Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/23

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Chorus of Thebans.


Lycus, being exiled for his crimes by Creon the father-in-law of Hercules and king of Thebes, Hercules being at that time away in the Infernal Regions, whither he had gone to seek out Cerberus at the instigation of Eurystheus: here he found Theseus, who had made a descent into the regions of Pluto in company of Pirithous with the intention of carrying off Proserpine, bound in chains.—Lycus seizes his opportunity, and aided by conspirators, slays Creon together with his two sons, and usurps the Kingdom of Thebes—He then solicits Megara, the wife of Hercules, to marry him and prepares to resist any refusal on her part—Hercules, luckily returning, slays Lycus and those involved in the conspiracy. Juno, not viewing these deeds with approval, throws Hercules into a state of delirium, during a paroxysm of which he slays his own wife and children. Subsequently when he becomes restored to his senses, and owing to his intolerance of the anguish which he suffered, he was prevailed on, though with difficulty, to yield to the entreaties of Amphitryon and Theseus, not to lay violent hands on himself, and accepted the alternative of setting out for Athens in company with Theseus, with the view of atoning for his mad acts.


JUNO (alone).

Juno waxes wrath at the furtive amours of Jupiter, his concubines and bastard offspring, and is very angry about the successes of Hercules, who on his return from the Infernal Regions being thrown by Juno into a state of frenzy, slays his wife and children.

As Sister of Thundering Jove, for that distinction is the only one now remaining to me, but as widow anon, I have quitted the palatial temples of lofty Olympus, and the marriage couch of the ever faithless Jupiter and thus banishing myself, I have rendered up