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ALCESTIS by Euripides, Part 04


FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
O Zeus,
What end to these woes?
What escape from the Fate
Which oppresses our lords?
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
Will none come forth?
Must I shear my hair?
Must we wrap ourselves
In black mourning folds?
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
It is certain, O friends, it is certain?
But still let us cry to the Gods;
Very great is the power of the Gods.
CHORUS
O King, O Healer,
Seek out appeasement
To Admetus's agony!
Grant this, Oh, grant it!
Once before did you find it;
Now once more
Be the Releaser from death.
The Restrainer of blood-drenched Hades!
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
Alas!
O son of Pheres.
What ills shall you suffer
Being robbed of your spouse!
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
At sight of such woes
Shall we cut our throats?
Shall we slip
A dangling noose round our necks?
CHORUS
See! See!
She comes
From the house with her lord!
Cry out, Oh, lament.
O land of Pherae,
For the best of women
Fades away in her doom
Under the earth,
To dark Hades!

(From the central door of the Palace comes a splendid but
tragical procession. Preceded by the royal guards, ADMETUS enters,
supporting ALCESTIS. The two children, a boy and a girl, cling to
their mother's dress. There is a train of ATTENDANTs and waiting
women, who bring a low throne for the fainting ALCESTIS.)

LEADER OF THE CHORUS (chanting)
Never shall I say that we ought to rejoice in marriage, but rather
weep; this have I seen from of old and now I look upon the fate of the
King, who loses the best of wives, and henceforth until THE END his
life shall be intolerable.
ALCESTIS (chanting)
Sun, and you, light of day,
Vast whirlings of swift cloud!
ADMETUS
The sun looks upon you and me, both of us miserable, who have
wrought nothing against the Gods to deserve death.
ALCESTIS (chanting)
O Earth, O roof-tree of my home,
Bridal-bed of my country, Iolcus!
ADMETUS
Rouse up, O unhappy one, and, do not leave me! Call upon the
mighty Gods to pity!
ALCESTIS (starting up and gazing wildly in terror, chanting)
I see the two-oared boat,
I see the boat on the lake!
And Charon,
Ferryman of the Dead,
Calls to me, his hand on the oar:
'Why linger? Hasten! You delay me!'
Angrily he urges me.
ADMETUS
Alas! How bitter to me is that ferrying of which you speak! O my
unhappy one, how we suffer!
ALCESTIS (chanting)
He drags me, he drags me away-
Do you not see?-
To the House of the Dead,
The Winged One
Glaring under dark brows,
Hades!-
What is it you do?
Set me free!-
What a path must I travel,
O most hapless of women!
ADMETUS
O piteous to those that love you, above all to me and to these
children who sorrow in this common grief!
ALCESTIS (chanting)
Loose me, Oh, loose me now;
Lay me down;
All strength is gone from my feet.
(She falls back in the throne.)
Hades draws near!
Dark night falls on my eyes,
My children, my children,
Never more, Oh, never more
Shall your mother be yours!
O children, farewell,
Live happy in the light of day!

 

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