first with the thought how they may train them up in virtue, next how they shall leave their sons the means to live; and after all this ’tis far from clear whether on good or bad children they bestow their toil. But one last crowning woe for every mortal man I now will name; suppose that they have found sufficient means to live, and seen their children grow to man’s estate and walk in virtue’s path, still if fortune so befall, comes Death and bears the children’s bodies off to Hades. Can it be any profit to the gods to heap upon us mortal men beside our other woes this further grief for children lost, a grief surpassing all?
Med. Kind friends, long have I waited expectantly to know how things would at the palace chance. And lo! I see one of Jason’s servants coming hither, whose hurried gasps for breath proclaim him the bearer of some fresh tidings.
Mes. Fly, fly, Medea! who hast wrought an awful deed, transgressing every law; nor leave behind or sea-borne bark or car that scours the plain.
Med. Why, what hath chanced that calls for such a flight of mine?
Mes. The princess is dead, a moment gone, and Creon too, her sire, slain by those drugs of thine.
Med. Tidings most fair are thine! Henceforth shalt thou be ranked amongst my friends and benefactors.
Mes. Ha! What? Art sane? Art not distraught, lady, who nearest with joy the outrage to our royal house done, and art not at the horrid tale afraid?
Med. Somewhat have I, too, to say in answer to thy words. Be not so hasty, friend, but tell the manner of their death, for thou wouldst give me double joy, if so they perished miserably.
Mes. When the children twain whom thou didst bear
- Reading κυοήσει (Ald. et Schol.). The MSS. vary between κυρήσας, σαι σει.