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Euripidis Index


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THE CYCLOPS by Euripides, Part 09

LEADER
Because I feel for my back and spine, and express no wish to
have my teeth knocked out, I am a coward, am I? Well, but I know a
spell of Orpheus, a most excellent one, to make the brand enter his
skull of its own accord, and set alight the one-eyed son of Earth.
ODYSSEUS
Long since I knew thou wert by nature such an one, and now I
know it better; I must employ my own friends; but, though thou bring
no active aid, cheer us on at any rate, that I may find my friends
emboldened by thy encouragement.
(ODYSSEUS goes back into the cave.)
LEADER
That will I do; the Carian shall run the risk for us; and as far
as encouragement goes, let the Cyclops smoulder.
CHORUS (singing)
What ho! my gallants, thrust away, make haste and burn his eyebrow
off, the monster's guest-devouring. Oh! singe and scorch the
shepherd of Aetna; twirl the brand and drag it round and be careful
lest in his agony he treat thee to some wantonness.
CYCLOPS (bellowing in the cave)
Oh! oh! my once bright eye is burnt to cinders now.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Sweet indeed the triumph-song; pray sing it to us, Cyclops.
CYCLOPS (from within)
Oh! oh! once more; what outrage on me and what ruin! But never
shall ye escape this rocky cave unpunished, ye worthless creatures;
for will stand in the entrance of the cleft and fit my hands into it
thus. (Staggering to the entrance)
LEADER
Why dost thou cry out, Cyclops?
CYCLOPS
I am undone.
LEADER
Thou art indeed a sorry sight.
CYCLOPS
Aye, and a sad one, too.
LEADER
Didst fall among the coals in a drunken fit?
CYCLOPS
Noman has undone me,
LEADER
Then there is no one hurting thee after all.
CYCLOPS
Noman is blinding me.
LEADER
Then art thou not blind.
CYCLOPS
As blind as thou, forsooth.
LEADER
How, pray, could no man have made thee blind?
CYCLOPS
Thou mockest me; but where is this Noman?
LEADER
Nowhere, Cyclops.
CYCLOPS
It was the stranger, vile wretch! who proved my ruin, that thou
mayst understand rightly, by swilling me with the liquor he gave me.
LEADER
Ah! wine is a terrible foe, hard to wrestle with.
CYCLOPS
Tell me, I adjure thee, have they escaped or are they still
within?

(During the following lines, ODYSSEUS and his men slip by the
CYCLOPS, despite his efforts to stop them.)

LEADER
Here they are ranged in silence, taking the rock to screen them.
CYCLOPS
On which side?
LEADER
On thy right.
CYCLOPS
Where?
LEADER
Close against the rock. Hast caught them?
CYCLOPS
Trouble on trouble! I have run my skull against the rock and
cracked it
LEADER
Aye, and they are escaping thee.
CYCLOPS
This way, was it not? 'Twas this way thou saidst.
LEADER
No, not this way.
CYCLOPS
Which then?
LEADER
They are getting round thee on the left.
CYCLOPS
Alas! I am being mocked; ye jeer me in my evil plight.
LEADER
They are no longer there; but facing thee that stranger stands.
CYCLOPS
Master of villainy, where, oh! where art thou?
ODYSSEUS
Some way from thee I am keeping careful guard over the person of
ODYSSEUS.
CYCLOPS
What, a new name! hast changed thine?
ODYSSEUS
Yes, ODYSSEUS, the name my father gave me. But thou wert doomed to
pay for thy unholy feast; for I should have seen Troy burned to but
sorry purpose, unless I had avenged on thee the slaughter of my
comrades.
CYCLOPS
Woe is me! 'tis an old oracle coming true; yes, it said I should
have my eye put out by thee on thy way home from Troy; but it likewise
foretold that thou wouldst surely pay for this, tossing on the sea for
many day.
ODYSSEUS
Go hang! E'en as I say, so have I done. And now will I get me to
the beach and start my hollow ship across the sea of Sicily to the
land of my fathers.
CYCLOPS
Thou shalt not; I will break a boulder off this rock and crush
thee, crew and all, beneath my throw. Blind though I be, I will
climb the hill, mounting through yonder tunnel.
LEADER
As for us, henceforth will we be the servants of Bacchus,
sharing the voyage of this hero ODYSSEUS.


-THE END-

 

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