Imagens das páginas

Thy praise shall minstrels often tell
On the seven-toned mountain shell,
And in solemn hymns and sweet
Oft without the lyre repeat,
Both in Sparta, when they keep
The Carnean feast, nor sleep,
While the vernal moon all night
Shineth on them glad and bright,

No garlands, and no music in my house,
As heretofore ; nor will I touch the lyre,
Nor breathe again upon the Libyan flute-
Oh never, never shall I have the heart,
For thou hast ta'en away my joy of life.
But modelled by a skilful artist's hand,
Thine image shall be laid upon my bed ;
And I will fall on 't, and repeat thy name,
And think I have, alas! not having thee--
Cold comfort! but some little ease of mind ;
And in my dreams the vision of my love
Shall give me joy ; 'tis pleasant to behold
A friend at all times, even in the night.
But if I had the tongue and melody
Of Orpheus, as to appease with ravishment
Of holy hymns Proserpine, or her lord,
And from their gloomy realm recover thee,
I would go down: then neither Pluto's hound,
Nor Charon at his oar, the ferryman
Of the Departed, should inhibit me ;
But I would bring thee back to life and light.
Expect me there, however, when I die,
And have a mansion ready for us both.
For I will give these children charge, to enclose
My bones with thine, and lay me by thy side;
May I be joined with thee, sole faithful found,
To be no more divided, when I'm dead!

Chor. I'll sympathize with thee, as friend with friend;
Her singular merit well deserves our grief.

Alc. My children, ye have heard your father's pledge,
That he will not so much dishonour me,
As to take other wife to rule o'er you.

Adm. Again I give it, and will keep it too.
Alc. So pledged, receive these children from my hand.
Adm. A precious gift from dear hand I receive.
Alc. Be thou a mother to them in my stead.
Adm. Thy loss compels me to this added charge.
Alc. My children, I depart when I should live.
Adm. Ah! what shall I do, widowed and forlorn ?
Alc. Time will console thee, for the dead are nothing.
Adm. Oh take me with thee, take me, by the gods !
Alc. I die for thee-

mone victim is enough.
Adm. Oh Fate! of what a wife thou spoilest me!
Alc. Darkness lies heavy on my drooping eyes.
Adm. I am undone, if thou forsakest me.
Alc. Speak of me as no more, as nothing now.
Adm. Lift up thy face, abandon not thy children.
Alc. Not willingly-my children, oh! farewell!
Adm. Look on them, look, oh look!

I am no more.
Adm. Ah! do you leave us, and depart?

• Farewell! (dies.)
Adm. I'm lost.
Chor. She 's gone, Admetus has no wife.

Eumelus. Alas for my misfortune!

Alas! I am undone ;
My mother 's gone, my father,

No more she sees the sun.

Oh, see her eyelid drooping

Over the cold dark eye,
And see her arms extended,
How lifelessly they lie!

Oh, hear me, hear me, mother!

'Tis I that on thee fall,
'Tis I whose mouth thine presses,

'Tis I that on thee call.

Adm. You call on one that neither hears nor sees ;

We both are stricken with a heavy grief.

Eum. But young I'm left, my father!

My sister! I and thou
Have met with greatest trouble,

We have no mother now.

In vain, in vain, my father!

Were you twain e'er united;
Ere ye grew old together,

Has all your joy been blighted.

She's gone away before thee,

And thou art left alone;
Untimely dead, my mother!

The house is all undone.

Chor. Admetus, you must bear this heavy stroke;
You 're neither first nor last to have such loss;
Think death a debt which we have all to pay.

Adm. I know it ; nor this ill came unawares ;
With fear of it I have been long afflicted.
But I will now appoint the burial:
Chant ye, mean-while, a hymn to gloomy Dis,
The implacable god of the Subterrane.
Let the Thessalians, over whom I rule,
With their locks shorn and in black robes appear;
Your chariots yoke, and shear the coursers' manes;
And for twelve moons let neither flute nor lyre
Sound in the city ; for I shall ne'er inter
A dearer or a more deserving one:
Oh, worthiest of all honour I can pay
Is she that only dared to die for me!

[E.ceunt Admetus and the children, and

attendants bearing away the body.
Chor. Daughter of Pelias! now farewell !
Since thou must for ever dwell
In the subterranean halls,
Where the sun's light never falls.
Let the god, whose tresses flow
With a glooming blackness, know,
And the Rower, old and dread,
Ferryman of all the dead,
That this woman is the best,
Of the rarest worth possest,
It was e'er his lot to take
O'er the Acherontian lake.

Thy praise shall minstrels often tell
On the seven-toned mountain shell,
And in solemn hymns and sweet
Oft without the lyre repeat,
Both in Sparta, when they keep
The Carnean feast, nor sleep,
While the vernal moon all night
Shineth on them glad and bright

And in Athens, famed in story,
Rich in splendour, wealth, and glory.
Such a theme thy death supplies
For the minstrel's melodies.

Would that it did on me depend
That thou should'st to the light ascend !
From the realm of Dis supreme,
Where Cocytus rolls his stream,
From the land of shadows black
Would that I could waft thee back,
Bring thee up to earth again
By the river Subterrane!
Thou, of women thou alone,
For thy husband's life thine own
Didst to Hades freely give,
Dying that thy spouse might live.
Lightly lie the earth o'er thee!
If with other ever he
Link in love, his children's hate
And our scorn upon him wait.

His mother was not willing found
To hide her body under ground,
Was not willing, tho' she bore him,
To the grave to go before him ;
Nor did his old father dare,
When they both had hoary hair,
Neither of them dared to go,
As his substitute, below.
But thou didst-and in the hour
Of thy youth's fresh-breathing flower,
Ere life's loveliest hues had fled,
Dying in thy husband's stead.
Oh, with such mate may I pair
But such lot in life is rare-
For 'tis certain such a wife
Would ne'er cause a pain in life.

HERCULES enters.
Her. Phereans, is Admetus now at home?

Chor. He is within ; but tell us, Hercules,
What brings you to this part of Thessaly ?

Her. Eurystheus has appointed me a task.
Chor. Where must you travel, and for what exploit?
Her. To Thrace, and for the steeds of Diomede.
Chor. How can you do this? do you know the man?
Her. No! I was ne'er in the Bistonian land.
Chor. Those steeds cannot be won without a battle.
Her. And I cannot renounce this enterprise.

Chor. You must slay some one ere you can return, Or else remain there being slain yourself.

Fler. 'Tis not my first adventure.

What remains,
If you are victor over Diomede ?

Her. To take the steeds to the Tirynthian king.
Chor. It is no easy thing to bridle them.
Her. Except they from their nostrils breathe out fire.
Chor. But they devour men with their ravenous jaws,
Her. So feed, not horses, but the mountain beasts.
Chor. You'll see their stalls defiled with human gore.
Her. Whom does their trainer boast of as his sire ?

Chor. The King of Thracian shields, enrich'd with gold,
Calls Mars his sire.

Thus does fate deal with me,
Still tasking me with arduous enterprise ;
If I must with the sons of Mars contend,
First with Lycaon, and with Cycnus next,
Now with a third, this king and his fierce steeds.
But none shall ever see Alcmena's son
Shrink from encounter with a hostile hand.

Chor. And, lo! Admetus from the palace comes.

ADMETUS enters.
Adm. Hail, son of Zeus, prince of the blood of Perseus !
Her. Admetus, prince of the Thessalians, hail !

Adm. Would that your“ hail” was suited to my state,
For your good will toward me well I know.

Her. Why are your locks in sign of mourning shorn ?
Adm. To-day I have to bury somebody.
Her. 'Tis not one of your children? Heaven forbid !
Adm. My children are within, alive and well,
Her. If 'tis thy father, he went full of years.
Adm. My father and my mother are alive.
Her. It cannot be Alcestis that is dead?
Adm. Of her I have to speak a twofold tale.
Her. Speak you of her as living, or as dead ?
Adm. She is and is not; but she is my grief.
Her. I am no wiser, for you speak in riddles.
Adm. Do you not know the doom imposed on her ?
Her. I know she undertook to die for you.
Adm. How is she living then if bound to this?
Her. Weep not beforehand; wait until the event.

Adm. One just about to die is dead already,
And one that's dead no longer is in being.

Her. To be, and not to be, are different things.
Adm. You judge in one way-in another 1.
Her. But wherefore are you weeping? Who is dead ?
Adm. A woman :-we were speaking of a woman.
Her. One of thy blood, or of no kin to thee?
Adm. Not of my blood, but to my house most dear.
Her. And did she in thy house depart this life?
Adm. Her father being dead, she lived with us.
Her. Oh, that you were not mourning!

With what aim
Do you say this?

To seek another host.
Adm. That must not be; let not such ill occur.
Her. A guest is grievous to a house in grief.
Adm. The dead are dead: come, go within at once.
Her. To feast with mourners is a shameful thing.
Adm. The guest-rooms are apart.

Nay! let me go,
I'll owe you thousand thanks.

It must not be ;
Elsewhere you must not go: lead on, and throw (to an Allendant)
The guest-rooms open ; bid the purveyor
Provide fit entertainment for my guest;
Shut to the doors of the mid-hall, lest groans
(It were not well) should reach the feaster's ears,
And with unwelcome grief mar his content.

[HERCULES goes into the Palace, Chor. What means this? When so great mischance has fallen, Is it a season for receiving guests?

« AnteriorContinuar »