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From some far distant part ? XUTH.
That fills my mind
With doubtful musings.
Didst thou e'er before
Visit the Pythian rock ?
Once at the feast
By some public host receiv'd ?
XUTH. Who with the Delphian Damsels-
To the orgies
Led thee, or how?
And with the Mænades Of Bacchus10N.
In the temperate hour, or warm With wine? XUTH.
Amidst the revels of the god. 10N. From thence I date my birth. XUTH.
And fate, my son, Hath found thee.
How then came I to the temple ? XUTH. Perchance expos'd. jon.
The state of servitude
Have I escaped.
Thy father now, my son,
Indecent were it in the god
Not to confide.
Thy thoughts are just.
What else Would we? XUTH.
Thou seest what thou oughtest to see.
Ion. Am I the son then of the son of Jove?
XUTH. Such is thy fortune.
Those that gave me birth
Do I embrace?
Obedient to the god.
10N. My father, hail !
That dear name I accept
This present day-
Hath made me happy. ION. O my dear mother, when shall I behold
Thy face? Whoe'er thou art, more wish I now
To see thee, than before; but thou perchance
Art dead, and nothing our desires avail.
CHOR. We in the blessings of your house rejoice.
Yet wish we that our mistress too were happy
In children, and the lineage of Erectheus.
XUTH. Well hath the god accomplish'd this, my son,
Discovering thee, well bath he join’d thee to me;
And thou hast found the most endearing ties,
To which, before this hour, thou wast a stranger.
And the warm wish, which thou hast well conceiv’d,
Is likewise mine, that thou may'st find thy mother;
1 from what woman thou derivest thy birth.
This left to time may haply be discover'd.
Now quit this hallow'd earth, the god no more
Attending, and to mine accord thy mind,
To visit Athens, where thy father's sceptre,
No mean one, waits thee, and abundant wealth.
Nor, though thou grieve one parent yet unknown,
Shalt thou be censur'd as ignobly born,
Or poor: no, thou art noble, and thy state
Adorn’d with rich possessions. Thou art silent.
Why is thine eye thus fix'd upon the ground?
Why on thy brow that cloud ? The smile of joy
Vanish'd, thou strikest thy father's heart with fear.
Far other things appear when nigh, than seen
At distance. I indeed embrace my fortune,
In thee my father found. But hear what now
Wakes sad reflections. Proud of their high race
Are your Athenians, natives of the land,
Not drawn from foreign lineage: I to them
Shall come unwelcome, in two points defective,
My father not a native, and myself
Of spurious birth: loaded with this reproach,
If destitute of pow'r, I shall be held
Abject and worthless: should I rush amongst
The highest order of the state, and wish
T'appear important, inferior ranks
Will hate me; aught above them gives disgust.
The good, the wise, men form’d to serve the state,
Are silent, nor at public honours aim
Too hastily: by such, were I not quiet
In such a bustling state, I should be deem'd
Ridiculous, and proverb’d for a fool.
Should I attain the dignity of those,
Whose approv'd worth hath rais'd them to the height
Of public honours, by such suffrage more
Should I be watch'd; for they, that hold in states
Rule and preeminence, bear hostile minds
To all that vie with them. And should I come
To a strange house a stranger, to a woman
Childless herself, who that misfortune shar'd
Before with thee, now sees it her sole lot,
And feels it bitterly, would she not hate me,
And that with justice? When I stand before thee,
With what an eye would she, who hath no child,
Look on thy child? In tenderness to her,
Thy wife, thou must forsake me, or embroil
Thy house in discord, if thou favour me.
What murderous means,what poisonous drugs for men
Have women with inventive rage prepared ?
Besides, I have much pity for thy wife,
Now growing old without a child, that grief
Unmerited, the last of her high race,
Th'exterior face indeed of royalty,
So causelessly commended, hath its brightness ;
Within, all gloom: for what sweet peace of mind,
What happiness is his, whose years are passed
In comfortless suspicion, and the dread .
Of violence? Be mine the humble blessings
Of private life, rather than be a king,
From the flagitious forced to choose my friends,
And hate the virtuous, through the fear of death.
Gold, thou may'st tell me, hath o'er things like these
A sovereign pow'r, and riches give delight:
I have no pleasure in this noisy pomp,
Nor, whilst I guard my riches, in the toil.
Be mine a modest mean that knows not care.
And now, my father, hear the happy state
I here enjoy'd; and first, to mortal man
That dearest blessing, leisure, and no bustle
To cause disturbance: me no ruffian force
Shov'd from the way; it is not to be borne
When every insolent and worthless wretch
Makes you give place; the worship of the god
Employ'd my life, or, no unpleasing task,
Service to men well pleas’d; the parting guest
I bade farewell; welcom'd the new-arriv’d.
Thus something always new made every hour
Glide sweetly on: and, to the human mind
That dearest wish, though some regard it not,
To be, what duty and my nature made me,
Just to the god : revolving this, my father,
I wish not for thy Athens to exchange
This state; permit me to myself to live:
Dear to the mind the pleasures that arise
From humble life, as those which greatness brings. CHOR. Well hast thou said, if those, whom my soul holds
Most dear, shall in thy words find happiness. XUTH. No more of this discourse, learn to be happy. It is my will that thou begin it here,
Where first I found thee, son: a general feast
Will I provide, and make a sacrifice,
Which at thy birth I made not; at my table
Will I receive thee as a welcome guest,
And cheer thee with the banquet, then conduct thee
To Athens with me as a visitant,
Not as my son: for 'midst my happiness
I would not grieve my wife, who hath no child.
But I will watch th’occasions time may bring,
And so present thee, and obtain her leave
That thou may'st hold the sceptre which I bear.
Ion I name thee, as befits thy fortune,
As first thou mer st me from the hallow'd shrine
As I came forth: assemble then thy friends,
Invite them all to share the joyful feast,
Since thou art soon to leave the Delphic state.
And you, ye females, keep, I charge you keep
This secret; she that tells my wife shall die.
Let us then go; yet one thing to my fortune
Is wanting; if I find not her that bore me,
Life hath no joy: might I indulge a wish,
It were to find her an Athenian dame,
That from my mother I might dare t' assume
Some confidence ; for he, whose fortune leads him
To a free state proud of their unmix'd race,
Though call’d a citizen, must close his lips
With servile awe, for freedom is not his.
Yes, sisters, yes, the streaming eye,
The swelling heart I see, the bursting sigh,
When thus rejoicing in his son
Our queen her royal lord shall find,
And give to grief her anguish'd mind,
Afflicted, childless, and alone.
What means this voice divine,
Son of Latona, fate-declaring pow'r ?
Whence is this youth, so fondly grac’d,