Page:Tragedies of Seneca (1907) Miller.djvu/341

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323
Thyestes


Though daylight aid me not, yet will I snatch
The shrouding darkness from thy miseries.
Too long with care-free, cheerful countenance
Thou liest at the feast. Now food enough,
And wine enough. For so great ills as these, 900
Thyestes must his sober senses keep.
[To the slaves.]
Ye menial throng, spread wide the temple doors,
The festal hall reveal. 'Tis sweet o note
The father's frantic grief when first he sees
His children's gory heads; to catch his words,
To watch his color change; to see him sit,
All breathless with the shock, in dumb amaze,
In frozen horror at the gruesome sight. 905
This is the sweet reward of all my toil—
To see his misery, e'en as it grows
Upon his soul.

[The doors are thrown open, showing Thyestes at the banquet table.]

Now gleams with many a torch
The spacious banquet hall. See, there he lies
Upon his golden couch all richly decked
With tapestry, his wine-befuddled head
Upstayed upon his hand. Oh, happy me! 910
The mightiest of the heavenly gods am I,
And king of kings! The fondest of my hopes
Is more than realized. His meal is done;
Now raises he his silver cup to drink.
Spare not the wine; there still remains the blood
Of thy three sons, and 'twill be well disguised 915
With old red wine. Now be the revel done.
Now let the father drink the mingled blood
Of his own offspring; mine he would have drunk.
But see, he starts to sing a festal song.
With mind uncertain and with senses dim.

Thyestes [sits alone at the banquet table, half overcome with wine;

he tries to sing and be gay, but in spite of this, some
vague premonition of evil weighs upon his spirit]:
O heart, long dulled with wretchedness, 920
Put by at last thine anxious cares.