Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/121

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THYESTES.

within me—I am carried away, I know not whither, but I am led on irresistibly! The very earth seems to groan from its lowest depths, and although the day is serene enough, yet thunder is heard in the skies, and my very abode cracks and creaks, as if its roof were broken down, and about to tumble upon me, and my very household gods in an excited state, turn away their looks from me; but let my determination be carried out—let it, if it be a crime, be duly executed! What! Oh ye gods above! Are ye scared at my resolves?

GU. What then art thou ready to do, after all?

ATR. I know not exactly, what impels my mind with surging thoughts so much and so much more than ordinarily, beyond the bounds of all human ideas, but here I am, with my hands slow to move! I know not, how it will succeed, but so far as I have dwelt upon it, it appears to me a magnificent conception. Come, I shall think it over studiously, the crime of Thyestes is really deserving of it, and it does credit to the mind of Atreus. Thus each of us will perform a part. The palace of the Thracian King has been the scene of serving up, aforetime, a most repulsive repast! I acknowledge frankly—it is a most rascally deed, but it has been done before by others! But, nevertheless, my resentment must discover something yet more severe. Let me be inspired with resolution, as an emulous imitator of that Daulian prototype Progne (of Tereus memory), and may that sister Philomela assist me and encourage my project, as our cause is very similar. (Atreus is seeking to imitate and to look up to Daulis, as a child would to a parent, and personifies "Daulis" as a parent!) A hungry father shall with a smiling face cut up into dainty morsels, his own children, and partake of them at his repast! This is well! This is a brilliant conception! For the present, then, this mode of punishing Thyestes, suits me exactly! But where am I? But why does Atreus hesitate in his mind without promptly carrying out his designs? The entire picture of this contemplated carnage already flits across my vision! I can see in my mind's eye, the very children of whom he has been deprived, being devoured by their own father! O! for this resolution of mine. Why do I shrink back again from my task, and actually hang fire before the matter is taken in hand? Let me take courage then, the thing must be set about! And Thyestes himself will carry out, what will be the most abominable part of this criminal drama (eating his own offspring). What a parade of wholesale childlessness to exhibit before the eyes of a bereaved parent!