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TRANSLATION FROM MEDEA.
Σκαιες δε λέγων, κεδὲν τι σοφές
TELL me, ye bards, whose skill sublime
Why to the burst of Joy alone
While varied tones obey your sweep,
The fiercer pangs that shake the mind,
SPEECH OF THE CHORUS IN THE SAME TRAGEDY,
TO DISSUADE MEDEA FROM HER PURPOSE OF PUTTING HER CHILDREN TO DEATH, AND FLYING FOR PROTECTION TO ATHENS.
HAGGARD queen! to Athens dost thou guide Thy glowing chariot, steep'd in kindred gore; Or seek to hide thy damned parricide
Where Peace and Mercy dwell for evermore?
The land where Truth, pure, precious, and sublime, Woos the deep silence of sequester'd bowers, And warriors, matchless since the first of Time,
Rear their bright banners o'er unconquer'd towers! Where joyous youth, to Music's mellow strain,
Twines in the dance with Nymphs forever fair, While Spring eternal, on the lilied plain,
Waves amber radiance through the fields of air! The tuneful Nine, so sacred legends tell,
First wak'd their heavenly lyre these scenes among; Still in your greenwood bowers they love to dwell; Still in your vales they swell the choral song!
For there the tuneful, chaste, Pierian fair,
The guardian nymphs of green Parnassus, now Sprung from Harmonia, while her graceful hair Wav'd in bright auburn o'er her polish'd brow!
Where silent vales, and glades of green array, The murm'ring wreaths of cool Cephisus lave, There, as the muse hath sung, at noon of day,
The Queen of Beauty bow'd to taste the wave! And blest the stream, and breath'd across the land, The soft sweet gale that fans yon summer bowers; And there the sister Loves, a smiling band,
Crown'd with the fragrant wreaths of rosy flowers! "And go, (she cries) in yonder valleys rove,
With Beauty's torch the solemn scenes illume; Wake in each eye the radiant light of Love,
Breathe on each cheek young Passion's tender bloom! Entwine, with myrtle chains, your soft controul,
To sway the hearts of Freedom's darling kind! With glowing charms enrapture Wisdom's soul, And mould to grace ethereal Virtue's mind."
The land where Heaven's own hallow'd waters play, Where Friendship binds the generous and the good, Say, shall it hail thee from thy frantic way,
Unholy woman! with thy hands embrued
In thine own children's gore?....oh! ere they bleed, Let Nature's voice thy ruthless heart appal! Pause at the bold, irrevocable deed....
The mother strikes....the guiltless babes shall fall! Think what remorse thy maddening thoughts shall sting,
When dying pangs their gentle bosoms tear; Where shalt thou sink, when ling'ring echoes ring The screams of horror in thy tortur'd ear?
No! let thy bosom melt to Pity's cry,
In dust we kneel....by sacred Heaven implore.... O! stop thy lifted arm, ere yet they die,
Nor dip thy horrid hands in infant gore!....
Say, how shalt thou that barb'rous soul assume?