Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/483

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Lines 918-955]

I wish this much, that my enemy had had some.children by that concubine Creusa; whatever there are, are mine, as far as Jason has made them, so!

I must suppose that Creusa gave birth to them, tutor my mind to that belief! This kind of punishment has pleased me, and deservedly pleased me, and I acknowledge that it is a veritable consummation of my desires I Oh my soul, let preparations be made! Oh! ye children, once suffer punishment for your father's wickedness! A feeling of horror vexes my soul, my limbs are stiffened with the chill which comes over me, and my heart is in a flutter! My anger has quitted its post and the "Mother" only becomes the ascendant force, and prevails over the other, the "repudiated wife"! And can I really bring myself to shed the blood of my children, my own very offspring!

Better perhaps! Alas I my mad rage, that ever such a crime should have been thought of, and would that such cruel wickedness had kept itself out of my mind I What crime have those children committed, that they should suffer punishment? Yes! Jason is the crime! Jason is their father, and the greater crime is Medea—they must perish, if they are not mine! Let them be sacrificed, if they are mine, they are free both of crime and blame, I confess, and so was my brother! What! Oh, my soul, art thou hesitating again? Why do the tears course down my cheeks? And why does my anger lead me on vacillatingly, hither one minute, and love (repudiated love) draw me thither the next? A wavering impetuous tide controls me, as when the tempestuous winds proclaim a cruel war, and the contending waves, swelling here, surging there, at every turn exert their dominion over the sea, and the perplexed ocean, as it were, boils up in anger! Alas! Oh! my anger, let me now yield to affection— Bring yourselves, hither, oh! my darling offspring, the only consolation left to me from my afflicted home, and embrace me with your arms thrown around me! May your father afford you his safe protection, and although your mother would protect you in like manner, exile,—flight,—are driving me from you! And now they may soon be torn, weeping and mourning, from my bosom! Let them be dead to the kisses of a father if they are to be dead to those of another! My anger is getting the upper hand again, and my mind will still nurse its hatred! Erinnys, as of old, urging me on to a fresh crime, repeats her odious assistance! Oh! my anger! wherever thou leadest me, I must follow!

I only wish then, that a whole army of proud Tantalides had emerged from my womb, and that I had been