Under the earth,
To dark Hades!
(From the central door of the Palace comes a splendid but
tragical procession. Preceded by the royal guards, ADMETUS enters,
supporting ALCESTIS. The two children, a boy and a girl, cling to
their mother's dress. There is a train of attendants and waiting
women, who bring a low throne for the fainting ALCESTIS.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS (chanting)
Never shall I say that we ought to rejoice in marriage, but rather
weep; this have I seen from of old and now I look upon the fate of the
King, who loses the best of wives, and henceforth until the end his
life shall be intolerable.
Sun, and you, light of day,
Vast whirlings of swift cloud!
The sun looks upon you and me, both of us miserable, who have
wrought nothing against the Gods to deserve death.
O Earth, O roof-tree of my home,
Bridal-bed of my country, Iolcus!
Rouse up, O unhappy one, and, do not leave me! Call upon the
mighty Gods to pity!
ALCESTIS (starting up and gazing wildly in terror, chanting)
I see the two-oared boat,
I see the boat on the lake!
Ferryman of the Dead,
Calls to me, his hand on the oar:
'Why linger? Hasten! You delay me!'
Angrily he urges me.
Alas! How bitter to me is that ferrying of which you speak! O my
unhappy one, how we suffer!
He drags me, he drags me away-
Do you not see?-
To the House of the Dead,
The Winged One
Glaring under dark brows,
What is it you do?
Set me free!-
What a path must I travel,
O most hapless of women!
O piteous to those that love you, above all to me and to these
children who sorrow in this common grief!
Loose me, Oh, loose me now;
Lay me down;
All strength is gone from my feet.
(She falls back in the throne.)
Hades draws near!
Dark night falls on my eyes,
My children, my children,
Never more, Oh, never more
Shall your mother be yours!
O children, farewell,
Live happy in the light of day!