Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/115

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95
THYESTES.

his mouth, trying to stifle his hunger, by closing his teeth, by shutting it in, as it were! But then every grove lowers its rich and luscious fruit (wealth), nearer and nearer, and the ripe apples leap about friskily above his head surrounded by the leaves languidly yielding to their capers, and they excite his hunger more and more and this urges him to make futile efforts to seize them with his hands, that when he has held these forth in vain, he seems reconciled to such frequent disappointments, and the entire autumn during which this fruitless task is exacted, passes away, and with it, disappears the gracefulness of the groves; and now comes a thirst, not lighter to be borne than the hunger already endured, thirst which when the blood grows hotter, burns him up, as it were with an inward fire; he stands then miserably invoking the streams to approach his parched up mouth, but which the receding river diverts, leaving nothing but its empty bed, whenever he attempts to get near it, and he swallows merely the sand, which lies at the bottom of the rapid stream!


ACT II.

ATREUS — THE GUARD.

Atreus consults with his guard, having determined to wreak his revenge on his brother, as to the best mode of carrying out his vengeance, to whom, however, he will not listen, as the guard advises him only to do what is right, and at length he decides on an impious and horrible plan of executing such revenge.

ATREUS.

OH, sluggish, aimless, pusillanimous soul of mine (and what I suppose to be most contemptible in a king, the consummation of every other shortcoming), unrevenged, after so much wickedness, after the treachery of a brother, and every law human and divine trampled upon! why dost thou, Atreus, exercise thy angry spirit with vain and meaningless complaints? But the whole of Argos ought at this moment to be resounding with the din of thy arms, and every warship muster and be afloat in the two seas; by this time, it might be expected, too, that the fields and cities were blazing with the conflagrations thou hast set up, and the drawn sword flashing on all sides; all the Argolic land should be