Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Euripides
Pages of Medea



Previous | Next
                  

Medea   


of this wedding of Jason, sprung, as thou art, from noble sire, and
of the Sun-god's race. Thou hast cunning; and, more than this, we
women, though by nature little apt for virtuous deeds, are most expert
to fashion any mischief.
CHORUS (singing, strophe 1)
Back to their source the holy rivers turn their tide. Order and the
universe are being reversed. 'Tis men whose counsels are treacherous,
whose oath by heaven is no longer sure. Rumour shall bring a change
o'er my life, bringing it into good repute. Honour's dawn is breaking
for woman's sex; no more shall the foul tongue of slander fix upon
us.
(antistrophe 1)
The songs of the poets of old shall cease to make our faithlessness
their theme. Phoebus, lord of minstrelsy, hath not implanted in our
mind the gift of heavenly song, else had I sung an answering strain
to the race of males, for time's long chapter affords many a theme
on their sex as well as ours.
(strophe 2)
With mind distraught didst thou thy father's house desert on thy
voyage betwixt ocean's twin rocks, and on a foreign strand thou dwellest
thy bed left husbandless, poor lady, and thou an exile from the land,
dishonoured, persecuted.
(antistrophe 2)
Gone is the grace that oaths once had. Through all the breadth of
Hellas honour is found no more; to heaven hath it sped away. For thee
no father's house is open, woe is thee! to be a haven from the troublous
storm, while o'er thy home is set another queen, the bride that is
preferred to thee. (As the CHORUS finishes its song, JASON enters,
alone. MEDEA comes out of the house.)

JASON It is not now I first remark, but oft ere this, how unruly
a pest is a harsh temper. For instance, thou, hadst thou but patiently
endured the will of thy superiors, mightest have remained here in
this land and house, but now for thy idle words wilt thou be banished.
Thy words are naught to me. Cease not to call Jason basest of men;
but for those words thou hast spoken against our rulers, count it
all gain that exile is thy only punishment. I ever tried to check
the outbursts of the angry monarch, and would have had thee stay,
but thou wouldst not forego thy silly rage, always reviling our rulers,
and so thou wilt be banished. Yet even after all this I weary not
of my goodwill, but am come with thus much forethought, lady, that
thou mayst not be destitute nor want for aught, when, with thy sons,
thou art cast out. Many an evil doth exile bring in its train with
it; for even though thou hatest me, never will I harbour hard thoughts
of thee.
MEDEA Thou craven villain (for that is the only name my tongue can
find for thee, a foul reproach on thy unmanliness)
, comest thou to
me, thou, most hated foe of gods, of me, and of all mankind? 'Tis
no proof of courage or hardihood to confront thy friends after injuring
them, but that worst of all human diseases-loss of shame. Yet hast
thou done well to come; for I shall ease my soul by reviling thee,
and thou wilt be vexed at my recital. I will begin at the very beginning.
I saved thy life, as every Hellene knows who sailed with thee aboard
the good ship Argo, when thou wert sent to tame and yoke fire-breathing
bulls, and to sow the deadly tilth. Yea, and I slew the dragon which
guarded the golden fleece, keeping sleepless watch o'er it with many
a wreathed coil, and I raised for thee a beacon of deliverance. Father
and home of my free will I left and came with the to Iolcos, 'neath
Pelion's hills, for my love was stronger than my prudence. Next I
caused the death of Pelias by a doom most grievous, even by his own
children's hand, beguiling them of all their fear. All this have I
done for thee, thou traitor! and thou hast cast me over, taking to
thyself another wife, though children have been born to us. Hadst
thou been childless still, I could have pardoned thy desire for this
new union. Gone is now the trust I put in oaths. I cannot even understand

Previous | Next
Site Search