Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/35

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Lines 178—207]

only precipitated by each flying day. The obdurate Parcæ perform their allotted tasks, nor do they ever unwind the threads they have once woven; but the race of mankind at large is borne forward to meet its rapid destiny, uncertain of what that fatal urn may declare, whilst we are only seeking carelessly, as it were, the Stygian Streams! Oh! Alcides, do not with your stout heart hasten too eagerly to visit the sadness-ridden Manes! The Parcæ come on the appointed day with certain precision; it is not allowed for them to cease from their ordained task at any command, or to publish the prescribed term of life at any bidding—the fatal urn receives only those whose lots are enrolled therein—Glory attends one man in many lands, and busy fame praises throughout all the cities of the world, and raises him equally to Heaven and the Stars! Another is borne aloft in chariot triumphant. May our own land then protect us, surrounded by our own Lares and Penates in security! Grey old age quickly overtakes the weak, but moderate means in a small habitation ensures safety, and puts one out of harm's way—whilst wealth unassured in this manner, is always a doubtful possession. Sublime heroism tells heavily, when once it begins to totter—But Megara, with a look of sadness, is now approaching, her locks hanging down loosely, accompanied by her family of little ones, and the father of Hercules, Amphitryon, follows her, but with his gait rendered slow through the advances of old age.



Megara bewails the absence of Hercules in enumerating her troubles—she complains of the violence and insolence of Lycus. Amphitryon pities the despondent state of Megara's mind, and tenders her consolation in her despair.


Oh! Monarch of mighty Olympus, and arbiter of the world's destinies; by this time decree a remedy for my grievous sufferings, and vouchsafe an end to these misfortunes, for never does there arrive a day, which affords me the slightest security from one trouble or another,