misery. Ere that may I this life complete and yield to death, ay,
death; for there is no misery that doth surpass the loss of fatherland.
I have seen with mine eyes, nor from the lips of others have I the
lesson learnt; no city, not one friend doth pity thee in this thine
awful woe. May he perish and find no favour, whoso hath not in him
honour for his friends, freely unlocking his heart to them. Never
shall he be friend of mine. (MEDEA has been seated in despair on
her door-step during the choral song. AEGEUS and his attendants enter.)
AEGEUS All hail, Medea! no man knoweth fairer prelude to the greeting
of friends than this.
MEDEA All hail to thee likewise, Aegeus, son of wise Pandion. Whence
comest thou to this land?
AEGEUS From Phoebus' ancient oracle.
MEDEA What took thee on thy travels to the prophetic centre of the
AEGEUS The wish to ask how I might raise up seed unto myself.
MEDEA Pray tell me, hast thou till now dragged on a childless life?
AEGEUS I have no child owing to the visitation of some god.
MEDEA Hast thou a wife, or hast thou never known the married state?
AEGEUS I have a wife joined to me in wedlock's bond.
MEDEA What said Phoebus to thee as to children?
AEGEUS Words too subtle for man to comprehend.
MEDEA Surely I may learn the god's answer?
AEGEUS Most assuredly, for it is just thy subtle wit it needs.
MEDEA What said the god? speak, if I may hear it.
AEGEUS He bade me "not loose the wineskin's pendent neck."
MEDEA Till when? what must thou do first, what country visit?
AEGEUS Till I to my native home return.
MEDEA What object hast thou in sailing to this land?
AEGEUS O'er Troezen's realm is Pittheus king.
MEDEA Pelops' son, a man devout they say.
AEGEUS To him I fain would impart the oracle of the god.
MEDEA The man is shrewd and versed in such-like lore.
AEGEUS Aye, and to me the dearest of all my warrior friends.
MEDEA Good luck to thee! success to all thy wishes!
AEGEUS But why that downcast eye, that wasted cheek?
MEDEA O Aegeus, my husband has proved most evil.
AEGEUS What meanest thou? explain to me clearly the cause of thy
MEDEA Jason is wronging me though I have given him no cause.
AEGEUS What hath he done? tell me more clearly.
MEDEA He is taking another wife to succeed me as mistress of his
AEGEUS Can he have brought himself to such a dastard deed?
MEDEA Be assured thereof; I, whom he loved of yore, am in dishonour
AEGEUS Hath he found a new love? or does he loathe thy bed?
MEDEA Much in love is he! A traitor to his friend is he become.
AEGEUS Enough! if he is a villain as thou sayest.
MEDEA The alliance he is so much enamoured of is with a princess.
AEGEUS Who gives his daughter to him? go on, I pray.
MEDEA Creon, who is lord of this land of Corinth.
AEGEUS Lady, I can well pardon thy grief.
MEDEA I am undone, and more than that, am banished from the land.
AEGEUS By whom? fresh woe this word of thine unfolds.
MEDEA Creon drives me forth in exile from Corinth.
AEGEUS Doth Jason allow it? This too I blame him for.
MEDEA Not in words, but he will not stand out against it. O, I implore
thee by this beard and by thy knees, in suppliant posture, pity, O
pity my sorrows; do not see me cast forth forlorn, but receive me
in thy country, to a seat within thy halls. So may thy wish by heaven's
grace be crowned with a full harvest of offspring, and may thy life
close in happiness! Thou knowest not the rare good luck thou findest