heaps the slaughtered steers; while Love we worship not, Love, the king of men, who holds the key to Aphrodite’s sweetest bower,— worship not him who, when he comes, lays waste and marks his path to mortal hearts by wide-spread woe. There was that maiden in Œchalia, a girl unwed, that knew no wooer yet nor married joys; her did the queen of Love snatch from her home across the sea and gave unto Alcmena’s son, mid blood and smoke and murderous marriage-hymns, to be to him a frantic fiend of hell; woe! woe for his wooing!
Ah! holy walls of Thebes, ah! fount of Dirce, ye could testify what course the love-queen follows. For with the blazing levin-bolt did she cut short the fatal marriage of Semele, mother of Zeus-born Bacchus. All things she doth inspire, dread goddess, winging her flight hither and thither like a bee.
Phæ. Peace, ladies, peace! I am undone.
Cho. What, Phædra, is this dread event within thy house?
Phæ. Hush! let me hear what those within are saying.
Cho. I am silent; this is surely the prelude to mischief.
Phæ. Great gods! how awful are my sufferings!
Cho. What a cry was there! what loud alarm! say what sudden terror, lady, doth thy soul dismay.
Phæ. I am undone. Stand here at the door and hear the noise arising in the house.
Cho. Thou art already by the bolted door; ’tis for thee to note the sounds that issue from within. And tell me, O tell me what mischief can be on foot.
- Iole, daughter of Eurytus, king of Œchalia. Her father refused, after promising, to give her to Heracles, who thereupon took her by force.
- There is some corruption here. It is probable the doubtful εἰρεσίᾳ conceals an allusion to Eurytus, as Monk indeed suggests; but the passage is not yet satisfactorily emended.