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Heracles   


MEGARA I too implore thee add a second boon, that by thy single act
thou mayst put us both under a double obligation; suffer me to deck
my children in the robes of death,-first opening the palace gates,
for now are we shut out,-that this at least they may obtain from their
father's halls.
LYCUS I grant it, and bid my servants undo the bolts. Go in and deck
yourselves; robes I grudge not. But soon as ye have clothed yourselves,
I will return to you to consign you to the nether world. (Lycus and
his retinue withdraw.)

MEGARA Children, follow the footsteps of your hapless mother to your
father's halls, where others possess his substance, though his name
is still ours. (MEGARA and her children enter the palace.)
AMPHITRYON O Zeus, in vain it seems, did I get thee to share my bride
with me; in vain used we to call thee father of my son. After all
thou art less our friend than thou didst pretend. Great god as thou
art, I, a mere mortal. surpass thee in true worth. For I did not betray
the children of Heracles; but thou by stealth didst find thy way to
my couch, taking another's wife without leave given, while to save
thy own friends thou hast no skill. Either thou art a god of little
sense, or else naturally unjust. (AMPHITRYON follows MEGARA into
the palace.)

CHORUS (singing, strophe 1)
Phoebus is singing a plaintive dirge to drown his happier strains,
striking with key of gold his sweet-tongued lyre; so too am I fain
to sing a song of praise, a crown to all his toil, concerning him
who is gone to the gloom beneath the nether world, whether I am to
call him son of Zeus or of Amphitryon. For the praise of noble toils
accomplished is a glory to the dead. First he cleared the grove of
Zeus of a lion, and put its skin upon his back, hiding his auburn
hair in its fearful gaping jaws;
(antistrophe 1)
Then on a day, with murderous bow he wounded the race of wild Centaurs,
that range the hills, slaying them with winged shafts; Peneus, the
river of fair eddies, knows him well, and those far fields unharvested,
and the steadings on Pelion and they who haunt the glens of Homole
bordering thereupon, whence they rode forth to conquer Thessaly, arming
themselves with pines for clubs; likewise he slew that dappled hind
with horns of gold, that preyed upon the country-folk, glorifying
Artemis, huntress queen of Oenoe;
(strophe 2)
Next he mounted on a car and tamed with the bit the steeds of Diomede,
that greedily champed their bloody food at gory mangers with jaws
unbridled, devouring with hideous joy the flesh of men; then crossing
Hebrus' silver stream he still toiled on to perform the hests of the
tyrant of Mycenae, till he came to the strand of the Malian gulf by
the streams of Anaurus, where he slew with his arrows Cycnus, murderer
of his guests, the savage wretch who dwelt in Amphanae;
(antistrophe 2)
Also he came to those minstrel maids, to their orchard in the west,
to pluck from the leafy apple-tree its golden fruit, when he had slain
the tawny dragon, whose awful coils were twined all round to guard
it; and he made his way into ocean's lairs, bringing calm to men that
use the oar; moreover he sought the home of Atlas, and stretched out
his hands to uphold the firmament, and on his manly shoulders took
the starry mansions of the gods;
(strophe 3)
Then he went through the waves of heaving Euxine against the mounted
host of Amazons dwelling round Maeotis, the lake that is fed by many
a stream, having gathered to his standard all his friends from Hellas,
to fetch the gold-embroidered raiment of the warrior queen, a deadly
quest for a girdle. And Hellas won those glorious spoils of the barbarian
maid, and safe in Mycenae are they now. On Lerna's murderous hound,
the many-headed hydra, he set his branding-iron, and smeared its venom
on his darts, wherewith he slew the shepherd of Erytheia, a monster

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