Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/439

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Lines 201—233]

grasped the sceptre with his proud hands thinks that every thing he does is screened by his royal prerogative, and is inclined to persevere in the course which he has set himself to follow. (Medea here wishes to suggest that the now hearkening to the entreaties of a suppliant is a part of Creon's plan.) I gleaned the knowledge of this fact from my observations in my own father's royal palace. Although I may be here at thy feet, ruined, utterly miserable, through my downfall;—driven away as a suppliant,—a deserted wife—and a fair target at every turn for any kind of affliction—I once shone forth myself as a cynosure in my noble father's palace, and I claim my illustrious descent from Phœbus himself, who is my grandfather! Whatsoever lands the Phasis washes with its winding placid streams, of whatever countries the Scythian sea commands the view along its shores, wherever the bitter salt sea is tempered by the numberless marshy streams flowing into it as tributaries, and those plains, where the armed battalions of virgins, with their moon-shape shields, strike terror, whilst they throng the banks of the Thermodon—over all those vast stracts, does my father rule! I, of noble descent, with prospects of the brightest, shone forth, exercising considerable influence with my royal splendor, and then it was that suitors sought my hand in marriage (Jason) who in turn are now being sought for by others as sons-in-law (Creon). But fortune, ever fleeting and capricious, in a precipitate moment snatched me from my kingdom, and handed me over to exile! Put what trust thou likest in kingdoms, when thou ought to know how the most trifling incident may carry here—remove yonder—at any moment those great advantages which kings enjoy! But there is one great and glorious privilege, which kings at all times possess, and which, as long as they are kings, no day can deprive them of, and that is to do good to the wretched and fallen, and to provide safe surroundings (reliable Lares) for a suppliant. Think of the one treasure I brought from the kingdom of Colchis; my chief title to glory is to have brought safely with me that distinguished ornament,—the noble flower of Greece, the very safeguard of the Grecian nation, and the offspring of the Gods (the Argonaut Heroes.) Orpheus, who charms the very rocks and captivates the forest trees, is my gift, and the double present of Castor and Pollux emanated from my exertions, and the Sons of Boreas, and Lynceus, who, when he directs his keen eyes, sees things although they are at the bottom of the sea; and all those Thessalian Minyæ (companions of Jason in the Argonautic expedition)— for I am silent about the chief of all these leaders (Jason),