Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/157

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Lines 901—933]

or whether his breath will be taken away with astonishment, or his body become rigid with the shock, when he beholds the heads of his three sons! This is the reward of my labor. I do not enjoy so much seeing him miserable, but the pleasure to me is to watch him whilst it is being brought about. The open porches are lighted up with a profusion of lamps, and Thyestes lies down effeminately on the purple couches ornamented with gold, and supporting his head now growing heavy (with the repast) with his left hand, and amidst frequent hiccuping and eructations, he exclaims! "I think, oh! I think myself nobler than any of the folks in heaven, I feel a very king of kings. I have transcended my wildest, desires!" He has made a heavy repast, and he drinks his wine out of a silver goblet! Don't be sparing with the wine, as yet there remains plenty of the blood yielded by the three victims, the color of the old wine will soon disguise it. This repast will be suitably wound up with the contents of this jug—the father shall drink the blood of his children mixed with it. He would have drunk mine (with gusto). Listen, he is now indulging in little snatches of songs, and utters merry remarks, nor does he seem to me to have full command over his senses!


The song of Thyestes at the feast, where he gives himself up to merriment, although his inner mind foresees some mischief looming in the future, which is not quite in keeping with such jollity.

Oh! soul of mine! recently soured by chronic misfortunes, now lay aside anxious care, let grief vanish, and fear leave me for ever, let sad privation, the twin sister of trembling exile, and disgrace heavy with troubles forsake me; it concerns a man more from what height he may fall, than the place he may reach, as the result of such a fall, but it is a great point when a man of importance falls from a lofty eminence to be able at the very least, to place his feet firmly on the ground; it is a great thing, too, for a man to bear up with a head not bowed down, and the weight and cares of a kingdom, broken up and divided and himself overwhelmed with the direst disasters, quite as much as it is, for a man faint-hearted and subdued by misfortunes, to bear with some amount of equanimity, the fresh reverses which have befallen him. But let me banish the dark shadow of my former cruel fate, and dismiss the memory of the miserable portion of my life, and let a joyful countenance reflect itself on my present