Who from thy golden seat, thy central throne,
Utterest thine oracle: my voice shall reach
Thine ear: ungrateful lover, to my husband,
No grace requiting, thou hast given a son
To bless his house; my son and thine, unown'd,
Perish'd a prey to birds; the robes that wrapp'd
The infant's limbs, his mother's work, lost with him.
Delos abhors thee, and the laurel boughs
With the soft foliage of the palm o'erhung,
Grasping whose round trunk with her hands divine,
Latona thee, her hallow'd offspring, bore.
Ah, what a mighty treasury of ills
Is open'd here, a copious source of tears!
Never, my daughter, can I sate my eyes
With looking on thy face: astonishment
Bears me beyond my senses. I had stemm'd
One tide of evils, when another flood
High-surging overwhelm'd me from the words
Which thou hast utter'd, from the present ills
To an ill train of other woes transferr'd.
What say'st thou? Of what charge dost thou implead
The god? What son hast thou brought forth? Where placed him
A feast for vultures? Tell me all again.
Though I must blush, old man, yet I will speak. TUTOR
I mourn with generous grief at a friend's woes. CREUSA
Hear then: the northward-pointing cave thou knowest,
And the Cecropian rocks, which we call Macrai.
Where stands a shrine to Pan, and altars nigh. CREUSA
There in a dreadful conflict I engaged. TUTOR
What! my tears rise ready to meet thy words. CREUSA
By Phoebus drawn reluctant to his bed.
Was this, my daughter, such as I suppose? CREUSA
I know not: but if truth, I will confess it. TUTOR
Didst thou in silence mourn this secret ill? CREUSA
This was the grief I now disclose to thee. TUTOR
This love of Phoebus how didst thou conceal? CREUSA
I bore a son. Hear me, old man, with patience. TUTOR
Where? who assisted? or wast thou alone? CREUSA
Alone, in the same cave where compress'd. TUTOR
Where is thy son, that childless now no more CREUSA
Dead, good old man, to beasts of prey exposed. TUTOR
Dead! and the ungrateful Phoebus gives no aid? CREUSA
None: in the house of Pluto a young guest. TUTOR
Whose hands exposed him? Surely not thine own. CREUSA
Mine, in the shades of night, wrapp'd in his vests. TUTOR
Hadst thou none with thee conscious to this deed? CREUSA
My misery, and the secret place alone.
How durst thou in a cavern leave thy son? CREUSA
How? uttering many sad and plaintive words. TUTOR
Ah, cruel was thy deed, the god more cruel. CREUSA
Hadst thou but seen him stretch his little hands! TUTOR
Seeking the breast, or reaching to thine arms? CREUSA
To this, deprived of which he suffer'd wrong. TUTOR
And what induced thee to expose thy child? CREUSA
Hope that the god's kind care would save his son. TUTOR
How are the glories of thy house destroy'd! CREUSA
Why, thine head cover'd, dost thou pour these tears? TUTOR
To see thee and thy father thus unhappy. CREUSA