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Prometheus bound   


Argus, the giant herdsman, fierce and fell
As a strong wine unmixed, with hateful cast
Of all his cunning eyes upon the trail,
Gave chase and tracked me down. And there he perished
By violent and sudden doom surprised.
But I with darting sting-the scorpion whip
Of angry Gods-am lashed from land to land.
Thou hast my story, and, if thou can'st tell
What I have still to suffer, speak; but do not,
Moved by compassion, with a lying tale
Warm my cold heart; no sickness of the soul
Is half so shameful as composed falsehoods.
CHORUS
Off! lost one! off! Horror, I cry!
Horror and misery
Was this the traveller's tale I craved to hear?
Oh, that mine eyes should see
A sight so ill to look upon! Ah me!
Sorrow, defilement, haunting fear,
Fan my blood cold,
Stabbed with a two-edged sting!
O Fate, Fate, Fate, tremblingly I behold
The plight of Io, thine apportioning!
PROMETHEUS
Thou dost lament too soon, and art as one
All fear. Refrain thyself till thou hast heard
What's yet to be.
CHORUS
Speak and be our instructor:
There is a kind of balm to the sick soul
In certain knowledge of the grief to come.
PROMETHEUS
Your former wish I lightly granted ye:
And ye have heard, even as ye desired,
From this maid's lips the story of her sorrow.
Now hear the sequel, the ensuing woes
The damsel must endure from Hera's hate.
And thou, O seed of Inachaean loins,
Weigh well my words, that thou may'st understand
Thy journey's end. First towards the rising sun
Turn hence, and traverse fields that ne'er felt plough
Until thou reach the country of the Scyths,
A race of wanderers handling the long-bow
That shoots afar, and having their habitations
Under the open sky in wattled cotes
That move on wheels. Go not thou nigh to them,
But ever within sound of the breaking waver,
Pass through their land. And on the left of the
The Chalybes, workers in iron, dwell.
Beware of them, for they are savages,
Who suffer not a stranger to come near.
And thou shalt reach the river Hybristes,
Well named. Cross not, for it is ill to cross,
Until thou come even unto Caucasus,
Highest of mountains, where the foaming river
Blows all its volume from the summit ridge
That o'ertops all. And that star-neighboured ridge
Thy feet must climb; and, following the road
That runneth south, thou presently shall reach
The Amazonian hosts that loathe the male,
And shall one day remove from thence and found
Themiscyra hard by Thermodon's stream,
Where on the craggy Salmadessian coast
Waves gnash their teeth, the maw of mariners

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