« AnteriorContinuar »
Autonoe, with Ino at her side,
Roving with frentic speed the tangled wilds:
One there inform’d me that Agave bent
This way her bacchic foot; he told me truth;
I see her here, her look betokening mischief.
AGAV. My father, I may justly boast to thee
That thou hast daughters who in worth excel
All of their sex; this praise belongs to all,
But most to me, who left th' embroider'd web
For deeds of higher enterprize, to chase
The mountain savage; and this glorious prize,
Sec in mine arms I bring, which hung on high
May grace thy house: my father, in thy bands
Receive them; glorying in my well-earn’d spoils
Invite thy friends, and spread the joyful feast: ,
For thou art blest, in our achievements blest.
CADM. Unmeasurable grief! This is a sight
Not to be borne, this murder by your hands
Committed. To the gods dost thou present
A goodly victim, to the festive board
Inviting Thebes and me. Thy miseries first
I wail, and then mine own. The royal Bacchus
With justice hath undone us, but severe
In vengeance, as from hence he draws his birth.
Agav. How wayward is old age, of aspect sour,
To all around morose! May my son be
Successful in the chace, and imitate
His mother's manners, ʼmidst the Theban youth
When ardent he pursues the savage beast?
But he alone dares fight against the god :
He must be warn’d of this by thee, my father,
And me, nor pride him in pernicious wisdom.
Where is he? To my presence, who will call him,
That he may see me happy in my prize ?
CADM. Ab me! When you shall know what you have done,
How wretched will you be? Should you remain
Always as now, though far from happiness,
Yet will you be insensible of ill.
Agav. What is not glorious, what is mournful here?
CADM. To yon ethereal height first raise thine eyes.
AGAV. I do: and there what am I to behold?
CADM. Seems it the same, or to receive a change?
AGAv. Brighter it seenìs, and clearer than before.
CADM. Hangs the same wild amazement on thy soul ?
AGAV. I know not; but I feel my sense return’d,
And each conception of my mind is chang’d.
CADM. Wilt thou then hear, and coolly answer me?
AGAV. All memory of my former words is lost.
CADM. What house receiv'd thee with connubial rites ?
AGAV. Thou gav'st me to the dragon-sprung Echion.
CADM. What son then to thy husband didst thou bear?
AGAV. Pentheus, the offspring of our mutual love.
CADM. Whose is that head thou graspest in thine arms?
AGAV. A lion's, as the female hunters said.
CADM. Look at it, small the labour, view it well.
AGAV. What do I see? What bear I in my hands ?
CADM. Look with attention at it; know it clearly.
AGAY. I see the greatest grief: unhappy me!
CADM. Appears it to thec like a lion's head ?
AGAV. No: but I hold, ah me! the head of Pentheus.
CADM. Lamented, e'er thy sense distinguish’d it.
AGAV. Who slew him? And how came it in my hands?
CADM. Unhappy truth, ah how unwelcome art thou !
Agav. Tell me: my anguish'd heart already throbs.
CADM. By thee, and by thy sisters, was he slain.
agav. Where died he? in the house? or in what place?
CAPM. Where'midst his clamorous hounds Actæon fell.
AGAV. Why to Cithæron went my wretched son?
CADM. T'insult thy orgies, and the god, he went.
AGAV. What to those craggy heights could urge our steps ?
CADM. Madness: and all the frentic city rav'd.
AgAv. Too late I see it, Bacchus hath undone us.
CADM. Revil'd and wrong'd, you deem'd him not a god.
AGAV. Where is the much-lov'd body of my son ?
CADM. With pain I found it in the wilds, and bring it.
agav. Are the parts well united ? On my son
How great a portion of my madness fell!
He was like you, and reverenc'd not the god,
Who therefore bound us all in the same chain
Of ruin, him, and you, to desolate
The house, and me, who destitute of sons
Behold this manly branch, which sprung from thee,
Murder'd most vilely, and most shamefully,
To whom all look'd with reverence. Thou, my child,
My daughter's son, didst in my house bear rule,
And awe the city: none to my hoar hairs
Dar'd offer violence, beholding thee;
Thy vengeance had chastis'd him: from my house
Disgrac'd, an outcast shall I now be driven,
The mighty Cadmus, who the Theban race
Sow'd in the ground, and reap'd the glorious harvest.
Dearest of men ! for thou, though now no more,
Shalt yet be number'd 'mongst my best lov’d sons.
No more thy hand shall stroke this beard, no more
Embrace thy mother's father, nor thy voice
Address me thus, Who wrongs thy reverend age ?
Who dares dishonour thee? who wrings thy heart
With rude offence? Inform me, and this hand
Shall punish him that injures thee, my father.
But now I am afflicted, wretched thou.
Thy mother sinks beneath her misery,
And her unhappy sisters. If there be
A man, whose impious pride contemps the gods,
Let him behold his death, and own their pow'r.
CHOR. Cadmus, we grieve for thee: thy daughter's son
Hath his reward, just, though it pains thy heart.
BACC. O father, for my state now chang’di thou seest,
Thou and thy lov'd Harmonia, who from Mars
Descended grac'd thy bed, though mortal thou,
1407. Tyrwhitt thinks that the original is bere mutilated ; to bin Dr. Musgrave assents. Mr. Heath proposes a small, but very ingenious, emendation : Barnes defends the present text. The transla:or follows Mr. Heath. Bacchus now appears in his proper dignity as n god.
Shall wear a dragon's savage form. With her,
For so the oracle of Jove declares,
Toils after toils revolving shalt thou bear,
Leading barbarians; and with forces vast
Level great towns and many to the ground:
But when the shrine of Phæbus their rude bands
Shall plunder, intercepting their return
Misfortune shall await them: thee shall Mars
Deliver and Harmonia from the ruin,
And place you in the regions of the blest.
This, from no mortal father, but fron Jove
Descended, Bacchus tells thee: had you known
What prudence is, but you would none of her,
You might have flourish'd in a prosp'rous state,
Blest with th' alliance of the son of Jove.
CADM. We have offended; we entreat forgiveness.
Bacc. Too late you learn: you would not when you ought.
CADM. We own it; yet thy vengeance is severe.
BACC. Though born a god, I was insulted by you.
CADM. Ill suits the gods frail man's relentless wrath.
BACC. Long since my father Jove thus grac'd his son.
AGAV. Ah me! it is decreed, unhappy exile.
CADM. Alas, my daughter, in what dreadful ills
Are we all plung'd, thy sisters, and thyself
Unhappy! I shall bear my wretched age
To sojourn with barbarians, fated yet
To lead a mix'd-barbaric host to Greece.
Harmonia too, my wife, the child of Mars,
Chang'd to a dragon's savage form, myself
A dragon, to the altars, to the tombs
Of Greece, a chief with many a ported spear
Shall I lead back; and never shall my toils
Know respite; never shall I pass the stream
Of Acheron below, and there find rest.
AGAV. Hence, reft of thee, my father, will I fly.
1412. The translator readily acknow ledges bis uncertainty of the true reading and truc sense of this passage.
CADM. Why, my unhappy daughter, on my hand
Thus dost thou hang, as if the silver swan
• Should fly for refuge to the useless drone ?
AGAV. A wretched outcast, which way shall I fly?
CADM. I know not, child: small aid thy father gives.
AGAV. Farewell, my royal mansion, and farewell
Thou city of my fathers; I will leave thee,
Through grief an exile from my nuptial bed.
CADM. Go now, my child, to Aristæus go.
AGAV. I am bereav'd of thee, my father.
My daughter, and thy sisters' woes I wail.
AGAV. Severely, most severely hath the god
Brought on thy house this dreadful punishment. CADM. Dreadful through you my sufferings; every tongue
Shall sound my name with infamy in Thebes. - AGAV. Farewell, my father. CADM.
My unhappy child,
Thou too farewell, if aught can now be well.
AGAV. Lead, my attendants, lead me to my sisters,
That I may take them with me, of my flight
Mournful associates. Thither will I go,
Where no Cithæron is polluted, where
These eyes may never see Cithæron more,
And where no thyrsus wakes uneasy thought.
To other Bacchic dames I leave these rites.
CHOR. With various hand the gods dispense our fates;
1446. This also is a suspected passage: tbe proposed emendation of Mr. Heath is too violent, and little assists the sense. Dr. Musgrave observes, that the Swan is celebrated by Sophocles for its filial affection; and that Euripides has elsen bere used the word xsoara, a drone, to denote an enfeebled belpless old man.
1453. That is, to Thessaly, where Aristæus fed the sheep of the Muses. Apollon. Rhod. 1. 2. Dr. Musgrave. He was the husband of Autonoe.
1458, 1459. These two lives are generally assigned to Bacchus: but after be had shewn himself as a god, and declared that his father Jupiter bad long so graced bis son, bis continuance in tbe scene would be unnecessary, and even improper : they are therefore here given to Cadnus. The learned reader will judge.