Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/441

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Lines 234—269]
421
MEDEA.

its noble leaders; first and foremost, thy intended son-in-law would have fallen a prey to the vomited flames of the ferocious bull! Fortune may deal even harshly with my case, if she likes, but I do not myself repent of having been the means of preserving the lives, the honor, the glory of so many noble heroes, the sons of kings! Whatever price I shall have to pay as the reward for all my crimes, this is a matter entirely in thy hands: therefore, if it pleases thee, condemn me as a criminal, but give me back my crime in full (Jason). I plead guilty, Creon, I confess; thou knewest what I was when I genuflexed to thee and craved as a suppliant for that justice which is only expected in the fulfilment of a solemn pledge, and I now ask, in my hour of tribulation, only for a small corner and resting-place in this country,—any low hovel or hiding-place, but if it pleases thee only to expel me from the city, pray let some remote spot be accorded me, so long as it is in thy kingdom!

CREON.

I am far from being the man who wishes to wield his power with violent measures, nor am I one that can tread with a disdainful foot upon the misfortunes of any one; indeed, I have that reputation, not wanting either in being borne out by one very clear proof, which is not making my son-in-law an exile, afflicted as he is, and always in dread of some grave disaster; for Acastus is on the look out for thee to be punished for the murder of his father Pelias, trembling and feeble from advancing years and borne down by old age, and then at the body of the murdered old man being cut up in such a truculent manner, when the affectionate sisters, deceived by thy malignant arts, ventured to proceed with their impious task! (The daughters cut their father to pieces, having drawn off all the blood from the veins, on the assurance that Medea would replenish them by her incantations.) Could Jason defend his cause if thou art left out of the question?—he has never yet contaminated his hands with innocent blood, his hand, has never used the sword in this way, for whilst all this was being done, he has always stood aloof—and at a distance from thy companionship—(from the midst of thy personal achievements)! No; thou! thou art the sole machinatrix of all these terrible crimes, thou whose wickedness as a woman is supplemented with that masculine strength which has endowed thee with the audacity to perpetrate such deeds—in fact, thou dost not seem to have any consciousness of thy infamy! Go forth!