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Euripidis Index


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THE CYCLOPS by Euripides, Part 06

LEADER
Best of friends, would we might see that day, escaping the godless
Cyclops!
ODYSSEUS
Hear then how I will requite this vile monster and rescue you from
thraldom.
LEADER
Tell me how; no note of Asiatic lyre would sound more sweetly in
our ears than news of the Cyclops' death.
ODYSSEUS
Delighted with this liquor of the Bacchic god, he fain would go
a-reveling with his brethren.
LEADER
I understand; thy purpose is to seize and slay him in the thickets
when clone, or push him down a precipice.
ODYSSEUS
Not at all; my plan is fraught with subtlety.
LEADER
What then? Truly we have long heard of thy cleverness.
ODYSSEUS
I mean to keep him from this revel, saying he must not give this
drink to his brethren but keep it for himself alone and lead a happy
life. Then when he falls asleep, o'ermastered by the Bacchic god, I
will put a point with this sword of mine to an olive-branch I saw
lying in the cave, and will set it on fire; and when I see it well
alight, I will lift the heated brand, and, thrusting it full in the
Cyclops' eye, melt out his sight with its blaze; and, as when a man in
fitting the timbers of a ship makes his auger spin to and fro with a
double strap, so will I make the brand revolve in the eye, that
gives the Cyclops light and will scorch up the pupil thereof.
LEADER
Ho! ho! how glad I feel! wild with joy at the contrivance!
ODYSSEUS
That done, I will embark thee and those thou lovest with old
Silenus in the deep hold of my black ship, my ship with double banks
of oars, and carry you away from this land.
LEADER
Well, can I too lay hold of the blinding brand, as though the
god's libation had been poured? for I would fain have a share in
this offering of blood.
ODYSSEUS
Indeed thou must, for the brand is large, and thou must help
hold it.
LEADER
How lightly would I lift the load of e'en a hundred wains, if that
will help us to grub out the eye of the doomed Cyclops, like a
wasp's nest.
ODYSSEUS
Hush! for now thou knowest my plot in full, and when I bid you,
obey the author of it; for I am not the man to desert my friends
inside the cave and save myself alone. And yet I might escape; I am
clear of the cavern's depths already; but no! to desert the friends
with whom I journeyed hither and only save myself is not a righteous
course.
(He re-enters the cave.)
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Come, who will be the first and who the next to him upon the
list to grip the handle of the brand, and, thrusting it into the
Cyclops' eye, gouge out the light thereof?
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Hush! hush! Behold the drunkard leaves his rocky home, trolling
loud some hideous lay, a clumsy tuneless clown, whom tears await.
Come, let us give this boor a lesson in revelry. Ere long will he be
blind at any rate.
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Happy he who plays the Bacchanal amid the precious streams
distilled from grapes, stretched at full length for a revel, his arm
around the friend he loves, and some fair dainty damsel on his
couch, his hair perfumed with nard and glossy, the while he calls,
"Oh! who will ope the door for me?"
(The CYCLOPS enters. He is obviously drunk.)
CYCLOPS (singing)
Ha! ha! full of wine and merry with a feast's good cheer am I,
my hold freighted like a merchant-ship up to my belly's very top. This
turf graciously invites me to seek my brother Cyclopes for revel in
the spring-tide. Come, stranger, bring the wine-skin hither and hand
it over to me.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Forth from the house its fair lord comes, casting his fair
glance round him. We have someone to befriend us. A hostile brand is
awaiting thee, no tender bride in dewy grot. No single colour will
those garlands have, that soon shall cling so close about thy brow.
ODYSSEUS

(returning with the wine-skin. He is followed by SILENUS, who is
also drunk.)

Hearken, Cyclops; for I am well versed in the ways of Bacchus,
whom I have given thee to drink.

 

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