Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/25

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Lines 4—33]
5
HERCULES FURENS.

Mother Danae). In another part of the Heavens, the Twin Tyndaridæ, Castor and Pollux, shine forth as brilliant constellations (and Juno gazing earthwards, espies the refuge land of Latona, when pursued by the Python, which became the birth-place of Apollo and Diana), for the security of which children, Delos, hitherto a floating island (tossed hither and thither by me tempestuous waves—sometimes above the water's surface and at other times submerged) became at last firmly fixed and acquired a solid foundation—(Neptune out of pity for the sufferings of Latona having struck it with his trident). Not only does Bacchus, but his mother even (Semele) consorts with the Gods above, and lest anything should be wanting to confirm all this opprobrium, the heavens ostentatiously parade the coronet of that Gnossian wench Ariadne! But I complain, moreover, of still more chronic grievances—one too cruel and dreadful to relate: that the Theban land should so abound in infamous step-daughters, every time it has been ordained that I should be made a stepmother! It is permitted, too, that Alcmene, my triumphant rival, should ascend and usurp my very throne, whilst no less her son should eventually take possession of the promised constellation—he, at whose birth the world lost an entire day (one day short in the calendar of time), and Phœbus, having been commanded to slacken the progress of his chariot, illumined the sea with a day-star and shed his diurnal rays into the ocean's bosom! (thus there were three consecutive nights). After all this can my anger be made to cease, and will not my insulted nature give way to violent rage? and my cruel grief urge me on still more to wage perpetual warfare, all prospects of a truce being entirely out of the question! But why do I speak in that grandiose way of wars? What can possibly be brought about? For whatever horrible visitations that a hostile earth could devise, whatever the sea or air has ever brought into existence—whatever has partaken of the terrible—whatever dreadful calamities—whatsoever of a pestilential character and whatsoever has savoured of the cruel and atrocious (Juno here alludes to the Bull, the Scorpion, the Giants, the Crab, the Hydra and the Stymphalides), every thing has been disabled or subdued by Hercules—he conquers every thing in his path, and he increases in his capabilities as his obstacles become more difficult! He derives only profit from my anger, and whilst I might appear to be austere in my commands, he is simply turning my hatred into his own glorification; I have, however, fully settled the question as to his paternal origin (Jupiter) and it is I who have been throwing in his way, all this time, the opportunities