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PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus, Part 08

CHORUS
May Zeus who all things swayeth
Ne'er wreak the might none stayeth
On wayward will of mine;
May I stint not nor waver
With offerings of sweet savour
And feasts of slaughtered kine;
The holy to the holy,
With frequent feet and lowly
At altar, fane and shrine,
Over the Ocean marches,
The deep that no drought parches,
Draw near to the divine.
My tongue the Gods estrange not;
My firm set purpose change not,
As wax melts in fire-shine.
Sweet is the life that lengthens,
While joyous hope still strengthens,
And glad, bright thoughts sustain;
But shuddering I behold thee,
The sorrows that enfold thee
And all thine endless pain.
For Zeus thou hast despised;
Thy fearless heart misprized
All that his vengeance can,
Thy wayward will obeying,
Excess of honour paying,
Prometheus, unto man.
And, oh, beloved, for this graceless grace
What thanks? What prowess for thy bold essay
Shall champion thee from men of mortal race,
The petty insects of a passing day?
Saw'st not how puny is the strength they spend?
With few, faint steps walking as dreams and blind,
Nor can the utmost of their lore transcend
The harmony of the Eternal Mind.
These things I learned seeing thy glory dimmed,
Prometheus. Ah, not thus on me was shed
The rapture of sweet music, when I hymned
The marriage-song round bath and bridal bed
At thine espousals, and of thy blood-kin,
A bride thou chosest, wooing her to thee
With all good gifts that may a Goddess win,
Thy father's child, divine Hesione.

Enter IO, crazed and horned.

IO
What land is this? What people here abide?
And who is he,
The prisoner of this windswept mountain-side?
Speak, speak to me;
Tell me, poor caitiff, how did'st thou transgress,
Thus buffeted?
Whither am I, half-dead with weariness,
For-wandered?
Ha! Ha!
Again the prick, the stab of gadfly-sting!
O earth, earth, hide,
The hollow shape-Argus-that evil thing-
The hundred-eyed-
Earth-born-herdsman! I see him yet; he stalks
With stealthy pace
And crafty watch not all my poor wit baulks!
From the deep place
Of earth that hath his bones he breaketh bound,
And from the pale
Of Death, the Underworld, a hell-sent hound
On the blood-trail,
Fasting and faint he drives me on before,
With spectral hand,
Along the windings of the wasteful shore,
The salt sea-sand!
List! List! the pipe! how drowzily it shrills!
A cricket-cry!
See! See! the wax-webbed reeds! Oh, to these ills
Ye Gods on high,
Ye blessed Gods, what bourne? O wandering feet
When will ye rest?
O Cronian child, wherein by aught unmeet
Have I transgressed
To be yoke-fellow with Calamity?
My mind unstrung,
A crack-brained lack-wit, frantic mad am I,
By gad-fly stung,
Thy scourge, that tarres me on with buzzing wingl
Plunge me in fire,
Hide me in earth, to deep-sea monsters fling,
But my desire-
Kneeling I pray-grudge not to grant, O King!
Too long a race
Stripped for the course have I run to and fro;
And still I chase
The vanishing goal, THE END of all my woe;
Enough have I mourned!
Hear'st thou the lowing of the maid cow-horned?
PROMETHEUS
How should I hear thee not? Thou art the child
Of Inachus, dazed with the dizzying fly.
The heart of Zeus thou hast made hot with love
And Hera's curse even as a runner stripped
Pursues thee ever on thine endless round.

 

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