Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/123

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Lines 286—319]

ATR. Wicked hope is generally credulous: however, we will send a message, by my sons, which they shall convey to their uncle, to inquire whether he would not change his present condition of an outcast, wandering from his own kingdom, and from the miseries of his deserted home, and reign as ruler in part over Argos. If Thyestes himself obdurately spurns their entreaties, these representations will encourage his clownish sons, worn out by their grievous sufferings, and they will be more easy to be cajoled! Whereupon, his insane desire to rule again will prevail over everything, for there must be, where he is, sad privation and hence great distress, although these latter alone would suffice to tame down an ordinary mind unhardened by so much wickedness!

GU. Time surely has enabled him to bear his troubles with some sort of resignation!

ATR. Thou art mistaken, he feels his sufferings increasing daily; it is easy, I admit, to bear misery, but to have to look forward to nothing. else, is much worse!

GU. Do select other instruments for this woeful project, than thy own sons: young people give too ready an ear to worse counsels probably: they may act as regards thee, their father, just in the same way as thou art instructing them to act towards an uncle, so often is it that one's evil deeds recoil upon the authors thereof!

ATR. When any one is unable to understand the 'ins' and 'outs' of frauds and crimes, he that rules can very soon enlighten him. Dost thou feel alarmed lest men should be made wicked? Nonsense! It is born in them! I know what thou thinkest of me—that I am cruel, harsh, and desirous that everything should savor of severity, and this done, sometimes, with too little reverence for the gods; but the chances are that at this very moment Thyestes is getting up some plot against me!

GU. Will not thy sons soon detect that thy plan is nothing but a fraud; besides thou canst not expect, at their tender age, that any secret will be undivulged; perhaps they might pretend that they were not being deceived. To learn the full value of silence is only learned, sometimes, after fighting with evils and misfortunes arising out of the too free use of the tongue! and canst thou really suppose that thou canst hoodwink those whom thou simply employest to deceive others? Whether they do not often act quite opposite to thy views, as regards being wilful accomplices in thy crimes, and thy guilt!