Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/469

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MEDEA.

snows, and every conceivable monster from both quarters,—thereupon a scaly multitude present themselves, drawn from their hiding-places by her magical incantations! In one place a slowly-moving serpent drags its huge body along, and protrudes its three-forked tongue, as if seeking upon what it should dart forth its death-dealing stings—it seemed stupefied by the incantations it had just listened to, and it folds its swollen body in a spiral fashion, its knots presenting the appearance of a huge knob. And she then turns her thoughts to this orb, and remarks tha the mischief to be expected out of this does not amount to much, and it is a sorry engine for my purpose, which this lower earth can bring forth at its best. No, no, I must look to the heavens above for what I want, and now it is full time to put into motion and to exert myself for something more worthy of my skill than an ordinary, everyday piece of wickedness! Let that serpent which lies along the heavens, like some huge river, come down hither at my bidding, of whose immense nodes (this refers to an anatomical peculiarity of the serpent tribe) the two Bears, the major and the minor, feel the influence, the major serving the ends of the Grecian navigators, and the minor being more favorable to the Tyrian mariners: let this enormous serpent-containing constellation Ophiucus release itself from any surroundings that are restrictions to its capabilities (literally, release its hampered hands) and let it pour forth a very volume of virus, which I may be able to utilise—(Medea here breathes the suggestion that, being such an extensive group, they might hamper each other). Then let the Python that once had the audacity to attack the twins, Apollo and Diana, answer to my incantations, and the Hydra, and every part of that serpent, return, which was cut off by the hands of Hercules, and which multiplied after each part was destroyed, come to my aid, and oh, thou dragon always on the watch, leaving Colchis behind, that I first lulled to sleep for the first time in thy existence by the potency of my incantation, also come to me! After Medea had evoked every kind of serpent, she collects together in one mass all the poisonous products of the vegetable world—whatever the inaccessible Eryx generates in its disintegrated rocks—whatever the Caucasus sprinkled with the blood of Prometheus, can afford me from beneath those summits covered with perpetual snow, and whatever poisons the rich Arabs rub over the points of their arrows, and the warlike Mede, with his deadly quivers, or the swift Parthian horsemen, and whatever poisonous juices the intrepid Suevi in their frigid climate, can gather from the Hercynian forests,