At last hast thou reached the goal where thy death will pay the forfeit,
For thy insults against thy betters.
Joy makes my tears burst forth.
There is come a retribution, which the prince of the land never once
thought in his heart would happen.
Come, old friends, let us look within to see if one we know has met
the fate I hope.
LYCUS (within) Ah me! ah me!
CHORUS (singing) Ha! how sweet to hear that opening note of his
within the house; death is not far off him now.
Hark! the prince cries out in his agony; that preludes death.
LYCUS (within) O kingdom of Cadmus, by treachery I am perishing!
CHORUS (singing) Thou wert thyself for making others perish; endure
thy retribution; 'tis only the penalty of thy own deeds thou art paying.
Who was he, weak son of man, that aimed his silly saying at the blessed
gods of heaven with impious blasphemy, maintaining that they are weaklings
Old friends, our godless foe is now no more.
The house is still; let us to our dancing.
Yea, for fortune smiles upon my friends as I desire.
Dances and banquets now prevail throughout the holy town of Thebes.
For release from tears and respite from sorrow give birth to song.
The upstart king is dead and gone; our former monarch now is prince,
having made his way even from the bourn of Acheron. Hope beyond all
expectation is fulfilled.
To heed the right and wrong is heaven's care. 'Tis their gold and
their good luck that lead men's hearts astray, bringing in their train
unholy tyranny. For no man ever had the courage to reflect what reverses
time might bring; but, disregarding law to gratify lawlessness, he
shatters in gloom the car of happiness.
Deck thee with garlands, O Ismenus! break forth into dancing, ye
paved streets of our seven-gated city! come Dirce, fount of waters
fair; and joined with her ye daughters of Asopus, come from your father's
waves to add your maiden voices to our hymn, the victor's prize that
Heracles hath won. O Pythian rock, with forests crowned, and haunts
of the Muses on Helicon! make my city and her walls re-echo with cries
of joy; where sprang the earth-born crop to view, a warrior-host with
shields of brass, who are handing on their realm to children's children,
a light divine to Thebes.
All hail the marriage! wherein two bridegrooms shared; the one, a
mortal; the other, Zeus, who came to wed the maiden sprung from Perseus;
for that marriage of thine, O Zeus, in days gone by has been proved
to me a true story beyond all expectation; and time hath shown the
lustre of Heracles' prowess, who emerged from caverns 'neath the earth
after leaving Pluto's halls below. To me art thou a worthier lord
than that base-born king, who now lets it be plainly seen in this
struggle 'twixt armed warriors, whether justice still finds favour
in heaven. (The spectres of MADNESS and IRIS appear from above. The
CHORUS sees them.) Ha! see there, my old comrades! is the same wild
panic fallen on us all; what phantom is this I see hovering o'er the
house? Fly, fly, bestir thy tardy steps! begone! away! away! O saviour
prince, avert calamity from me!
IRIS Courage, old men! she, whom you see, is Madness, daughter of
Night, and I am Iris, the handmaid of the gods. We have not come to
do your city any hurt, but against the house of one man only is our
warfare, even against him whom they call the son of Zeus and Alcmena.
For until he had finished all his grievous toils, Destiny was preserving
him, nor would father Zeus ever suffer me or Hera to harm him. But
now that he hath accomplished the labours of Eurystheus, Hera is minded
to brand him with the guilt of shedding kindred blood by slaying his