Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/475

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MEDEA.

behind it, in the cave so difficult of access, when it flew away from Zetes! To these let me add the feathers of one of the Stymphalides, which was wounded (brought down) by an arrow charged with the poison of the Lernæan Hydra! Hark! Hark! The altars are giving out a sound of some sort, I fancy my tripod is in motion, the goddess then is favorable! I behold the graceful chariot of the tri-une goddess (on account of her three capacities), and not wearing that full serene face with which she usually shines all the night through, but with that sad expression on her pale countenance which she presented when, harassed by the threatening importunities of the Thessalian magicians, when she drew rein as she described her downward journey in quitting the skies! And in like manner let me diffuse through the air a doleful irradiation, with my torch feebly burning, let me astonish the people with this newly-devised scare of mine, and oh! Dictynna (another name for Phœbe), the tinkling brazen cymbals of Corinth, held in such high estimation, shall come to thy aid! It is to thee I will offer up a solemn sacrifice on the blood-strewn leafy grass—for thee, that the torch from the accommodating tomb has kept up its nocturnal blaze—it is for thee I was uttering my supplications, when I turned round and moved my head excitedly (corybantically), it was for thee that that my head-dress surmounted my disordered locks, after the fashion adopted at funerals! It is for thee, that my hand is waving this mournful branch, which was washed up by the Stygian streams—it is for thee that with my breast laid bare as a Mænad, I will pierce my arms with the sacred knife, that my own blood may flow at thy altars! Let me accustom myself to the drawing of the sword, and let me be able to spare the loss of blood, which now is all the more precious to me. (She means she will require all her physical vigor to carry out the slaughter of her children.) I have wounded (struck) myself, and have supplied the sacrificial fluids. But, if thou shouldst complain that I call upon thee too much, I entreat thee pardon my importunate demands! Oh! Perseis, (another name for Hecate) they are always for one and the same object, that I implore thy valuable assistance, always, Jason! And now let me impregnate this cloak for Creusa, which as soon as she puts it on, the creeping flames will consume the body down to the innermost marrow, and the very bones containing it!

The fiery element inclosed in this gold is in a latent state at present, and therefore not detectable—this is what Prometheus gave me himself, who paid the penalty for this theft from heaven, with his re-producing entrails (a vulture