Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/431

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Lines 116—148]
411
MEDEA.

MEDEA.

I am at my wits' end,—these marriage chants are still ringing in my ears. I can scarcely accredit so gross a piece of villainy—hardly, as yet, at all events! Is Jason capable of doing such things? Snatched away from my father, my native country, my kingdom, and thus to be left alone forsaken,—in a foreign land! Has that ungrateful man learned to despise my meritorious services?—I, who, by my crimes, witnessed his triumph over the flames and the sea (by her sorceries over the flames, the brazen-footed, fire-vomiting bulls, and over the sea by throwing into it the body of her brother Absyrtus)—but he is so credulous as to suppose that I have exhausted my category of the evil arts which I can yet bring to my aid? In my wavering state of mind,—of maddened imagination,—I am goaded on to every kind of invention which an insane brain can conceive, as to the mode in which I shall be best able to execute my revenge. I wish Jason had a brother,—never mind,—he has a wife, and upon her the sword shall be visited;—but is this enough to satisfy my wrongs? If the Pelasgians, or even any Barbarian cities, have become acquainted with any specimen of crime not known already to these practised hands of mine, now is the time to make it known to me—let your crimes induce you to offer some sort of guidance, and let all my own deeds return to my memory—that glorious distinguishing ornament of a proud kingdom, the golden fleece (stolen by Jason, aided by my sorceries), and the young companion of a cruel virgin, cut up with the edge of the sword, and his remains thrust upon the notice of the father (to retard pursuit) and his body thrown into the sea, piece by piece (to appease Neptune). And the body of the aged Pelias boiled in a caldron—how impiously forsooth! And how often have I been reckless in the shedding of blood? But none of these things, mark, have I done when anger was urging me on! Now, my unsuccessful spurned affection will add fury to my operations! But what could Jason do? He has had the sanction and authority of another to aid and abet him in doing what he has done. But ought he not rather to have presented his breast to the sword's point, than to have deserted me? But let me speak more to the purpose, ah, with more moderation. Oh! this angered soul of mine! If it be possible, let Jason remain mine, as he once was; if not—let him still live, and be mindful of my past services, and my now sparing him. (My vengeance is to let him live to know that he owes his very existence to my forbearance.)