Page:Euripides the Rationalist.djvu/55

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When he had finished his survey, it seemed,
The heavings of the heart began subside,
The helpful breath returned, and last the smile
Shone out, all Herakles was back again,
As the words followed the saluting hand.
"To friendly man behoves we freely speak,
Admetos!—nor keep buried, deep in breast
Blame we leave silent. I assuredly
Judged myself proper, if I should approach
By accident calamities of thine,
To be demonstrably thy friend: but thou
Told'st me not of the corpse then claiming care,
That was[1] thy wife's, but didst instal me guest
I' the house here, as though busied with a grief
Indeed, but then, were grief beyond thy gate:
And so, I crowned my head, and to the Gods
Poured my libations in thy dwelling-place,
With such misfortune round me. And I blame—
Certainly blame thee, having suffered thus!
But still I would not pain thee, pained enough:
So let it pass!"

Here by way of parenthesis I would ask the reader to compare carefully this speech with the foregoing picture; to remark the device by which the one is linked to the other; to note that Euripides has nothing anywhere to warrant one stroke of the picture, and nothing in this place but a remark from the Chorus that the person approaching the house appears to be Heracles; to consider how easy it could have been to suggest such a picture by common dramatic means—and then to believe, if he can, that Browning and Euripides have here the same conception and purpose. To proceed however with our immediate subject. The reply of Admetus, so far as it relates to the present matter, runs in Browning's version as follows:

Nowise dishonouring, nor amid my foes
Ranking thee, did I hide my wife's ill fate;
But it were grief superimposed on grief,
Shouldst thou have hastened to another home.
My own woe was enough for me to weep!

Now it is evident that these two speeches, allowing for the difference of speaker, decide the main question, whether the

  1. That 'twas would better express the meaning. Is was perhaps a misprint or slip of the pen?