forthcoming. Can it be so? Such things are not for us to fight with. MEDEA [380] Dear child, whither hurriest thou abroad? They will do everything in their power to help you. [173] Perchance I shall find means to stay him. Walks to the door, opens it and calls at the children. The matter has been decided and you will not be allowed to stay here. Oh, how much better it is to live a balanced life: to be an equal among equals. Chorus Medea has killed your children with her own hands! Chorus This is because whilst the childless folk don’t know if children are a good thing or bad, they escape a great deal of concern and worry, whereas those who do have in their house these little blossoms, well, I see them worrying all day long about how to raise them properly and how to leave them a good inheritance. I’ll do it for your sake, even though… even though every time one of her servants approaches her, she becomes wild with anger and looks at them with the eyes of a lioness who just gave birth. Pax, goddess of concord. MEDEA There is a catch to this. And us? Always compromising, always accommodating –and that, you see, is how a woman earns her security: never argue with your husband! What is left for me to enjoy now? But, I see that your heart has turned towards other, more worthy sentiments and, at the end, you have realised which is the better decision. “Petty are the evils,” she cries, “and cheap is the weapon which deepest earth begets; from heaven will I seek my poisons. All offspring that thou hast by him are Creusa’s brood. Why dost thou delay now, O soul? I have gifts from Chimaera’s middle part,93 I have flames caught from the bull’s scorched throat, which, well mixed with Medusa’s gall, I have bidden to guard their bane in silence. Now I’m truly lost! Should he wish to be judged in beauty, all will yield to the son of Aeson, our leader – the ruthless lightning’s son17 who yokes with wild tigers, and he18 who makes tremble the tripod, the stern virgin’s19 brother; with his twin Castor, Pollux with yield, more skilful in boxing. New troubles arrive even before the old ones have gone! Referring to the golden fleece. Thy corpse also will I take hence with me. Now call on Hecate. MEDEA [To herself.] Even now, I can see that I am making a mistake by giving in to your wishes…. But let me go. Oh! She uses the plural with a sneer. I shall think of you as one of my friends and benefactors from now on. How I shudder with fear for the monstrous deed that I must do! JASON 93. i.e. MEDEA Messenger Medea! I came to save their lives, before they, too are harmed by the relatives, avenging on them their mother’s unholy crime. Medea Why? Then people also say that while we live quietly and without any danger at home, the men go off to war. Chorus How quickly you’ve come before Hades’ gates! But why frame complaints and idle words? How dreadful is my Fate! My enemies would laugh at me. 56. They first scatter in distress and then gather round the nurse. My spirit quakes with horror; some great disaster is at hand. What could we have done? Creusa, a descendant of Aeolus. Yet you have suffered the greatest misfortune. Chorus Where is there a friendly family for you, what house, what place will you find to give you a haven from your terrible fate? [Enter MEDEA, in time to hear the last words.]. Perhaps you will even come regret it. You don’t want to admit that it was Eros only, Eros, with his faultless arrows who persuaded you to save me and nothing else. CHORUS The heavy groans of grief coming from the heart of this unfortunate daughter of Colchis. You make fun of me because you have a place to stand on, a house, whereas I, I, on the other hand, will be thrown out of here, alone and desolate. Begone, I pray thee. We use cookies for social media and essential site functions. You will not endure their knee-delivered pleas to you, you will not endure painting your hand with their blood. Now all my power is marshalled; hither call my sons that by their hands thou mayst send these costly gifts unto the bride. House? Where will this wave break itself? Chorus Why? They have more love for themselves than they have for others. To the lofty roof of our palace will I mount, now the bloody work hath been begun. With me! Ah, mad rage, say not so! The Annenberg CPB/Project provided support for entering this text. Surely ‘twas in the power of the king’s son-in-law to put off the time of my cruel banishment – one day was given for my children twain. Stop her! Ajax; the father’s name is put in place of the son’s. Chorus Then the woman took her children and jumped into the ocean. 131. Grow up a bit and, rest assured, that your father and the gods who love us will take good care of us. That thou arm thy hand against thy father-in-law, and stain thyself with kindred55 blood, Medea does not compel thee; remain guiltless and escape with me. Aigeas Ah, in that case your sadness is truly justified, Medea. Time’s experience gives us much material to sing about both, of us – of women as well as of men. The king’s very own daughter? CREON Jason. Tutor Nothing… No… Nevermind. What waters dost show to me? How could you manage to kill your very own children? No, don’t do this, I beg of you, Creon! Though I repent, yet have I done it! 26. i.e. I’m out here, old man, because my heart urged me to reveal to both, the Earth and the Sky, all of my Lady’s problems. How long will you live my darlings? Not when I took you from a barbarous house and a barbarous land and brought you to a Greek one, not when I saw you betraying your father and the land that raised you, not when I saw you kill your own brother so as to climb aboard our beautiful ship Argo. I did it because I had a scheme, a plan which would give me some profit. 5. THE TIME of the play is confined to the single day of the culmination of the tragedy, the day proposed by Creon for the banishment of Medea and the marriage of Jason to Creusa, daughter of Creon. 241. [513] Why, wretched woman, dost thou drag both me and thee to ruin? Go forward with your terrible deed. His desperate efforts, however, are in vain. By all means, have the wedding and may you rejoice by them. JASON, son of Aeson, and nephew of Pelias, the usurping king of Thessaly; organizer and leader of the Argonautic expedition to Colchis in quest of the Golden Fleece. I have a wife with whom I share a wedding bed. Your current position in the text is marked in blue. Those also I squandered upon thee; for thee my country has given place, for thee father, brother, maidenhood – with this dower did I wed thee. I’ll also beg him to let my boys stay here, not because I want them left here as objects of ridicule but so that I can then use my cunning to murder the King’s daughter! [579] No violence of fire or of swelling gale, no fearful force of hurtling spear, is as great as when a wife, robbed of her love, burns hot with hate; not when cloudy Auster has brought the winter’s rains, and Hister’s floods speeds on, wrecking bridges in its course, and wanders afield; not when the Rhone beats back the sea, or when the snows melt into streams beneath the sun’s strong rays and in mid-spring Haemus has dissolved. ‘Tis for him Pelias lies dead, and not for me. But no! Do I want my enemies to mock me? If you love your mistress and if you are a true woman, say nothing of what I’ve decided to him. [Appearing on the house-top.] 82. Go now, haughty man, take thee maids for wives, abandon mothers. MESSENGER. Frowning woman! Medea Thank you, Zeus and you goddess of Justice! THE SCENE is in Corinth, in the court of the house of Jason. Why should I leave? But grant that under compulsion he yielded and made surrender; he could at least have come to me, could have spoken some last words to his wife. There is no land, no home, nor any means to escape my suffering. [She offers various gifts to HECATE.] MEDEA MESSENGER Jason That’s a better idea. I’ll send the children to her with gifts, the sort that women love: a finely woven gown and a crown made of gold. Thou, thou contriver of wickedness, who combinest woman’s wanton recklessness and man’s strength, with no thought of reputation, away! [1026] [Calling after her.] Go and tell her! Don’t think that at all, dear ladies. Tell me then, Jason. Your father has not neglected you but, with god’s help he did what he could. . [155] Light is the grief which can take counsel and hide itself; great ills lie not in hiding. JASON I have come out among you so that you’ll stop talking behind my back, condemning my every action. The Furies. Aigeas Don’t you believe me, Medea, or is there something holding you back? 62. Why look at me like this? I’ve married you! Translating dona in the sense of remitte. of violating the sea. [Chanting the epithalamium for JASON and CREUSA.] Go home and bury your wife. (4). 87. the crime is accomplished; but vengeance is not yet complete; be done with it while they hands are still about it. Gifts from an evil man are of no use at all to anyone. The Miller translations of Seneca's tragedies are no longer in print having been replaced in the Loeb Classical Library series by those of John Finch. Are you not married? Swift and fickle is fortune and, swooping down, ahs torn me from royalty and given me o’er to exile. Chorus My eyes, too, are bursting with heart-felt tears. The fruit of thy crimes is to count nothing crime. Oh, my darling children! Oh what a fool I am! No one is better than us. If only you knew what your father is really like!Ah, but he’s my master so I won’t curse him but the man has shown himself to be cruel to his own family! Gods! Leave right now, quickly and end all this chatter. What’s the reason for your tears? But for you, obviously, everything is a catastrophe. [1008] One is enough for punishment. [731] She seizes death-dealing herbs, squeezes out serpents’ venom, and with these mingles unclean birds, the heart of a boding owl, and a hoarse screech-owl’s vitals cut out alive. Hither let that serpent79 descend which lies like a vast rushing stream, whose huge folds the two beasts80 feel, the greater and the less ( the greater used81 by Pelasgians; by Sidonians, the less); let Ophiuchus at length relax his choking grip and give the poison vent; in answer to my incantations let Python come, who dared to attack the twin divinities.82 Let Hydra return and every serpent cut off by the hand of Hercules, restoring itself by its own destruction. Jason was lured by the royal bed and here my mistress cries all day and she’s wasting away! Chorus Or else, I, too, would be composing songs against men –. [236] Come on now, and heap all kinds of shameful deeds upon me. Jason No, but because you’ve uttered sacrilegious curses to the royal family. Medea Of course I believe you, Aigeas but Pelias’ family and Creon are my enemies now, so if you’ve sworn an oath, you’d be constrained by that oath, if they come to you and try to take me by force. Water, the natural defence against fire. [137] But what else could Jason have done, once made subject to another’s will and power? Immediately after the murder of the Princess I will have to murder my own children. He is the worst man in the world! I’ve pondered over an argument for a very long time, considering all of its subtle points.

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