Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/467

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MEDEA.

prises, oh ye mariners, and you, that could aforetime dread a simple fountain, may now wander at will over the seas. Idmon, although he arrogated to himself a prescience of coming events, was buried away at last in the throat of the serpent on the sands of Libya (and of course met his end). Mopsus too, the infallible oracle with everybody, played false to himself only at last, and died far away from Thebes! If Mopsus had only predicted the future with accuracy, the husband of Thetis, Peleus, was to wander as an exile in foreign lands, and Nauplius, who was bent upon injuring the Greeks by his misleading fires, threw himself headlong into the sea.—Oileus (Ajax) will expiate the crimes of his father, and will die by the lightnings of Jupiter and find a resting-place in the sea! Alcestis, the daughter of Pelias, to avert the fate of her Pheræan husband (Admetus) will give up as a compensation her own life to save his! And Pelias himself, who ordered the booty and stolen fleece to be carried back in the first vessel returning to Colchis, had his remains thoroughly consumed in the heated caldron, his dismembered parts tossing about angrily, as they were being boiled in a scanty supply of water! Now, we have sung enough, oh! ye gods! You have fully vindicated the honor of the God of the Sea (Neptune), but please in mercy spare Jason, who, after all, was a mere instrument in the hands of others! He only did as he was ordered.


ACT IV.

NURSE.

The Nurse reports what Medea is doing, and what she is preparing to carry out.

My mind grows alarmed, is terrified,—some disaster is imminent—how Medea's terrible anger is waxing still greater, and she seems to be consuming herself inwardly with its intensity; she appears to be resuming all her ancient power over her magical accessories! I have noticed her raging and often assuming a threatening attitude, as she was addressing the gods, and invoking with her incantations, the very heavens to assist her in her operations (the Moon and the Stars). Medea is now concocting something monstrous grander in its scope than anything she has ever done before, for she slips away, and at a furious pace, and at length arrives at her terror-striking secluded sanctum. She displays all her