where, as legend tells, the Muses nine, Pieria’s holy maids, were brought to birth by Harmonia with the golden hair; and poets sing how Cypris drawing water from the streams of fair-flowing Cephissus breathes o’er the land a gentle breeze of balmy winds, and ever as she crowns her tresses with a garland of sweet rose-buds sends forth the Loves to sit by wisdom’s side, to take a part in every excellence. How then shall the city of sacred streams, the land that welcomes those it loves, receive thee, the murderess of thy children, thee whose presence with others is a pollution? Think on the murder of thy children, consider the bloody deed thou takest on thee. Nay, by thy knees we, one and all, implore thee, slay not thy babes. Where shall hand or heart find hardihood enough in wreaking such a fearsome deed upon thy sons? How wilt thou look upon thy babes, and still without a tear retain thy bloody purpose? Thou canst not, when they fall at thy feet for mercy, steel thy heart and dip in their blood thy hand.
Jas. I am come at thy bidding, for e’en though thy hate for me is bitter thou shalt not fail in this small boon, but I will hear what new request thou hast to make of me, lady.
Med. Jason, I crave thy pardon for the words I spoke, and well thou mayest brook my burst of passion, for ere now we twain have shared much love. For I have reasoned with my soul and railed upon me thus, “Ah! poor heart! why am I thus distraught, why so angered ’gainst all good advice, why have I come to hate the rulers of the land, my husband too, who does the best for me he can, in wedding with a princess and rearing for my children noble brothers?
- Reading χώρας with Reiske. The passage is corrupt, and possibly some word is lost.
- Of the numerous emendations of this corrupt passage, Nauck’s τέκνον for τέκνοις is the simplest, if it goes far enough. Verrall suggests that a word has fallen out after the second ἣ and conjectures μένος ἁ τέχναν. This is not less satisfactory than most of the emendations.