THE SUPPLIANTS by Aeschylus, Part X
Unto what other one,
Of all the gods, should I for justice turn?
From him our race did spring;
Creator he and King,
Ancient of days and wisdom he, and might.
As bark before the wind,
So, wafted by his mind,
Moves every counsel, each device aright.
Beneath no stronger hand
Holds he a weak command,
No throne doth he abase him to adore;
Swift as a word, his deed
Acts out what stands decreed
In counsels of his heart, for evermore.
Take heart, my children: the land's heart is kind,
And to full issue has their voting come.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
All hail, my sire; thy word brings utmost joy.
Say, to what issue is the vote made sure,
And how prevailed the people's crowding hands?
With one assent the Argives spake their will,
And, hearing, my old heart took youthful cheer.
The very sky was thrilled when high in air
The concourse raised right hands and swore their oath:-
Free shall the maidens sojourn in this land.
Unharried, undespoiled by mortal wight:
No native hand, no hand of foreigner
Shall drag them hence; if any man use force-
Whoe'er of all our countrymen shall fail
To come unto their aid, let him go forth,
Beneath the people's curse, to banishment.
So did the king of this Pelasgian folk
Plead on behalf of us, and bade them heed
That never, in the after-time, this realm
Should feed to fulness the great enmity
Of Zeus, the suppliants' guard, against itself!
A twofold curse, for wronging stranger-guests
Who are akin withal, confrontingly
Should rise before this city and be shown
A ruthless monster, fed on human doom.
Such things the Argive people heard, and straight,
Without proclaim of HeraLD, gave assent:
Yea, in full conclave, the Pelasgian folk
Heard suasive pleas, and Zeus through them resolved.
(The CHORUS now sings a prayer of thankfulness.)
Arouse we now to chant our prayer
For fair return of service fair
And Argos' kindly will.
Zeus, lord of guestright, look upon
The grace our stranger lips have won.
In right and truth, as they begun,
Guide them, with favouring hand, until
Thou dost their blameless wish fulfil!
Now may the Zeus-born gods on high
Hear us pour forth
A votive prayer for Argos' clan!-
Never may this Pelasgian earth,
Amid the fire-wrack, shrill the dismal cry
On Ares, ravening lord of fight,
Who in an alien harvest mows down man!
For lo, this land had pity on our plight,
And unto us were merciful and leal,
To us, the piteous flock, who at Zeus' altar kneel!
They scorned not the pleas of maidenhood,
Nor with the young men's will hath their will stood.
They knew right well
Th' unearthly watching fiend invincible,
The foul avenger-let him not draw near!
For he, on roofs ill-starred,
Defiling and polluting, keeps a ghastly ward!
They knew his vengeance, and took holy heed
To us, the sister suppliants, who cry
To Zeus, the lord of purity:
Therefore with altars pure they shall the gods revere.
Thus, through the boughs that shade our lips, fly forth in air,