Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/165

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Lines 1045—1085]

they are tearing away at my internal organs! Is there no limit to human wickedness?

ATR. A limit is certainly due to crime, when thou art merely committing crime as a crime, but not when thou art associating that crime with vengeance—and this vengeance appears small to my mind. I ought to pour out from their wounds before thy very eyes that thou mightest drink their reeking blood, whilst life still remained within them! I am simply trifling with my anger, whilst I hurry matters on with idle words—I inflicted the wounds with the thrusts of my sword—I slew them before the altar—I pacified the Lares, with the slaughter, which I vowed, should be offered, and cutting up the limbs of their dead bodies, I divided them myself, into small portions, and plunged some of them into the hissing caldron, other portions I decided should be roasted, the fluidities therefrom dripping down before a slow fire: I cut the limbs away from the bodies, before life was quite extinct; I watched the entrails as they crackled, whilst transfixed on a delicate spit (skewer), and I kept the fire up with my own hands, their own father could not have managed the business with greater culinary skill! My anger, after all, fell short of the mark, for in ignorance, the father munched his sons' flesh in his impious mouth, but the pity is, that they were incognizant of what that father was doing with them!

THY. Hear, O ye seas, shut in by winding shores! hear, also, ye Gods, whithersoever ye have fled, of this dreadful list of crimes—listen, O! ye regions below, listen, all corners of the earth! O! thou night, oppressed with black Tartarus-like clouds, give ear to my voice! I am destined for thee, thou longest to see me miserable, although thou art not deprived of the stars I will not offer up any unbecoming prayers for myself, nor in fact will I solicit anything for myself, or ask whether anything is possible to be done for me, let my prayers be regarded as for thee! Oh ! thou ruler of lofty heaven, thou sovereign of the ethereal palaces, surround the entire universe with frightful tempests, on all sides let there be war amongst the winds themselves and let the whole world in every part, resound with thy terrific thunder, and with the force, not such as thou selectest to destroy simple houses and undeserving homesteads, the milder form of thy thunders, but that sort, which broke up the threefold mass of mountains, Pelion, Ossa, and Olympus, and dispersed the giants which equalled those mountains in height! Hasten with thy armaments! Let me behold the lightnings, which thou canst hurl, and make up for the missing day!