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PROMETHEUS BOUND by Aeschylus, Part 09

IO
How dost thou know my father's name? Impart
To one like thee
A poor, distressful creature, who thou art.
Sorrow with me,
Sorrowful one! Tell me, whose voice proclaims
Things true and sad,
Naming by all their old, unhappy names,
What drove me mad-
Sick! Sick! ye Gods, with suffering ye have sent,
That clings and clings;
Wasting my lamp of life till it be spent!
Crazed with your stings!
Famished I come with trampling and with leaping,
Torment and shame,
To Hera's cruel wrath, her craft unsleeping,
Captive and tame
Of all wights woe-begone and fortune-crossed,
Oh, in the storm
Of the world's sorrow is there one so lost?
Speak, godlike form,
And be in this dark world my oracle I
Can'st thou not sift
The things to come? Hast thou no art to tell
What subtle shift,
Or sound of charming song shall make me well?
Hide naught of ill
But-if indeed thou knowest-prophesy-
In words that thrill
Clear-toned through air-what such a wretch as
Must yet abide-
The lost, lost maid that roams earth's kingdoms wide?
PROMETHEUS
What thou wouldst learn I will make clear to thee,
Not weaving subtleties, but simple sooth
Unfolding as the mouth should speak to friends.
I am Prometheus, giver of fire to mortals.
IO
Oh universal succour of mankind,
Sorrowful Prometheus, why art thou punished thus?
PROMETHEUS
I have but now ceased mourning for my griefs.
IO
Wilt thou not grant me then so small a boon?
PROMETHEUS
What is it thou dost ask? Thou shalt know all.
IO
Declare to me who chained thee in this gorge.
PROMETHEUS
The hest of Zeus, but 'twas Hephaestus' hand.
IO
But what transgression dost thou expiate?
PROMETHEUS
Let this suffice thee: thou shalt know no more.
IO
Nay, but THE END of my long wandering
When shall it be? This too thou must declare.
PROMETHEUS
That it is better for thee not to know.
IO
Oh hide not from me what I have to suffer!
PROMETHEUS
Poor child! Poor child! I do not grudge the gift.
IO
Why then, art thou so slow to tell me all?
PROMETHEUS
It is not from unkindness; but I fear
'Twill break thy heart.
IO
Take thou no thought for me
Where thinking thwarteth heart's desire!
PROMETHEUS
So keen
To know thy sorrows! List I and thou shalt learn.
CHORUS
Not till thou hast indulged a wish of mine.
First let us hear the story of her grief
And she herself shall tell the woeful tale.
After, thy wisdom shall impart to her
The conflict yet to come.
PROMETHEUS
So be it, then.
And, Io, thus much courtesy thou owest
These maidens being thine own father's kin.
For with a moving story of our woes
To win a tear from weeping auditors
In nought demeans the teller.

 

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