Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/159

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Lines 934—972]

mood, although it would distress, me to ignore the sufferings of the afflicted. Dame Fortune, why dost thou recall me, or why shouldst thou object to my celebrating this auspicious day? Why, shouldst thou bid me to weep when grief springs out of nothing within my knowledge? What, should prevent me from encircling my locks with flowers of recent date? There is a reason why! This much is against it, the roses of spring once fell from my crown, (alluding to his coronation roses). My hair, although besmeared with perfumed grease (an unguent scented with the amomum), is still prone to stand on end amidst sudden terrors, and the tears trickle down my unwilling face, (not willing to betray the weakness which gives rise to them,) irrepressible sighs interrupt my utterance, grief delights in tears to which it is no stranger (as a relief to pent-up sorrow). Over the miserable the desire to weep assumes an imperious sway—surely, I am at liberty to indulge in my tristful lamentations—surely, again, I can liberate myself from my present gorgeous apparel. Thrice dyed with the Tyrian purple—surely, if I think fit, I may be allowed to fill the air with my groans! My mind inspires me with a warning of coming grief, foretelling some calamity, some sad presentiment! A violent storm often overhangs the mariner, even whilst the deadest of calms prevail over the surface of the ocean, with no appearance of wind! Ah! but what grief am I insanely picturing to my mind, or what racking thoughts are taking possession of me? Shall I let my trustful heart go forth to my brother? But whatever is it? Either only the fabric of my own imagination, or that it appears, late in the day, to begin to cultivate fear! I am, however, unwilling to make myself miserable, but still, a vague alarm hovers within my breast, my eyes pour forth tears on a sudden, nor does the cause of such tears show itself in any definite form! Is it then merely sorrow, or is it my fear? Which is it? But is not excessive joy sometimes accompanied with tears?


Atreus feigning hilarity, invites his brother to partake of the wine, and in order that he might rejoice more fully of seeing his children; on asking for them, Atreus shows him their heads and hands, and tells him all that had been done, hence arises an outburst of grief, anger, reproaches, and curses!


Oh my brother, let us with mutual cordiality, celebrate this auspicious day! This is the day, that shall strengthen the security of my sceptre, and establish a solid guarantee between us of inviolable peace!