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As Ion and his followers are about to tear Creusa from the altar, the Priestess of Apollo enters from the temple.

Priestess
[1320] Hold back, my child; for I have left the oracular tripod and crossed the threshold, I the priestess of Phoebus, who keep the ancient law of the tripod, chosen from all the women of Delphi.

Ion
Welcome, you who are a dear mother to me, though not my parent.

Priestess
[1325] Then may I be called so; the name is not bitter to me.

Ion
Have you heard that this woman was trying to kill me with her plots?

Priestess
I have; but you are going astray in your cruelty.

Ion
Shouldn't I requite those who would kill me?

Priestess
Wives are always hostile to former offspring.

Ion
[1330] But we suffer greatly from stepmothers.

Priestess
Do not do these things; leaving the shrine and going to your country—

Ion
What must I be advised to do?

Priestess
Go pure to Athens, with good omens.

Ion
All those that kill their enemies are pure.

Priestess
[1335] Do not do it! Hear what I have to say.

Ion
Speak; whatever you say will be full of good will.

Priestess
Do you see this vessel in my arms?

Ion
I see an ancient cradle, in garlands.

Priestess
In this I received you when you were a new-born infant.

Ion
[1340] What are you saying? A new story is introduced.

Priestess
I kept it in silence; now I reveal it.

Ion
How did you hide it, when you received me long ago?

Priestess
The god wanted to have you as a servant in his house.

Ion
But now he doesn't want it? How must I know this?

Priestess
[1345] He has declared your father, and sends you from this land.

Ion
You kept these things because you were bidden to, or how?

Priestess
Loxias put it into my mind—

Ion
To do what? Speak, finish what you have to say.

Priestess
To keep to this time what I found.

Ion
[1350] What gain does this have for me, or what harm?

Priestess
The baby-clothes in which you were wrapped are hidden here.

Ion
You are producing a means to find my mother?

Priestess
Since the god wishes it; before, he did not.

Ion
O day of blessed discoveries!

Priestess
[1355] Now take them and find your mother.

Ion
I will go over all Asia and the boundaries of Europe.

Priestess
You yourself will know these things. For the sake of the god, I nurtured you, my son, and I will give you these, which he wished me, unbidden, to keep [1360] and save; why he wanted this, I do not understand. No mortal knew that I had these things, or where they were hidden. And now farewell; I take leave of you just as a mother does. Begin where you ought to seek your mother; [1365] first, if some Delphian girl gave you birth, and exposed you in this shrine; then, if she was someone of Hellas. You have everything from me, and from Phoebus, who took part in your fate.She goes into the temple after giving Ion the cradle.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), ORA´CULUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SACERDOS
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