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Alcestis   


Queen, But she held out her hand to each, and there was none so base
to whom she did not speak, and who did not reply again.
Such is the misery in Admetus's house. If he had died, he would be
nothing now; and, having escaped, he suffers an agony he will never
forget.
LEADER
And does Admetus lament this woe-since he must be robbed of so
noble a woman?
SERVANT
He weeps, and clasps in his arms his dear bedfellow, and cries
to her not to abandon him, asking impossible things. For she pines,
and is wasted by sickness. She falls away, a frail burden on his
arm; and yet, though faintly, she still breathes, still strives to
look upon the sunlight, which she shall never see hereafter-since
now for the last time she looks upon the orb and splendour of the
sun I
I go, and shall announce that you are here; for all men are not so
well-minded to their lords as loyally to stand near them in
misfortunes, but you for long have been a friend to both my lords.

(She goes back into the women's quarters
of the Palace. The CHORUS now begins to sing.)


FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
O Zeus,
What end to these woes?
What escape from the Fate
Which oppresses our lords?
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
Will none come forth?
Must I shear my hair?
Must we wrap ourselves
In black mourning folds?
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
It is certain, O friends, it is certain?
But still let us cry to the Gods;
Very great is the power of the Gods.
CHORUS
O King, O Healer,
Seek out appeasement
To Admetus's agony!
Grant this, Oh, grant it!
Once before did you find it;
Now once more
Be the Releaser from death.
The Restrainer of blood-drenched Hades!
SECOND SEMI-CHORUS
Alas!
O son of Pheres.
What ills shall you suffer
Being robbed of your spouse!
FIRST SEMI-CHORUS
At sight of such woes
Shall we cut our throats?
Shall we slip
A dangling noose round our necks?
CHORUS
See! See!
She comes
From the house with her lord!
Cry out, Oh, lament.
O land of Pherae,
For the best of women
Fades away in her doom

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