-fort planted high,
Near neighbour to huge Caucasus, dread mountaineers
That love the clash of arms, the counter of sharp spears.
Beforetime of all Gods one have I seen in pain,
One only Titan bound with adamantine chain,
Atlas in strength supreme, who groaning stoops, downbent
Under the burthen of the earth and heaven's broad firmament.
Bellows the main of waters, surge with foam-seethed surge
Clashing tumultuous; for thee the deep seas chant their dirge;
And Hell's dark under-world a hollow moaning fills;
Thee mourn the sacred streams with all their fountain-rills.
Think not that I for pride and stubbornness
Am silent: rather is my heart the prey
Of gnawing thoughts, both for the past, and now
Seeing myself by vengeance buffeted.
For to these younger Gods their precedence
Who severally determined if not I?
No more of that: I should but weary you
With things ye know; but listen to the tale
Of human sufferings, and how at first
Senseless as beasts I gave men sense, possessed them
Of mind. I speak not in contempt of man;
I do but tell of good gifts I conferred.
In the beginning, seeing they saw amiss,
And hearing heard not, but, like phantoms huddled
In dreams, the perplexed story of their days
Confounded; knowing neither timber-work
Nor brick-built dwellings basking in the light,
But dug for themselves holes, wherein like ants,
That hardly may contend against a breath,
They dwelt in burrows of their unsunned caves.
Neither of winter's cold had they fixed sign,
Nor of the spring when she comes decked with flowers,
Nor yet of summer's heat with melting fruits
Sure token: but utterly without knowledge
Moiled, until I the rising of the stars
Showed them, and when they set, though much obscure.
Moreover, number, the most excellent
Of all inventions, I for them devised,
And gave them writing that retaineth all,
The serviceable mother of the Muse.
I was the first that yoked unmanaged beasts,
To serve as slaves with collar and with pack,
And take upon themselves, to man's relief,
The heaviest labour of his hands: and
Tamed to the rein and drove in wheeled cars
The horse, of sumptuous pride the ornament.
And those sea-wanderers with the wings of cloth,
The shipman's waggons, none but I contrived.
These manifold inventions for mankind
I perfected, who, out upon't, have none-
No, not one shift-to rid me of this shame.
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