Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/453

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433
MEDEA.

ameliorate! (For example.) If I wish to manifest my fidelity towards the reasonable claims of a wife, my life would be demanded as the sacrifice! If I should not feel disposed to die in this manner, I should be taunted with not holding to my unfortunate vows (in another quarter), and it would not be that this arose from any lack of manly spirit, but simply the anxious affectionate love I entertain for my children; for the offspring would be sure to have to undergo the fate of the parent! Oh holy Astræa! (Goddess of Justice) if thou art still to be found in the heavens, I invoke thee and call to my aid thy divine assistance! The love for my children has compelled me to elect to live, and I suppose that Medea herself, although she is of a naturally ferocious disposition, would rather consult the interests and welfare of her children, than trouble her head any more about this marriage business! At all events, I have made up my mind to approach her with my intercessions, however angry I may find her!

(This as she is coming here.) Ah! Behold! Here she comes, and directly she catches sight of me, she jumps about, and becomes frantic! She is really exceeding herself in her hatred, and anger shows up in every lineament of her visage!

MEDEA.

Jason, I am sent into exile,—I shall flee,—such a thing as changing my habitat is no new thing to me, but the reason for my doing so now is rather a novel one. Formerly I exiled myself, for thy sake, and to avoid an angry father, and again to get out of the way of Acastus.—I am leaving this country and I go as an exile: how is it that thou compellest me to fly from thy tutelar Penates? To whom art thou consigning me? Shall I have to seek Phasis or Colchis—and my father's kingdom, and the country where my brother's blood was spilled? What land dost thou command me to seek? What seas canst thou point out? The straits of the Euxine, through which I once conducted back, in safety, the noble troop of kings (the Argonauts). I followed the adulterous Jason across the Symplegadæ, or shall it be the unpretentious Iolchus, or shall I seek out the Thessalian Tempe? Now all these places, which I have brought to thy notice are closed to me I (I have made my owu country and Thessaly hostile to me)—where dost thou mean to send me? Thou orderest me to be exiled, but thou dost not provide me with a place of exile! Let it be so then! The Royal son-in-law has only to command,