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The Heracleidae   


sacred to the goddess Athene, he caught sight of Eurystheus' chariot,
and prayed to Hebe and to Zeus, that for one single day he might grow
young again and wreak his vengeance on his foes. Now must thou hear
a wondrous tale: two stars settled on the horses' yokes and threw
the chariot into dark shadow, which-at least so say our wiser folk-were
thy son and Hebe; and from that murky gloom appeared that aged man
in the form of a youth with strong young arms; then by the rocks of
Sciron the hero Iolaus o'ertakes Eurystheus' chariot. And he bound
his hands with gyves, and is bringing that chieftain once so prosperous
as a trophy hither, whose fortune now doth preach a lesson, clear
as day, to all the sons of men, that none should envy him, who seems
to thrive, until they see his death; for fortune's moods last but
a day.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS O Zeus, who puttest my foes to flight, now may
I behold the day that frees me from cruel fear!
ALCMENA At last, O Zeus, hast thou turned a favouring eye on my affliction;
yet do I thank thee for what has happened. And though ere this I did
not believe my son was gathered to the gods, now am I convinced thereof.
My children, now at last from toil shall ye be free, free from him,
whom hideous death awaits, Eurystheus; now shall ye behold your father's
city, and set foot in the land of your inheritance, and sacrifice
to those ancestral gods, from whom ye have been debarred and forced
to lead in strangers' lands a life of wretched vagrancy. But tell
me, what sage purpose Iolaus nursed in his heart, that he spared the
life of Eurystheus, for to my mind this is no wisdom, to catch a foe
and wreak no vengeance on him.
SERVANT 'Twas his regard for thee, that thou might'st see him subject
to thy hand, and triumph o'er him. Rest assured, 'twas no willing
prisoner he made, but by strong constraint he bound him, for Eurystheus
was loth indeed to come alive into thy presence and pay his penalty.
Farewell, my aged mistress; I pray thee remember thy first promise
when I was beginning my story; set me free; for, at such a time as
this, sincerity becometh noble lips. (The SERVANT departs.)
CHORUS (singing, strophe 1)
Sweet is the dance to me, whenso the clear-toned flute and lovely
Aphrodite shed grace upon the feast; and a joyful thing too it is,
trow, to witness the good luck of friends, who till then ne'er dreamt
of it. For numerous is the offspring of Fate, that bringeth all to
pass, and of Time, the son of Cronus.
(antistrophe 1)
Thine is the path of justice, O my city; this must no man wrest from
thee, thy reverence for the gods, and, whoso denieth it of thee, draws
nigh to frenzy's goal, with these plain proofs in view. Yea, for the
god proclaims it clearly, by cutting short the bad man's pride in
every case.
(strophe 2)
In heaven, mother, lives thy son, passed from earth away; that he
went down to Hades' halls, his body burnt by the fire's fierce flame,
is past belief; in golden halls reclined he has to wife Hebe, lovely
nymph. Thou, O Hymen, hast honoured them, children both of Zeus.
(antistrophe 2)
Things for the most part form a single chain; for men say Athene
used to champion their father, and now the citizens of that goddess
have saved his children, and checked the insolence of him whose heart
preferred violence to justice. God save me from such arrogance, such
greed of soul! (A MESSENGER enters. He is followed by guards who
bring in EURYSTHEUS bound.)

MESSENGER Mistress, though thine eyes see him, yet will I announce
we have brought Eurystheus hither for thy pleasure, an unexpected
sight, for him no less a chance he ne'er foresaw; for little he thought
of ever falling into thy hands, what time he marched from Mycenae
with his toil-worn warriors, to sack Athens, thinking himself far
above fortune. But a power divine hath reversed our destinies, changing
their position. Now Hyllus and brave Iolaus I left raising an image

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