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ALCESTIS by Euripides, Part 07

CHORUS (singing)

strophe 1

O Daughter of Pelias,
Hail to you in the house of Hades,
In the sunless home where you shall dwell!
Let Hades, the dark-haired God,
Let the old man, LEADER of the Dead,
Who sits at the oar and helm,
Know you:
Far, far off is the best of women
Borne beyond the flood of Acheron
In the two-oared boat!

antistrophe 1

Often shall the Muses' servants
Sing of you to the seven-toned
Lyre-shell of the mountain-tortoise,
And praise you with mourning songs at Sparta
When the circling season
Brings back the month Carneius
Under the nightlong upraised moon,
And in bright glad Athens.
Such a theme do you leave by your death
For the music of singers!

strophe 2

Ah! That I had the power
To bring you back to the light
From the dark halls of Hades,
And from the waves of Cocytus
With the oar of the river of hell
Oh, you only,
O dearest of women,
You only dared give your life
For the life of your lord in Hades!
Light rest the earth above you,
O woman.
If your lord choose another bridal-bed
He shall be hateful to me
As to your own children.

antistrophe 2

When his mother
And the old father that begot him
Would not give their bodies to the earth
For their son's sake,
They dared not deliver him-O cruel!
Though their heads were grey.
But you,
In your lively youth,
Died for him, and are gone from the light!
Ah! might I be joined
With a wife so dear!
But in life such fortune is rare.
How happy were my days with her!

(From the left Heracles enters. He is black-bearded and
of great physical strength; he wears a lion-skin over
his shoulders and carries a large club.)

Heracles (with a gesture of salutation)
Friends, dwellers in the lands of Pherae, do I find Admetus in his
The son of Pheres is in his home, O Heracles. But, tell us, what
brings you to the land of Thessaly and to the city of Pherae?
I have a task I must achieve for Eurystheus of Tiryns.
Where do you go? To what quest are you yoked?
The quest of the four-horsed chariot of Diomedes, the Thracian.
But how will you achieve it? Do you know this stranger?
No, I have never been to the land of the Bistones.
You cannot obtain the horses without a struggle.
I cannot renounce my labours.
You must kill to return, or you will remain there dead.
It will not be the first contest I have risked.
And if you conquer the King will you gain anything?
I shall bring back his foals to the lord of Tiryns.
It is not easy to thrust the bit into their jaws.
Only if they breathe fire from their nostrils!
But they tear men with their swift jaws.
You speak of the food of wild mountain beasts, not of horses.
You may see their mangers foul with blood.
Of what father does the breeder boast himself the son?
Of Ares, the lord of the gold-rich shield of Thrace!


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