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So they were afraid that the gods might fulfil his prayers if they dwell together; and they made an agreement, that Polyneices, the younger, should first leave the land in voluntary exile, while Eteocles should stay and hold the scepter, and then change places yearly. But as soon as Eteocles was seated on the bench of power, he did not leave the throne, but drove Polyneices into exile from this land. So Polyneices went to Argos and married into the family of Adrastus, and having collected a numerous force of Argives is leading them here; and he has come against these very walls of seven gates, demanding the scepter of his father and his share of the land. Now I, to end their strife, have persuaded one son to meet the other under truce, before seizing arms; and the messenger I sent tells me that he will come. O Zeus, dwelling in the bright folds of heaven, save us, and reconcile my sons! For you, if you are really wise, must not allow the same mortal to be forever wretched.Jocast
Chorus Leader Your fate, royal mistress, now you know; but for me, what Helene or Achaean is master of my destiny? Talthybius Go, servants, and bring Cassandra forth to me here at once, that I may place her in our captain's hands, and then conduct to the rest of the chiefs the captives each has had assigned. Ha! what is the blaze of torches there within? What are they doing? Are they firing the chambers, because they must leave this land and be carried away to Argos? Are they setting themselves aflame in their longing for death? Truly the free bear their troubles in cases like this with a stiff neck. Open up! lest their deed, which suits them well but finds small favor with the Achaeans, bring blame on me. Hecuba It is not that they are setting anything ablaze, but my child Cassandra, frenzied maid, comes rushing wildly here.
Cassandra Bring the light, uplift and show its flame! I am doing the god's service, see! see! making his shrine to glow with tapers bright. O Hymen, lord of marriage! blessed is the bridegroom; blessed am I also, soon to wed a princely lord in Argos. Hail Hymen, lord of marriage! Since you, my mother, are busied with tears and lamentations in your mourning for my father's death and for our country dear, I at my own nuptials am making this torch to blaze and show its light, giving to you, O Hymen, giving, O Hecate, a light, at the maiden's wedding, as the custom is. Nimbly lift the foot; lead the dance on high, with cries of joy, as if to greet my father's happy fate. The dance is sacred. Come, Phoebus, now, for it is in your temple among your bay-trees that I minister. Hail Hymen, god of marriage! Hymen, hail! Dance, mother, and laugh! link your steps with me, and circle in the delightful measure, now here, now there. Salute the bride on her wedding-day with hymns and cries of
Chorus Leader What sweet relief to sufferers it is to weep, to mourn, lament, and chant the dirge that tells of grief! Andromache Do you see this, mother of that man, Hector, who once laid low in battle many a son of Argos? Hecuba I see that it is heaven's way to exalt what men accounted nothing, and ruin what they most esteemed. Andromache Hence with my child as booty am I borne; the noble are brought to slavery—a bitter change. Hecuba This is necessity's grim law; it was just now that Cassandra was torn with brutal violence from my arms. Andromache Alas, alas! it seems a second Aias has appeared to wrong your daughter; but there are other ills for you. Hecuba Yes, beyond all count or measure are my sorrows; evil vies with evil in the struggle to be first. Andromache Your daughter Polyxena is dead, slain at Achilles' tomb, an offering to his lifeless corpse. Hecuba O woe is me! This is that riddle Talthybius long ago told me, a truth obscurely uttered. Andromache I saw
Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation, Certaine instructions delivered in the third voyage,
Anno 1556. for Russia
, to every Purser and the rest of the servants, taken for the voyage, which may serve as good and necessary directions, to all other like adven turers. (search)