Mother has gone,
Gone to the Underworld!
She lives no more,
O my Father,
In the sunlight.
O sad one,
You have left us
To live motherless!
See, Oh, see her eyelids
And her drooping hands!
Hearken to me, listen,
I beseech you!
I am calling to you,
Your little bird fallen upon your face!
She hears not, she sees not. You and I are smitten by a dread
Father, I am a child,
And I am left
Like a lonely ship
By the mother I loved.
Oh! The cruel things I suffer!
And you, little sister,
Suffer with me.
O my Father,
Vain, vain was your wedding,
You did not walk with her
To the end of old age.
She died first;
And your death, O Mother,
Destroys our house.
Admetus, you must endure this calamity. You are not the first
and will not be the last to lose a noble wife. We all are doomed to
I know it.
Not unawares did this woe swoop down on me; for long it has gnawed
But, since I shall ordain the funeral rites for this dead body,
you must be there, and meanwhile let a threnody re-echo to the
implacable God of the Underworld. And all you men of Thessaly whom I
rule-I order you to share the mourning for this woman with severed
hair and black-robed garb. You who yoke the four-horsed chariot and
the swift single horses, cut the mane from their necks with your
Let there be no noise of flutes or lyre within the city until
twelve moons are fulfilled. Never shall I bury another body so dear to
me, never one that has loved me better. From me she deserves all
honour, since she alone would die for me!
(The body of ALCESTIS is carried solemnly into the Palace,
followed by ADMETUS, With bowed head, holding one of his children by
each hand. When all have entered, the great doors are quietly shut.)