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Alcestis   


It is the proof of your cowardice, O worst of men.
PHERES
You cannot say she died for me!
ADMETUS
Alas! May you one day need my help.
PHERES
Woo many women, so that more may die for you.
ADMETUS
To your shame be it-you who dared not die.
PHERES
Sweet is the daylight of the Gods, very sweet.
ADMETUS
Your spirit is mean, not a man's.
PHERES
Would you laugh to carry an old man's body to the grave?
ADMETUS
You will die infamous, whenever you die.
PHERES
It will matter little enough to me to hear ill of myself when I am
dead!
ADMETUS
Alas! Alas! full of impudence. is old age!
PHERES
She was not impudent, but foolish,
ADMETUS
Go! Leave me to bury her body.
PHERES (turning away)
I go. You, her murderer, will bury her-but soon you must render an
account to her relatives. Acastus is not a man if he fails to avenge
his sister's blood on you!

(PHERES goes out by the way he entered, followed by his
attendants. ADMETUS gazes angrily after him.)


ADMETUS
Go with a curse, you, and she who dwells with you! Grow old, as
you ought, childless though you have a child. You shall never return
to this house. And if I could renounce your hearth as my father's by
heralds, I would do it. But we-since this sorrow must be endured-let
us go, and set her body on the funeral pyre.

(The Procession moves slowly along the stage, and is joined by the
CHORUS. As they pass, the LEADER salutes the body of ALCESTIS.)


LEADER (chanting)
Alas! Alas! You who suffer for your courage, O noblest and best of
women, hail! May Hermes of the Dead, may Hades, greet you kindly. If
there are rewards for the dead, may you share them as you sit by the
bride of the Lord of the Dead!

(The Procession has filed out. A servant in mourning
hurries out from the guests' quarters.)


SERVANT
Many guests from every land, I know, have come to the Palace of
Admetus, and I have set food before them, but never one worse than
this guest have I welcomed to the hearth.
First, though he saw our Lord was in mourning, he entered, and
dared to pass through the gates. Then, knowing our misfortune, he
did not soberly accept what was offered him, but if anything was not
served to him he ordered us to bring it. In both hands he took a cup
of ivy-wood, and drank the unmixed wine of the dark grape-mother,
until he was encompassed and heated with the flame of wine. He crowned
his head with myrtle sprays, howling discordant songs. There was he

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