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Prometheus bound   


What subtle shift,
Or sound of charming song shall make me well?
Hide naught of ill
But-if indeed thou knowest-prophesy-
In words that thrill
Clear-toned through air-what such a wretch as
Must yet abide-
The lost, lost maid that roams earth's kingdoms wide?

PROMETHEUS
What thou wouldst learn I will make clear to thee,
Not weaving subtleties, but simple sooth
Unfolding as the mouth should speak to friends.
I am Prometheus, giver of fire to mortals.
IO
Oh universal succour of mankind,
Sorrowful Prometheus, why art thou punished thus?

PROMETHEUS
I have but now ceased mourning for my griefs.

IO
Wilt thou not grant me then so small a boon?

PROMETHEUS
What is it thou dost ask? Thou shalt know all.

IO
Declare to me who chained thee in this gorge.

PROMETHEUS
The hest of Zeus, but 'twas Hephaestus' hand.

IO
But what transgression dost thou expiate?

PROMETHEUS
Let this suffice thee: thou shalt know no more.

IO
Nay, but the end of my long wandering
When shall it be? This too thou must declare.
PROMETHEUS
That it is better for thee not to know.

IO
Oh hide not from me what I have to suffer!

PROMETHEUS
Poor child! Poor child! I do not grudge the gift.

IO
Why then, art thou so slow to tell me all?

PROMETHEUS
It is not from unkindness; but I fear
'Twill break thy heart.
IO
Take thou no thought for me
Where thinking thwarteth heart's desire!
PROMETHEUS
So keen
To know thy sorrows! List I and thou shalt learn.

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