Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/113

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Lines 122—153]

If any tutelar deity, amongst the gods above, who cherishes any affectionate regard for Achæan Argos, or if the noble race of Pisa, who celebrate the Olympian Games with their emulating chariots; if there be any, who look with favor on the Corinthian Isthmus, with its double harbours, and the two seas which it separates; if any admiring tutelar god, who sees from afar, the magnificent snows mantling the summits of Taygetus, which the Scythian Boreas has furnished during the winter season, and which the ensuing summer's sun melts, and renders the path easy for navigators with their sailing ships, as the Etesian winds spring up. (These periodical north-east winds were always continuous, like our trade winds.) Is there a Deity whom the bright Alpheus with its cooling streams claims as a friendly protector, the place, too, so noted for its race-course and Olympian Games! look down, oh! that kind deity, and interpose, lest such crimes, as have already been committed aforetime, should be repeated!—let not a grandson succeed to the throne possibly worse than his grandfather, nor that greater crimes may suit the inclinations of the younger successors!—At length, may the impious progeny of thirsting Tantalus, wearied out, abandon their ferocious violence; enough crime has already been committed—the law, hitherto of no avail, has been trampled on, and all the ordinary offences of mankind have been wickedly surpassed! And Myrtilus, the treacherous betrayer of his master, fell betrayed like that master, and was carried off with the same treacherous intentions, which he had manifested towards Œnomaus, and being thrown into the sea by Pelops, rendered that sea famous, its name being changed from its former one. (Pelops having thrown him into the sea, instead of carrying out his promise, that he should be a sharer in the favors of Hippodamia.) No legend is better known to the Ionian mariners, than this. Thy own little offspring, Pelops, fell by thy impious sword, oh! thou, Tantalus! just as he was merrily tripping along to receive a father's caress, that tender victim died at the altar, and was carved up by thy own hand, that thou might (with his flesh) supply the feast, which thou servedst up for the Gods, whom thou invitedst as thy guests! (To test the divinity of the Gods, but they all abstained, except Ceres!) Eternal hunger awaited thee, after this meal and eternal thirst, as the part price of this repast! Nor could a more worthy punishment have been decreed in token of such a diabolical feast! Tantalus continues to be baffled in his vain efforts, to satisfy his empty throat! Many a tempting prize hangs over his sickly head, more fugitive than the Phinæan vultures! Here and