here, for I will make thy childlessness to cease and cause thee to
beget fair issue; so potent are the spells I know.
AEGEUS Lady, on many grounds I am most fain to grant thee this thy
boon, first for the gods' sake, next for the children whom thou dost
promise I shall beget; for in respect of this I am completely lost.
'Tis thus with me; if e'er thou reach my land, I will attempt to champion
thee as I am bound to do. Only one warning I do give thee first, lady;
I will not from this land bear thee away, yet if of thyself thou reach
my halls, there shalt thou bide in safety and I will never yield thee
up to any man. But from this land escape without my aid, for I have
no wish to incur the blame of my allies as well.
MEDEA It shall be even so; but wouldst thou pledge thy word to this,
I should in all be well content with thee.
AEGEUS Surely thou dost trust me? or is there aught that troubles
MEDEA Thee I trust; but Pelias' house and Creon are my foes. Wherefore,
if thou art bound by an oath, thou wilt not give me up to them when
they come to drag me from the land, but, having entered into a compact
and sworn by heaven as well, thou wilt become my friend and disregard
their overtures. Weak is any aid of mine, whilst they have wealth
and a princely house.
AEGEUS Lady, thy words show much foresight, so if this is thy will,
I do not, refuse. For I shall feel secure and safe if I have some
pretext to offer to thy foes, and thy case too the firmer stands.
Now name thy gods.
MEDEA Swear by the plain of Earth, by Helios my father's sire, and,
in one comprehensive oath, by all the race of gods.
AEGEUS What shall I swear to do, from what refrain? tell me that.
MEDEA Swear that thou wilt never of thyself expel me from thy land,
nor, whilst life is thine, permit any other, one of my foes maybe,
to hale me thence if so he will.
AEGEUS By Earth I swear, by the Sun-god's holy beam and by all the
host of heaven that I will stand fast to the terms I hear thee make.
MEDEA 'Tis enough. If thou shouldst break this oath, what curse dost
thou invoke upon thyself?
AEGEUS Whate'er betides the impious.
MEDEA Go in peace; all is well, and I with what speed I may, will
to thy city come, when I have wrought my purpose and obtained my wish.
(AEGEUS and his retinue depart.)
CHORUS (chanting) May Maia's princely son go with thee on thy way
to bring thee to thy home, and mayest thou attain that on which thy
soul is set so firmly, for to my mind thou seemest a generous man,
MEDEA O Zeus, and Justice, child of Zeus, and Sun-god's light, now
will triumph o'er my foes, kind friends; on victory's road have I
set forth; good hope have I of wreaking vengeance on those I hate.
For where we were in most distress this stranger hath appeared, to
be a haven in my counsels; to him will we make fast the cables of
our ship when we come to the town and citadel of Pallas. But now will
I explain to thee my plans in full; do not expect to hear a pleasant
tale. A servant of mine will I to Jason send and crave an interview;
then when he comes I will address him with soft words, say, "this
pleases me," and, "that is well," even the marriage with the princess,
which my treacherous lord is celebrating, and add "it suits us both,
'twas well thought out"; then will I entreat that here my children
may abide, not that I mean to leave them in a hostile land for foes
to flout, but that I may slay the king's daughter by guile. For I
will send them with gifts in their hands, carrying them unto the bride
to save them from banishment, a robe of finest woof and a chaplet
of gold. And if these ornaments she take and put them on, miserably
shall she die, and likewise everyone who touches her; with such fell
poisons will I smear my gifts. And here I quit this theme; but I shudder
at the deed I must do next; for I will slay the children I have borne;
there is none shall take them from my toils; and when I have utterly