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Alcestis   


Ah! to roll back the wave of our woe,
O Healer,
Appear!
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
Were she dead
They had not been silent.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
She is but a dead body!
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
Yet she has not departed the house.
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
Ah! Let me not boast!
Why do you cling to hope?
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
Would Admetus bury her solitary,
Make a grave alone for a wife so dear?
CHORUS
At the gate I see not
The lustral water from the spring
Which stands at the gates of the dead!
No shorn tress in the portal
Laid in lament for the dead!
The young women beat not their hands!
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
Yet to-day is the day appointed....
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
Ah! What have you said?
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
When she must descend under earth
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
You have pierced my soul!
You have pierced my mind!
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
He that for long
Has been held in esteem
Must weep when the good are destroyed.
CHORUS
No!
There is no place on earth
To send forth a suppliant ship-
Not to Lycia,
Not to Ammon's waterless shrine-
To save her from death!
The dreadful doom is at hand.
To what laden altar of what God
Shall I turn my steps?

He alone-
If the light yet shone for his eye-
Asclepius, Phoebus's son,
Could have led her back
From the land of shadows,
From the gates of Hades,
For he raised the dead
Ere the Zeus-driven shaft
Slew him with thunder fire....
But now
What hope can I hold for her life?
LEADER (chanting)
The King has fulfilled
Every rite;
The altars of all the Gods
Drip with the blood of slain beasts:
Nothing, nothing avails.

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