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TRANSLATION FROM MEDEA.
Σκακιες δι λιγων κεδέν τι σοφες
Medea, v. 194, p. 33, Glasg. edit
SPEECH OF THE CHORUS
THE SAME TRAGEDY,
To dissuade Medea from her purpose of putting her children to death, and flying for protection to Athens.
O haggard queen! to Athens dost thou guide
Thy glowing chariot, steeped in kindred gore; Or seek to hide thy damned parricide
Where Peace and Mercy dwell for ever more ? The land where Truth, pure, precious, and sublime,
Woos the deep silence of sequestered bowers, And warriors, matchless since the first of Time,
Rear their bright banners o'er unconquered towers ! Where joyous Youth, to Music's mellow strain,
Twines in the dance with Nymphs for ever fair, While Spring eternal, on the lilied plain,
Waves amber radiance through the fields of air!
The tuneful Nine (so sacred legends tell)
First waked 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
Waved in bright auburn o'er her polished brow'
Where silent vales, and glades of green array,
The murm’ring wreaths of cool Cepbisus lave, There as the Muse hath sung, at noon of day,
The Queen of Beauty bowed to taste the wave;
And blest the stream, and breathed across the land,
The soft sweet gale that fans yon summer bowers And there the sister Loves, a smiling band,
Crowned with the fragrant wreaths of rosy flowers !
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 sost control,
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 hallowed waters play,
Where friendship binds the generous and the good, Say, shall it hail thee from thy frantic
way, Unholy woman! with thy hands imbrued
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 lingʻring echoes ring
The screams of horror in thy tortured ear?
No! let thy bosom melt to Pity's cry,
In dust we kneel—by sacred Heaven imploreO! 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,
Undamped by horror at the daring plan?
Or bands to finish what thy wrath began?
And gaze on innocence that smiles asleep, Shall no fond feeling beat, to nature true,
Charm thee to pensive thought-and bid thee weep? When the young suppliants clasp their parent dear,
Heave the deep sob, and pour the artless prayer,Ay! thou shalt melt;—and many a heart-shed tear
Gush o'er the hardened features of despair ! Nature shall throb in ev'ry tender string,
Thy trembling heart the ruffian's task deny; Thy horror-smitten hands afar shall fling
The blade, undrenched in blood's eternal dye!
Hallowed Earth! with indignation
Mark, oh mark, the murd'rous deed!
eye of wide creation,
Yet, ere Colchia's rugged daughter
Perpetrate the dire design,
Children of thy golden line :
Shall the hand, with murder gory,
Cause immortal blood to flow? Sun of Heav'n--arrayed in glory!
Rise,-forbid, -avert the blow! In the vales of placid gladness
Let no rueful maniac range; Chase afar the fiend of Madness
Wrest the dagger from Revenge! Say, hast thou, with kind protection,
Reared thy smiling race in vain; Fost'ring Nature's fond affection,
Tender cares, and pleasing pain? Hast thou, on the troubled ocean,
Braved the tempest loud and strong,
Roar Cyanean rocks among?
Hymenean joys to prove?
Pledges of thy sacred love !
Watch thee o'er the barb'rous deed ?
Monstrous, murd'rous, parricide?