Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/125

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Lines 320—354]

laus too, shall be at his father's commands and be made acquainted with my project! Out of all this proposed combination of wickedness too, any notion of mine respecting the uncertainty of their birth (as to legitimacy) will be cleared up: if they refuse to advocate war, and are willing to endorse and carry out my hatred; if they speak of me as "Uncle"; then Thyestes is their father! Let us go on, but a troubled countenance is apt to betray the secrets of the mind, and will lay bare any unwillingness, they may entertain to join in the execution of projects of such importance! Let them therefore be in ignorance of the nature of the enterprise, in which they will be co-operators, and let me conceal my real intentions!

GU. This advice is superfluous to me, as thou must be aware. Thou knowest that thou possessest my fidelity and my only apprehensions are entirely as regards thy interests! But my fidelity, above all, will suffice to bury thy secrets in my innermost bosom!


An opportunity is taken advantage of, and is drawn from the feud, between the brothers, who keep down their anger for a time; when the Chorus reproves the ambition of rulers, and points out what a true king should be, and lastly sings in praise of the amenities of a retired life.

At length the noble house of Inachus, that ancient lineage, has seen the rancorous feud of the brothers calmed down; what fury agitates thy breasts, that thou shouldst have carried on such mutual carnage, merely to gain a sceptre, wading to it in crime! Thou art ignorant. Thou who art greedy of attaining power, of what does a kingdom really consist? Riches do not constitute a king, nor gaudy vestments dyed with Tyrian hues, nor the blazing crown on a royal head, nor gorgeous ceilings (of a palace) shining with their rich gilding. That man, though, is a king, who assuages all those fears (and suspicions) so common with rulers, and drives forth from his mind all his own evil passions, whom weak ambition fails to inflate, and whom the unreliable applause of the unthinking herd does not affect—he who covets not what is due out of the mines of the Hesperian West, or what the golden waters of the Tagus yield from its