Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

His gifts deposit. Yet, O son of May,
I have another wondrous thing to say.

"There are three Fates, three virgin Sisters, who,

Rejoicing in their wind-outspeeding wings, Their heads with flour snowed over white and new, Sit in a vale round which Parnassus flings

Its circling skirts-from these I have learned true
Vaticinations of remotest things.

My father cared not. Whilst they search out dooms, They sit apart and feed on honeycombs.

"They, having eaten the fresh honey, grow

Drunk with divine enthusiasm, and utter
With earnest willingness the truth they know;
But, if deprived of that sweet food, they mutter
All plausible delusions ;-these to you

I give ;-if you inquire, they will not stutter;
Delight your own soul with them :-any man
You would instruct may profit if he can.

"Take these and the fierce oxen, Maia's childO'er many a horse and toil-enduring mule, O'er jagged-jawed lions, and the wild

White-tusked boars, o'er all, by field or pool, Of cattle which the mighty Mother mild

Nourishes in her bosom, thou shalt ruleThou dost alone the veil of death upliftThou givest not-yet this is a great gift,"

Thus King Apollo loved the child of May

In truth, and Jove covered them with love and joy.

Hermes with Gods and men even from that day

Mingled, and wrought the latter much annoy,

And little profit, going far astray

Through the dun night. Farewell, delightful Boy, Of Jove and Maia sprung,-never by me,

Nor thou, nor other songs, shall unremembered be.

THE CYCLOPS:

A SATYRIC DRAMA.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK OF EURIPEDES.

SILENUS.

CHORUS OF SATYRS.

ULYSSES.
THE CYCLOPS.

Silenus. O BACCHUS, what a world of toil, both now And ere these limbs were overworn with age, Have I endured for thee! First, when thou filed'st The mountain-nymphs who nurst thee, driven afar By the strange madness Juno sent upon thee; Then in the battle of the sons of Earth,

When I stood foot by foot close to thy side,

No unpropitious fellow combatant,

And, driving through his shield my winged spear,

Slew vast Enceladus. Consider now,

Is it a dream of which I speak to thee?

By Jove it is not, for you have the trophies!
And now I suffer more than all before;
For, when I heard that Juno had devised
A tedious voyage for you, I put to sea

With all my children quaint in search of you,
And I myself stood on the beaked prow
And fixed the naked mast, and all my boys,
Leaning upon their oars, with splash and strain
Made white with foam the green and purple sea, —
And so we sought you, king. We were sailing
Near Malea, when an eastern wind arose,
And drove us to this wild Etnean rock;
The one-eyed children of the Ocean God,
The man-destroying Cyclopses inhabit,
On this wild shore, their solitary caves,
And one of these, named Poly pheme, has caught us
To be his slaves; and so, for all delight

Of Bacchic sports, sweet dance and melody,

We keep this lawless giant's wandering flocks.
My sons indeed, on far declivities,

Young things themselves, tend on the youngling sheep, But I remain to fill the water casks,

Or sweeping the hard floor, or ministering
Some impious and abominable meal

To the fell Cyclops. I am wearied of it!
And now I must scrape up the littered floor
With this great iron rake, so to receive
My absent master and his evening sheep
In a cave neat and clean. Even now I see
My children tending the flocks hitherward.
Ha! what is this? are your Sicinnian measures
Even now the same as when with dance and song
You brought young Bacchus to Athæa's halls ?

CHORUS OF SATYRS.

STROPHE.

Where has he of race divine
Wandered in the winding rocks?
Here the air is calm and fine
For the father of the flocks;-
Here the grass is soft and sweet,
And the river-eddies meet

[ocr errors]

In the trough beside the cave,
Bright as in their fountain wave.-
Neither here, nor on the dew
Of the lawny uplands feeding?
Oh, you come !-a stone at you
Will I throw to mend your breeding;-
Get along, you horned thing,

Wild, seditious, rambling!

EPODE.*

An Iacchic melody
To the golden Aphrodite
Will I lift, as erst did I
Seeking her and her delight
With the Mænads, whose white feet
To the music glance and fleet.
Bacchus, O beloved, where,
Shaking wide thy yellow hair,
Wanderest thou alone, afar?
To the one-eyed Cyclops, we,
Who by right thy servants are,
Minister in misery,

In these wretched goat-skins clad,
Far from thy delights and thee.

The Antistrophe is omitted.

Sil. Be silent, sons; command the slaves to drive

The gathered flocks into the rock-roofed cave.

Chorus. Go But what needs this serious haste, O fa

ther?

Sil. I see a Greek ship's boat upon the coast,
And thence the rowers with some general
Approaching to this cave. About their necks
Hang empty vessels, as they wanted food,
And water-flasks.-O miserable strangers!
Whence come they, that they know not what and who

My master is, approaching in ill hour

The inhospitable roof of Polypheme,

And the Cyclopian jaw-bone, man-destroying?

Be silent, Satyrs, while I ask and hear,

Whence coming, they arrive the Etnean hill.

Ulys. Friends, can you show me some clear water spring, The remedy of our thirst? Will any one

Furnish with food seamen in want of it?
Ha! what is this? We seems to be arrived
At the blithe court of Bacchus. I observe
This sportive band of Satyrs near the caves.
First let me greet the elder.-Hail !

Sil.

Hail thou,
O Stranger! Tell thy country and thy race.
Ulys. The Ithacan Ulysses and the king
Of Cephalonia.

Sil.
Oh! I know the man,
Wordy and shrewd, the son of Sisyphus.

Ulys. I am the same, but do not rail upon me.-
Sil. Whence sailing do you come to Sicily?
Ulys. From Ilion, and from the Trojan toils.
Sil. How, touched you not at your paternal shore?
Ulys. The strength of tempests bore me here by force.
Sil. The self-same accident occurred to me.

Ulys. Where you then driven here by stress of wea

« ForrigeFortsett »