Page:Tragedies of Seneca (1907) Miller.djvu/344

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The Tragedies of Seneca

Shall e'er be taken from thee. Make request:
What thou desirest will I freely give,
And fill thee with thy loving family.
Thou shalt be satisfied; be not afraid. 980
E'en now thy children, mingled with my own,
Enjoy alone their youthful festival.
They shall be summoned hither. Now behold
This ancient cup, an heirloom of our house.
Take thou and drink the wine which it contains.

[He hands Thyestes the cup filled with mingled blood and wine.]

Thyestes: I take my brother's proffered gift. But first
Unto our father's gods we'll pour a share,
And then will drink the cup. 985
But what is this?
My hands will not obey my will; the cup—
How heavy it has grown, how it resists
My grasp! And see how now the wine itself,
Though lifted to my mouth, avoids the touch,
And flees my disappointed lips. Behold,
The table totters on the trembling floor;
The lights burn dim; the very air is thick, 990
And, by the natural fires deserted, stands
All dull and lifeless 'twixt the day and night.
What can it all portend? Now more and more
The shattered heavens seem tottering to their fall;
The darkness deepens, and the gloomy night
In blacker night is plunged. And all the stars
Have disappeared. Whatever this may mean, 995
Oh, spare my children, brother, spare, I pray;
And let this gathering storm of evil burst
Upon my head. Oh, give me back my sons!
Atreus: Yes, I will give them back, and never more
Shall they be taken from thy fond embrace.
Thyestes: What is this tumult rising in my breast?
Why do my vitals quake? I feel a load 1000
Unbearable, and from my inmost heart
Come groans of agony that are not mine.
My children, come! your wretched father calls.