Stories from the Greek tragedians

Material Information

Stories from the Greek tragedians
Church, Alfred John, 1829-1912
Flaxman, John, 1755-1826 ( Illustrator )
Seeley Jackson & Halliday ( Publisher )
Unwin Brothers ( Printer )
Gresham Press ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London (54 Fleet Street)
Seeley, Jackson, & Halliday
Unwin Brothers, Gresham Press
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
viii, 257, [2] p. : ill. ; 20 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Greek drama (Tragedy) -- Juvenile literature ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1880 ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1880 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1880
Juvenile literature ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Chillworth
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Includes publisher's catalog.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by the Rev. Alfred J. Church ; with twenty-four illustrations from designs by Flaxman and others.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
024397337 ( ALEPH )
AHP1843 ( NOTIS )
23865717 ( OCLC )

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viii LIST OF ILI "STRATIONS.PAGECHARIOT RACE ... ... ...... ... 170THE BIRTHDAY GIFTS OF PHCEBUS ... ... I.86ORESTES SUPPLIANT TO APOLLO ... ....... 188THE FURIES DEPARTING ..... ....... 196ORESTES AND THE FURIES... ... .. ... 200IPHIGENIA AND ORESTES ... .. ... ... 204OFFERINGS TO THE DEAD .. ... ... ... ... 210ATOSSA'S DREAM... ... ... ...... ... 224THE HORSES OF THE MORNING ... ... ... ... 22


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PREFACE.I HAVE added to the "Story of the SevenChiefs against Thebes" the description of thesingle combat between Eteocles and Polynices,which occurs in the Ph/onisse of Euripides.Some changes have been made in the "Storyof Ion" to make it more suitable for the pur-pose of this book. Throughout the Storiescompression and omission have been freelyused. I can only ask the indulgence of suchof my readers as may be familiar with thegreat originals of which I have given thesepale and ineffectual copies.RETFORD,October i I879.


THE STORY OF THE LOVEOF ALCESTIS.ASCLEPIUS, the son of Apollo, being a mightyphysician, raised men from the dead. ButZeus was wroth that a man should have suchpower, and so make of no effect the ordinance ofthe Gods. Wherefore he smote Asclepius witha thunderbolt and slew him. And when Apolloknew this, he slew the Cyclopes that hadmade the thunderbolts for his father Zeus, formen say that they make them on their forgesthat are in the mountain of Etna. But Zeussuffered not this deed to go unpunished, butpassed this sentence on his son Apollo, that heshould serve a mortal man for the space of awhole year. Wherefore, for all that he was agod, he kept the sheep of Admetus, who was thePrince of Phere in Thessaly. And Admetusknew not th-,t h:e was a god; but, nevertheless,being a just man, dealt truly with him. And it2

2THE STORY OFcame to pass after this that Admetus was sickunto death. But Apollo gained this grace forhim of the Fates (which order life and death formen), that he should live, if only he could findsome one who should be willing to die in hisstead. And he went to all his kinsmen andfriends and asked this thing of them, but foundno one that was willing so to die; only Alcestishis wife was willing.And when the day was come on the whichit was appointed for her to die, Death came thathe might fetch her. And when he was come,he found Apollo walking to and fro before thepalace of King Admetus, having his bow in hishand. And when Death saw him, he said-"What doest thou here, Apollo ? Is it notenough for thee to have kept Admetus from hisdoom ? Dost thou keep watch and ward overthis woman with thine arrows and thy bow ?"" Fear not," the god made answer, " I havejustice on my side.""If thou hast justice, what need of thy bow ?""'Tis my wont to carry it."" Ay, and it is thy wont to help this housebeyond all right and law."

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.3"Nay, but I was troubled at the sorrows ofone that I loved, and helped him."" I know thy cunning speech and fair ways;but this woman thou shalt not take from me.""But consider; thou canst but have one life.Wilt thou not take another in her stead ? ""Her and no other will I have, for myhonour is the greater when I take the young.""I know thy temper, hated both of Gods andof men. But there cometh a guest to this house,whom Eurystheus sendeth to the snowy plainsof Thrace, to fetch the horses of Lycurgus.Haply he shall persuade thee against thy will.""Say what thou wilt; it shall avail nothing.And now I go to cut off a lock of her hair,for I -take these firstfruits of them that die."In the meantime, within the palace, Alcestisprepared herself for death. And first shewashed her body with pure water from theriver, and then she took from her coffer ofcedar her fairest apparel, and adorned herselftherewith. Then, being so arrayed, she stoodbefore the hearth and prayed, saying, "0Queen Here, behold! I depart this day. Dothou therefore keep my children, giving to this

4THE STORY OFone a noble husband and to that a loving wife."And all the altars that were in the house shevisited in like manner, crowning them withmyrtle leaves and praying at them. Nor didshe weep at all, or groan, or grow pale. Butat the last, when she came to her chamber, shecast herself upon the bed and kissed it, crying,"I hate thee not, though I die for thee, givingmyself for my husband. And thee another wifeshall possess, not more true than I am, but,maybe, more fortunate!" And after she hadleft the chamber, she turned to it again andagain with many tears. And all the while herchildren clung to her garments, and she tookthem up in her arms, the one first and then theother, and kissed them. And all the servantsthat were in the house bewailed their mistress,nor did she fail to reach her hand to each ofthem, greeting him. There was not one ofthem so vile but she spake to him and wasspoken to again.After this, when the hour was now come whenshe must die, she cried to her husband (for heheld her in his arms, as if he would have stayedher that she should not depart), " I see the boat

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.5of the dead, and Charon standing with his handupon the pole, who calleth me, saying, 'Hasten;thou delayest us;' and then again, 'A wingedmessenger of the dead looketh at me fromunder his dark eyebrows, and would lead meaway. Dost thou not see him ?'" Then afterthis she seemed now ready to die, yet againshe gathered strength, and said to the King,"Listen, and I will tell thee before I diewhat I would have thee do. Thou knowesthow I have given my life for thy life. Forwhen I might have lived, and had for myhusband any prince of Thessaly that I would,and dwelt here in wealth and royal state, yetcould I not endure to be widowed of thee andthat thy children should be fatherless. There-fore I spared not myself, though thy father andshe that bare thee betrayed thee. But theGods have ordered all this after their ownpleasure. So be it. Do thou therefore makethis recompense, which indeed thou owest tome, for what will not a man give for his life ?Thou lovest these children even as I lovethem. Suffer them then to be rulers in thishouse, and bring not a step-mother over them

6THE STORY OFwho shall hate them and deal with them un-kindly. A son, indeed, hath a tower of strengthin his father. But, O my daughter, how shallit fare with thee, for thy mother will not givethee in marriage, nor be with thee, comfortingthee in thy travail of children, when a mothermost showeth kindness and love. And nowfarewell, for I die this day. And thou, too,farewell, my husband. Thou losest a true wife,and ye, too, my children, a true mother."Then Admetus made answer, "Fear not, itshall be as thou wilt. I could not find otherwife fair and well born and true as thou.Never more shall I gather revellers in mypalace, or crown my head with garlands, orhearken to the voice of music. Never shall Itouch the harp or sing to the Libyan flute. Andsome cunning craftsman shall make an imagefashioned like unto thee, and this I will hold inmy arms and think of thee. Cold comfort indeed,yet that shall ease -omewhat of the burden ofmy soul. But oh! that I had the voice andmelody of Orpheus, for then had I gone downto Hell and persuaded the Queen thereof orher husband with my song to let thee go; nor

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.7would the watch-dog of Pluto, nor Charon thatferrieth the dead, have hindered me but that Ihad brought thee to the light. But do thouwait for me there, for there will I dwell withthee; and when I die they shall lay me by thyside, for never was wife so true as thou."Then said Alcestis, " Take these children asa gift from me, and be as a mother to them.""O me!" he cried, "what shall I do, beingbereaved of thee ?"And she said, "Time will comfort thee; thedead are as nothing."But he said, " Nay, but let me depart withthee."But the Queen made answer, "'Tis enoughthat I die in thy stead."And when she had thus spoken she gave upthe ghost.Then the King said to the old men that weregathered together to comfort him, "I will seeto this burial. And do ye sing a hymn as ismeet to the god of the deaa. And to all mypeople I make this decree: that they mourn forthis woman, and clothe themselves in black, andshave their heads, and that such as have horses

8THE STORY OFcut off their manes, and that there be not heardin the city the voice of the flute or the soundof the harp for the space of twelve months."Then the old men sang the hymn as they hadbeen bidden. And when they had finished, itbefell that Hercules, who was on a journey,came to the palace and asked whether KingAdmetus was sojourning there.And the old men answered, "'Tis even so,Hercules. But what, I pray thee, bringeth theeto this land ?"" I am bound on an errand for King Eurys-theus; even to bring back to him horses ofKing Diomed."" How wilt thou do this ? Dost thou notknow this Diomed ?""I know nought of him, nor of his land.""Thou wilt not master him or his horseswithout blows.""Even so, yet I may not refuse the tasksthat are set to me."" Thou art resolved then to do this thing orto die ?""Ay; and this is not the first race that Ihave run."

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS. 9" Thou wilt not easily bridle these horses.": "Why not ? They breathe not fire fromtheir nostrils.""No, but they devour the flesh of men.""What sayest thou? This is the food ofwild beasts, not of horses.""Yet 'tis true. Thou wilt see their mangersfoul with blood.""And the master of these steeds, whose sonis he?""He is son of Ares, lord of the land ofThrace.""Now this is a strange fate and a hard thatmaketh me fight ever with the sons of Ares,with Lycaon first, and with Cycnus next, andnow with this King Diomed. But none shallever see the son of Alcmena trembling beforean enemy."And now King Admetus came forth from thepalace. And when the two had greeted oneanother, Hercules would fain know why theKing had shaven his hair as one that mournedfor the dead. And the King answered that hewas about to bury that day one that was dearto him.

10THE STORY OFAnd when Hercules inquired yet further whothis might be, the King said that his childrenwere well, and his father also, and his mother.But of his wife he answered so that Herculesunderstood not that he spake of her. Forhe said that she was a stranger by blood, yetnear in friendship, and that she had dwelt inhis house, having been left an orphan of herfather. Nevertheless Hercules would have de-parted and found entertainment elsewhere, forhe would not be troublesome to his host. Butthe King suffered him not. And to the servantthat stood by he said, " Take thou this guest tothe guest-chamber; and see that they that havecharge of these matters set abundance of foodbefore him. And take care that ye shut thedoors between the chambers and the palace;for it is not meet that the guest at his mealshould hear the cry of them that mourn."And when the old men would know whythe King, having so great a trouble upon him,yet entertained a guest, he made answer,." Would ye have commended me the more ifI had caused him to depart from this house andthis city ? For my sorrow had not been one

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.IIwhit the less, and I had lost the praise ofhospitality. And a right worthy host is he tome if ever I chance to visit the land of Argos."And now they had finished all things for theburying of Alcestis, when the old man Pheres,the father of the King, approached, and servantscame with him bearing robes and crowns andother adornments wherewith to do honour tothe dead. And when he was come over againstthe bier whereon they had laid the dead woman,he spake to the King, saying, " I am come tomourn with thee, my son, for thou hast lost anoble wife. Only thou must endure, though thisindeed is a hard thing. But take these adorn-ments, for it is meet that she should be honouredwho died for thee, and for me also, that I shouldnot go down to the grave childless." And to thedead he said, "Fare thou well, noble wife, thathast kept this house from falling. May it bewell with thee in the dwellings of the dead!"But the King answered him in great wrath,"I did not bid thee to this burial, nor shall thisdead woman be adorned with gifts of thine.Who art thou that thou shouldest bewail her ?Surely thou art not father of mine. For beingI

12THE STORY OFcome to extreme old age, yet thou wouldst notdie for thy son, but sufferedst this woman, beinga stranger in blood, to die for me. Her thereforeI count father and mother also. Yet this hadbeen a noble deed for thee, seeing that the spanof life that was left to thee was short. And Itoo had not been left to live out my days thusmiserably, being bereaved of her whom I loved.Hast thou not had all happiness, thus havinglived in kingly power from youth to age ? Andthou wouldst have left a son to come after thee,that thy house should not be spoiled by thineenemies. Have I not always done due re-verence to thee and to my mother ? And, lo!this is the recompense that ye make me. Where-fore I say to thee, make haste and raise othersons who may nourish thee in thy old age, andpay thee due honour when thou art dead, for Iwill not bury thee. To thee I am dead."Then the old man spake, "Thinkest thouthat thou art driving some Lydian and Phrygianslave that hath been bought with money, andforgettest that I am a freeborn man of Thessaly,as my father was freeborn before me ? I rearedthee to rule this house after me; but to die for

THE LOVE OF ALCEST1S.13thee, that I owed thee not. This is no customamong the Greeks that a father should die forhis son. To thyself thou livest or diest. Allthat was thy due thou hast received of me;the kingdom over many people, and, in duetime, broad lands which I also received of myfather. How have I wronged thee ? Of whathave I defrauded thee ? I ask thee not to diefor me; and I die not for thee. Thou lovestto behold this light. Thinkest thou that thyfather loveth it not? For the years of thedead are very long; but the days of the livingare short yet sweet withal. But I say to theethat thou hast fled from thy fate in shamelessfashion, and hast slain this woman. Yea, awoman hath vanquished thee, and yet thouchargest cowardice against me. In truth, 'tis awise device of thine that thou mayest live forever, if marrying many times, thou canst stillpersuade thy wife to die for thee. Be silentthen, for shame's sake; and if thou lovest life,remember that others love it also."So King Admetus and his father reproachedeach other with many unseemly words. Andwhen the old man had departed, they carriedforth Alcestis to her burial.a

14THE STORY OFBut when they that bare the body had de-parted, there came in the old man that had thecharge of the guest-chambers, and spake, saying," I have seen many guests that have come fromall the lands under the sun to this palace ofAdmetus, but never have I given entertainmentto such evil guest as this. For first, knowingthat my lord was in sore trouble and sorrow, heforbore not to enter these gates. And thenhe took his entertainment in most unseemlyfashion; for if he lacked aught he would callloudly for it; and then, taking a great cupwreathed with leaves of ivy in his hands, hedrank great draughts of red wine untemperedwith water. And when the fire of the wine hadwarmed him, he crowned his head with myrtleboughs, and sang in the vilest fashion. Thenmight one hear two melodies, this fellow's songs,which he sang without thought for the troublesof my lord, and the lamentation wherewith weservants lamented our mistress. But we suf-fered not this stranger to see our tears, for somy lord had commanded. Surely this is agrievous thing that,-I must entertain thisstranger, who surely is some thief or robber.

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.15And meanwhile they have taken my mistressto her grave, and I followed not after her, norreached my hand to her, that was as a motherto all that dwell in this place."When the man had so spoken, Hercules cameforth from the guest-chamber, crowned withmyrtle, having his face flushed with wine. Andhe cried to the servant, saying, "Ho, there!why lookest thou so solemn and full of care ?Thou shouldst not scowl on thy guest after thisfashion, being full of some sorrow that concernsthee not nearly. Come hither, and I will teachthee to be wiser. Knowest thou what mannerof thing the life of a man is? I trow not.Hearken therefore. There is not a man whoknoweth what a day may bring forth. There-fore I say to thee: Make glad thy heart; eat,drink, count the day that now is to be thine own,but all else to be doubtful. As for all otherthings, let them be, and hearken to my words.Put away this great grief that lieth upon thee,and enter into this chamber, and drink with me.Right soon shall the tinkling of the wine as itfalleth into the cup ease thee of these gloomythoughts. As thou art a man, be wise after theA

16 THE STORY OFfashion of a man; for to them that are of agloomy countenance, life, if only I judge rightly,is not life but trouble only."Then the servant answered, "All this Iknow; but we have fared so ill in this housethat mirth and laughter ill beseem us."" But they tell me that this dead woman wasa stranger. Why shouldst thou be so troubled,seeing that they who rule this house yet live.""How sayest thou that they live ? Thouknowest not what trouble we endure.""I know it, unless thy lord strangely deceivedme."My lord is given to hospitality.""And should it hinder him that there is somestranger dead in the house ?" '"A stranger, sayest thou? 'Tis passingstrange to call her thus.""Hath thy lord then suffered some sorrowthat he told me not ? ""Even so, or I had not loathed to see thee atthy revels. Thou seest this shaven hair andthese black robes.""What then ? who is dead ? One of thylord's children, or the old man his father ?"-.

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.17"Stranger, 'tis the wife of Admetus that isdead.""What sayest thou? And yet he gave meentertainment ?""Yea, for he would not, for shame, turn theefrom his house.""0 miserable man, what a helpmeet thouhast lost!""Ay, and we are all lost with her.""Well I knew it; for I saw the tears in hiseyes, and his head shaven, and his sorrowfulregard; but he deceived me, saying that thedead woman was a stranger. Therefore didI enter the doors and make merry, and crownmyself with garlands, not knowing what had,befallen my host. But come, tell me; wheredoth he bury her ? Where shall I find her ? "" Follow straight along the road that leadethto Larissa, and thou wilt see her tomb in theoutskirts of the city."", Then said Hercules to himself, "0 my heart,thou hast dared many great deeds before thisday; and now most of all must I] show my-self a true son of Zeus. Now will I save thisdead woman Alcestis, and give her back to her11> 3

THE STORY OFhusband, and make due recompense to Admetus.I will go, therefore, and watch for this black-robed king, even Death. Rethinks I shall findhim nigh unto the tomb, drinking the blood ofthe sacrifices. There will I lie in wait for him,and run upon him, and throw my arms abouthim, nor shall any one deliver him out of myhands, till he have given up to me this woman.But if it chance that I find him not there, andhe come not to the feast of blood, I will go downto the Queen of Hell, to the land where thesun shineth not, and beg her of the Queen;and doubtless she will give her to me, that Imay give her to her husband. For right noblydid he entertain me, and drave me not fromhis house, for all that he had been stricken bysuch sorrow. Is there a man in Thessaly, nayin the whole land of Greece, that is such alover of hospitality ? I trow not. Noble is he,and he shall know that he is no ill friend towhom he hath done this thing."So he went his way. And when he was gone,Admetus came back from the burying of hiswife, a great company following him, of whomthe elders sought to comfort him in his sorrow.I

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.19'when he was come to the gates of hiseshe cried, " How shall I enter thee ? howdwell in thee ? Once I came within thyIMth many pine-torches from Pelion, andFr:: noise of the marriage song, holdingi4aid the hand of her that is dead; and"i~llowed a troop that magnified her and~ l: a pair we were. And now with_f~ :!ipf marriage songs, and garmentswedding robes, I go to mylyihe yet lingered before the palace,M' e back, leading with him a woman?s covered with a veil. And when he;e-King he said, " -hold it well to speak|iJ one that is a friend, and that a man!pt hide a grudge in his heart. Hear~sore. Though I was worthy to be1i-y friend, yet thou saidst not that thy,dead in thy house, but suffered me:n'd make merry. For this, therefore,hee. And now I will tell thee why*ned. I pray thee, keep this womane day when I shall come back from| :of Thrace, bringing the horses of

20THE STORY OFKing Diomed. And if it should fare ill withme, let her abide here and serve thee. Notwithout toil came she into my hands. I foundas I went upon my way that certain men hadordered contests for wrestlers and runners, andthe like. Now for them that had the pre-eminence in lesser things there were horses forprizes; and for the greater, as wrestling andboxing, a reward of oxen, to which was addedthis woman. And now I would have thee keepher, for which thing, haply, thou wilt one daythank me."To this the King answered, "I thought noslight when I hid this truth from thee. Onlyit would have been for me sorrow upon sorrowif thou hadst gone to the house of another.But as for this woman, I would have thee askthis thing of some prince of Thessaly that hathnot suffered such grief as I. In Pherae herethou hast many friends; but I could not lookupon her without tears. Add not then this newtrouble. And also how could she, being young,abide in my house, for young -I judge her tobe ? And of a truth, lady, thou art very likein shape and stature to my Alcestis that is: 'o-N

THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS.21dead. I pray you, take her from my sight, forshe troubleth my heart, and my tears run overwith beholding her."Then said Hercules, "Would I had suchstrength that I could bring back thy wife fromthe dwellings of the dead, and put her in thyhands."" I know thy good will, but what profiteth it ?No man may bring back the dead."" Well, time will soften thy grief, which yetis new."" Yea, if by time thou meanest death."" But a new wife will comfort thee.""Hold thy peace; such a thing cometh notinto my thoughts.""What ? wilt thou always keep this widowedstate ?""Never shall woman more be wife of mine.""What will this profit her that is dead ? ""I know not, yet had I sooner die than befalse to her."" Yet I would have thee take this woman intothy house.""Ask it not of me, I entreat thee, by thyfather Zeus."

22 THE STORY OF THE LOVE OF ALCESTIS."Thou wilt lose much if thou wilt not do it.""And if I do it I shall break my heart."" Haply some day-thou wilt thank me; onlybe persuaded."" Be it so: they shall take the woman intothe house.""I would not have thee entrust her to thyservants."" If thou so thinkest, lead her in thyself."" Nay, but I would give her into thy hands.""I touch her not, but my house she mayenter."" Tis only to thy hand I entrust her."" 0 King, thou compellest me to this againstmy will.""Stretch forth thy hand and touch her.""I touch her as I would touch the Gorgon'shead.""Hast thou hold of her ?""I have hold.""Then keep her safe, and say that the sonof Zeus is a noble friend. See if she be likethy wife; and change thy sorrow for joy."And when the King looked, lo the veiledwoman was Alcestis his wife.

ITHE STORY OFTHE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.,being of right the prince of Iolcos in the4f :Thessaly, came back to his kingdom.:eias, who had now for many years takenhrhimself, spake him fair, and persuadedt' that he should go on some adventure, andd-lglory and renown for himself, and so re-; and he sware that afterwards he wouldably give up the kingdom. Now in theColchis, which lieth to the east of thehich men call the Hospitable Sea, therept a great treasure, even the fleece of am, which had been sacrificed there int A marvellous beast was this ram, forown through the air to Colchis from theGreece; and its fleece was of pure gold.gathered together many valiant men,~ ods and heroes, such as were Her-

24THE STORY OFcules the son of Zeus, and Castor and Pollux,the twin brethren, and Calais and Zethus, thatwere sons to the North Wind, and Orpheus,that was the sweetest singer of all the dwellersupon earth. And they built for themselves aship, and called its name the Argo, and so setsail, that they might bring back the fleece ofgold to the land of Greece, to which, indeed, itrightfully belonged. Now when Jason and hisfellows were come t Colchis, they asked thefleece of the Kin the country. And he saidthat he would it to them; only Jason mustfirst yoke ce a t breathed fire fromtheir nostrils, a y a great dragon. But thePrincess Medea saw Jason, and loved him, andpurposed in her heart that she would help him.And being a great witch, and knowing allmanner of drugs and enchantments, she gavehim an ointment which kept all that anointedthemselves with it so that they took no harm inbattle with man or beast. But first Jason hadpromised, swearing to her a great oath, thatshe should be his wife, and that he would takeher with him to the land of Greece, and that hewould be faithful unto her to his life's end. So



THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.25when he and his companions had yoked thebulls, and slain the dragon, and carried awaythe fleece, they took Medea with them in theship, and so departed. But when Jason wascome to the land of Iolcos, Pelias was notwilling to keep his promise that he wouldgive the kingdom to him. Whereupon Medeadevised this thing against him. She took aram, and cut him in pieces, and boiled hisflesh in water, putting herbs into the caldron,and saying divers enchantments over it; and,lo! the beast came forth young, though it hadbeen very old. Theahe said to the daughtersof Pelias, " Ye see this ram, how he was old,and I have made him young by boiling him inwater. Do ye so likewise to your father, andI will help you with drugs and enchantments,as I did with the ram." But she lied untothem, and helped them not. So King Peliasdied, being slain by his daughters, when theythought to make him young. But the peopleof the land were very wroth with Medea andwith Jason her husband, and suffered them notto dwell there any more. So they came anddwelt in the land of Corinth. Now when they

26 THE STORY OFhad abode there many days, the heart of Jasonwas turned away from his wife, and he wasminded to put her away from him, and totake to himself another wife, even Glauce, whowas daughter to Creon, the King of the city.Now, when this thing was told to Medea, atfirst she went through the house raging like alioness that is bereaved of her whelps, and cryingout to the Gods that they should smite this falsehusband that had sworn to her and had brokenhis oath, and affirming that she herself wouldtake vengeance on him. And they that hadthe charge of her children kept them from her,lest she should do some mischief. But whenher first fury was spent, she came forth fromher house, and spake to certain women ofCorinth of her acquaintance, that were gatheredtogether to comfort her, and said, " I am come,my friends, to excuse myself to you. Ye knowthis sudden trouble that. hath undone me, andthe exceeding great wickedness of my husband.Surely we women are of all creatures thatbreathe the most miserable. For we must takehusbands to rule over us, and how shall weknow whether they be good or bad ? Of a


9' I

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.27truth, a woman should have the gift of divina-nation, that she may know what manner of manhe is to whom she joineth herself, seeing that heis a stranger to her and unknown. If indeedshe find one that is worthy, it is well with her;but if not, then had she better die. For a man,if he be troubled at home, goeth abroad, andholdeth converse with his friends and equals ofage, and is comforted. But with a woman it isnot so; for she hath only the life that is athome. But why do I compare myself withyou ? for ye dwell in your own land, and haveparents and kinsfolk and friends; but I amdesolate and without a country, and am wrongedby this man that hath stolen me from a strangeland; nor have I mother, or brother, or kins-man, who may help me in my need. Thisthing, therefore, I would ask of you; that if I cancontrive any device by which I may have ven-geance on my husband, and on him that givethhis daughter to him, and on the girl, ye keep'silence. And vengeance I will have; for thougha woman have not courage, nor dare to lookupon the sword, yet if she be wronged in herlove, there is nothing fiercer than she."

28THE STORY OFThen the women said, "We will keep silenceas thou biddest us, for 'tis right that thoushouldest have vengeance on thy husband.But see! here cometh King Creon, doubtlesswith some new purpose."And the King said, "Hear this, Medea. Ibid thee depart out of this land, and thychildren with thee. And I am come myself toexecute this word, for I depart not again to myown house till I have cast thee forth from myborders."Then Medea made answer, "Now am Ialtogether undone. But tell me, my lord, whydost thou drive me out of thy land ? ""Because I fear thee, lest thou should dosome harm beyond all remedy to me and tomy house. For I know that thou art wise, andhast knowledge of many curious arts; andbesides, I hear that thou hast threatenedgrievous hurt against all that are concernedwith this new marriage."But Medea answered, " 0 my lord, thisreport of craft and wisdom hath wrought meharm not this day only, but many times!Truly it is not well that a man should teach

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.29is children to be wise, for they gain thereby3 profit, but hatred only. But as for me, myIrd, my wisdom is but a small thing; nor islere cause why thou shouldest fear me. Forho am I that I should transgress against aig ? Nor indeed hast thou done me wrong.Ey husband, indeed, I hate; but thou hast|ven thy daughter as it pleased thee. TheAods grant that it may be well with thee andine Only suffer me to dwell in this land."But-the King would not, though she entreatedlm with many words. Only at the last heilded this to her, that she might abide for ones and contrive some refuge for her children;t," he said, " if thou tarry after this, thout thy children, thou shalt surely die.":lhen he went his way, and Medea said towomen that stood by, "That at least is;be ye sure that there is evil to come forridegroom and the bride in this new mar-and for their kin. Think ye that I hade this man but that I thought to gaintthereby ? Surely I had not touchedno, nor spoken to him. And now-he is-he hath given me this day, and

30THE STORY OFwhen he might have driven me from the land,he suffereth me to tarry. Verily he shall diefor it, he and his daughter and this new bride-groom. But how shall.I contrive it ? Shall Iput fire to the dwelling of the bride, or makemy way by stealth into her chamber and slayher ? Yet if I be found so doing, I shall perish,and my-enemies will laugh me to scorn. Nay,let me work by poison, as is my wont. Well,and if they die, what then ? What city willreceive me ? what friend shall give me protec-tion ? I know not. I will tarry awhile, and ifsome help appear, I will work my end withguile; but if not, I will take my swordand slaythem that I hate, though I die. For by Hecate,whom I reverence most of all the Gods, no manshall vex my heart and prosper. Therefore,Medea, fear not; use all thy counsel and craft.Shall the race of Sisyphus, shall Jason, laughthee to scorn that art of the race of the Sun ? "When she had ended these words, therecame Jason telling her that she did not well tobe thus angry, and that she had brought uponherself this trouble of banishment by idle wordsagainst the rulers of the land; but that never-I.I

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.310e:would have a care for her, and seewanted nothing needful. But when.eard him so speak, she burst out uponireat fury, calling to mind how she hadinmi- once again from the bulls thatire from their nostrils and from theIgon that guarded the fleece of gold,she: had done the old man Pelias top his sake;. "and now," she said,all I go ? who will receive me ? for,&,enemies of my kinsfolk on thou forsakest me. 0 Zeus!O*discern false money, from the true,O*njwhen we would know which isldnd which the bad, there is no markaj ay. know them ?"|g4 ,~ason answered that if she had.ftime-past, she had done it ofcompelled by love; and thathr a full recompense, taking her~ ; uHl.and to the land of Greece,d law and not by the will ofd causing her to be highlyin om among the people of theto this marriage," he said, "for

32THE STORY OFwhich thou blamest me, I have made it inprudence and in care for thee and for thychildren. For being an exile in this city, whatcould I do better than marry the daughter of theKing? Nor is my heart turned from thee orfrom thy children. Only I have made provi-sion against poverty, and that I might rear mysons in such fashion as befitted their birth.And now if thou needest aught in thy banish-ment, speak; for I would give thee provisionwithout grudging, and also commend thee tosuch friends as I have.""Keep thy gifts and thy friends," she said,"to thyself. There is no profit in that whichcometh from such hands as thine."So Jason went his way; and when he wasdeparted there came /Egeus, King of Athens,who had been on a journey to inquire of thegod at Delphi, for he was childless, and wouldfain have a son born to him. But he under-stood not what the god had answered, and wasnow on his way to King Pittheus of Trcezen,a man learned in such matters, that he mightinterpret the thing to him. And when he sawthat Medea had been weeping, he would know

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.33what ailed her. Then she told him how herhusband was false to her, marrying a new wife,even the daughter of the king of the land, andhow she was on the point to be banished, andher children with her. And when she saw thatthese things displeased King .Egeus, she said-"Now, my lord, I beseech thee to have pityon me, nor suffer me to wander homelessand friendless, but receive me into thy house.So may the Gods grant thee thy desire thatthou mayest have a son to reign after thee.And indeed I have such knowledge in thesematters that I can help thee myself."Then said King AEgeus, "I am willing todo thee this service both for right's sake andbecause of the hope of children which thoupromisest to me. Only I may not take theewith me from this land. But if thou comestto me thou shalt be safe, nor will I give theeup to any man."Then said Medea, "It is well, and I trustthee. And yet, for I am weak and my enemiesare strong, I would fain bind thee by an oath."To this the King answered, " Lady, thou artprudent, and I refuse not the oath; for being4

34THE STORY OFso bound, I shall have wherewith to answerthine enemies, if they seek thee from me. Bywhat Gods shall I swear?""Swear by the Earth and by the Sun, who wasthe father of my father, and by all the Gods,that thou wilt not banish me from thy land, norgive me up to my enemies seeking me."And King .Egeus sware a great oath, by theEarth, and by the Sun, and by all the Gods, thathe would not banish her, nor give her up; andso departed.Then said Medea, " Now shall my counselsprosper; for this man hath given me that whichI needed, even a refuge in the city of Athens.Now, therefore, hear what I will do. I willsend one of my servants to Jason, and bidhim come to me, and will speak softly tohim, confessing that he hath done wiselyin making this marriage with the daughter ofKing Creon. And I will ask of him thatmy children may remain in the land. AndI will send them with a gift to this King'sdaughter, even a robe and a crown. But whenshe shall deck herself with them, she shallperish. so deadly are the poisons with which I

VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.35i~in.;itlBut very grievous is theAitt ad twhen this shall- have. been& :Wor. after this Ii must slay my;is: tla man deliver them out' Fthis:will ;I. destroy the wholei~,ridtso depatt. -from the land.'ed-_'i~t:; but. I cannot endure to? mrn't-by my. enemies. And yetlI ie-todiv.e? For I have nol[ -gefrom trouble.. I didl theius: houe' to follow thissal-payme to the:veryR iis -echildren- he shall see no'i-"ide shall .perish miserably.I no man henceforth think me ton 'thuomen would have turned herv, saying that so doing she would.bof women, she would notfi 'only how she might .besther husband.[[ a trhad carried the messagewhen he was. come, she saidetd: :of her anger against_ihe seemed to her to; have

36THE STORY OFdone wisely, strengthening himself and hishouse by this marriage; and she prayed himthat he would pardon her, being a woman andweak. And then she called to her childrenthat they should come forth from the house, andtake their father by his hand, for that her angerhad ceased, and there was peace between them.And Jason praised her that she had sochanged her thoughts; and to his children hesaid, "Be sure, my sons, that your father hathcounselled wisely for you. Live, you shall yetbe the first in this land of Corinth."And as he spake these words, he perceivedthat Medea wept, and said, "Why weepestthou ?"And she answered, "Women are alwaysready with tears for their children. I bare them;and when thou saidst to them 'Live,' I doubtedwhether this might be. But listen. Doubtlessit is well that I depart from this land, both forme and for you. But as for these children,wilt thou not persuade the King that he sufferthem to dwell here ?""I know not whether I shall persuade him;but I will endeavour."

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.37Ask thy wife to intercede for these children,[ that they be not banished from this land.""Even so. With her doubtless I shall pre-I vail, if she be like to other women.""I will help thee in this,, sending her gifts sofair that there could be found nothing morebeautiful on the earth a robe exceeding fineand a crown of gold. These shall my childrenbear to her. So shall she be the happiest ofwomen, having such a husband as thou art, andthis adornment which the Sun, my grandsire,gave to his descendants after him that theyshould possess it."Then she turned herself to her children, andi said, "Take these caskets in your hands, mysons, and take them to the new bride, the King'sdaughter.""' But why wilt thou empty thy hands ? Arethere not, thinkest thou, robes enough and goldenough in the treasure of the King ? Keepthem for thyself. She will make more accountOf me than of thy gifts."[: Nay, not so. Is it not said that even theGods are persuaded by gifts, and that gold ismightier than ten thousand speeches ? Go,

38TH STOR rOF I3 THE S. R Othen,; my- children, to the Keing's.palace.; Seekyour father's new wife, and fall down before her,and beseech her, giving her these adornments,that ye be not banished from the land."So the two boys went to the, palace bearingthe gifts. And all the servants of Jason thatwere therein rejoiced to see them, thinking thatMedea had put away her anger against her hus-band. And they kissed their hands and theirheads; and one led them into the chambers of thewomen, to the King's daughter. And she, whobefore sat looking with much love upon Jason,when she saw the boys, turned her head fromthem in anger.But Jason soothed her, saying, "Be not angrywith thy friends, but love them whom thy hus-band loveth, and take the gifts which theybring, and persuade thy father: for my sakethat he banish them not."And'when she saw the gifts,;she changed herthoughts, and consented to his words. And ina very brief space she took the robe and clothedherself with it, and put the crown upon herhead, and ordered her hair, looking in the glassand smiling at the, image of herself. And thenAX* ; -s **A^.*.

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.39she rose from her seat, and walked through thehouse, stepping daintily, and often regardingherself.But then befell a dreadful thing; for she 'grew pale, and trembled, and had well-nighfallen upon the ground, scarce struggling to herchair.And .an old woman that was of her attend-ants set up a great cry, thinking that Pan orsome other god had smitten her. But when shesaw that she foamed at her mouth, and that hereyes rolled, and that there was no blood left inher, she ran to tell Jason of the matter, andanother hastened to the King's chamber.And then there came upon the maiden agreater woe than at the first, for there cameforth a marvellous stream of fire from thecrown of gold that was about her head, and allthe while the robe devoured her flesh. Thenshe rose from her seat, and ran through thehouse, tossing her hair, and seeking to castaway the crown. But this she could not, forit clung to her very closely. And at the last,she fell dead upon the ground, sorely disfiguredso that none but her father only had known

40THE STORY OFher. And all feared to touch her, lest they shouldbe devoured also of the fire.But when the King was come, he cast himselfupon the dead body, saying, "0 my child!what God hath so smitten thee ? Why hastthou left me in my old age ?"And when he would have lifted himself, therobe held him fast, and he could not, though hestruggled sorely. So he also died; and thetwo, father and daughter, lay together deadupon the ground.Now in the meanwhile the old man that hadthe charge of the boys led them back to thehouse of the mother, and bade her rejoice, forthat they were released from the sentence ofbanishment, and that some day she should alsoreturn by their means.But the woman wept and answered doubtfully.Then she bade him go into the house and pre-pare for the lads what they might need for theday. And when he was departed she said, " sons, I go to a strange land and shall notsee you come to fair estate and fortune; norshall I make preparations for your marriagewhen you have grown to manhood. Vainly did

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.4II bear you with pangs of travail; vainly'did Irear you; vainly did I hope that ye shouldcherish me in my old age, and lay me out for myburial. O my children, why do ye so regadme ? Why do ye laugh at me that shall neverlaugh again ? Nay, I cannot do the deed. WhenI see the eyes of my children how bright theyare, I cannot do it. And yet shall my enemiestriumph over me and laugh me to scorn ? Notso; I will dare it all." And she bade her chil-dren go into the house. But after a space shespake again, "O my heart, do not this deed.Spare my children! They will gladden thee inthe land of thy banishment." And then again,after a space, " But no, it is otherwise ordained,and there is no escape. And I know that bythis time the King's daughter hath the robeupon her and the crown about her head, andwhat I do I must do quickly."Then she called to the boys again and said,"0 my children! give me your right hands.O hands and mouths that I love, and faces fairexceedingly. Be ye happy-but not here. Allthat is here your father hath taken from you.O dear regard, O soft, soft flesh, O sweet, sweet

42THE STORY OFbreath of my children Go, my children, go; Icannot look upon your faces any more."And now there came a messenger from theKing's palace and told her all that had therebefallen. But when she heard it she knew thatthe time was come, and went into the house.And the women that stood without. heard aterrible cry from the children as they sought toflee from their mother and could not. Andwhile they doubted whether they should nothasten within and, it might be, deliver themfrom their mother, came Jason to the gate andsaid to them, " Tell me, ladies, is Medea in thisplace, or hath she fled ? Verily she must hideherself in the earth, or mount into the. air, if shewould not suffer due punishment for that whichshe hath done to the King and to his daughter.But of her I think not so -much as of herchildren. For I would save them, lest the kins-men of the dead do them some harm, seekingvengeance for the bloody deed of their mother."Then the women answered, "0 Jason, thouknowest not the truth, or thou wouldst not speaksuch words.""How so ? Would she kill me also ?"

THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.43" Thy children are dead, slain by the hand oftheir mother."" Dead are they ? When did she slay them ?""If thou wilt open the gates thou wilt see thedead corpses of thy children."But when he battered at the gates, and criedout that they should open to him, he heard avoice from above, and sawSIedea borne in achariot, with winged dragons for horses, whoriedl toihim, i"Why seekest thou the dead andme that slew them>? Trouble- not thyselfi Ifthou .wantest aught of me, say on, but thou shaltnever touch me with thy hand. For this chariot,which my father the Sun hath given me, shaltdeliver me out of thy hands."Then Jason cried, "Thou art an accursedwoman, that hast slain thy own children withthe sword, and yet darest to look upon the earthand the sun. What madness was it that Ibrought thee from thy own country to this landof Greece, for thou didst betray thy father andslay thy brother with the sword, and now thouhast killed thine own children, to avenge whatthou deemest thine own wrong. No woman artthou, but a lioness or monster of the sea."

44 THE VENGEANCE OF MEDEA.And to these things she answered, " Call mewhat thou wilt, lioness or monster of the sea;but this I know, that I have pierced thy heart.And as for thy children, thou shalt not touch'them or see them any more; for I will bear themto the grove of Here and bury them there, lestsome enemy should break up their tomb and dothem some dishonour. And I myself go to theland of Attica, where I shall dwell with King/Egeus, the son of Pandion. And as for thee,thou shalt perish miserably, for a beam from theship Argo shall smite thee on the head. Soshalt thou die."Thus was the vengeance of Medea accom-plished.

THE STORY OF THE DEATH OFHERCULES.CENEUS, who was king of 'the city of Pleuronin the land of IEtolia, had a fair daughter,Deianeira by name. Now the maiden wassought in marriage by the god of the riverAchelouis; but she loved him not, for he wasstrange and terrible to look at. Sometimes hehad the shape of a great dragon with scales,and sometimes he had the shape of a man, onlythat his head was the head of a bull, and streamsof water flowed down from his beard. But itcame to pass that Hercules, who was strongerthan all the men that dwelt upon the earth,coming to the city of Pleuron, saw the maidenand loved her, and would have her to wife.And when she told him, saying that the river-god Achelous sought her in marriage, he bade

46THE STORY OFher be of good courage, for that he wouldvanquish the creature in battle, so that it shouldnot trouble her any more. Which thidg he did,,for when the river-god came, after his custom,Hercules did battle with him, and came nigh tostrangling him, and brake off one of his horns.And the maiden looked on while the two foughttogether, and was well pleased that Herculesprevailed. King CEneus also was glad, andwillingly gave her to him to wife. So after awhile he departed with her unto his own country.And as they journeyed they came to the riverEvenus. Now on the banks of this river theredwelt one Nessus, a centaur;- (These centaurs,had heads as the heads of men, but their bodieswere like horses' bodies; and they were asavage race and a lawless.) This Nessus waswont to :carry travellers across the river, whichindeed was very broad and deep. And whenhe saw Deianeira that she was very. fair, hewould have taken her from her husband; butHercules drew his bow and smote him with anarrow.Now when Nessus knew that he should dieof his wound-for neither man nor beast lived

THE DEATH OF HERCULES.47that was wounded of these arrows-he thoughtin his wicked heart that he would be avengedon this man that had slain him. Whereuponhe said to the woman, "Behold I die. But firstI would give thee a gift. Take of the bloodthat cometh from this wound, and it shall cometo pass that if th love of thy husband fail thee,thou shalt take of this blood and smear it on a.'gament, and give him the garment to wear,-and he shall love thee again as at the first."So the woman took of the blood and kept itby her. And it came to pass after a time thatthe two went to the city of Trachis and dweltthere. Now Trachis is in the land of Thessaly,near unto the springs of CEta. And Herculesloved his wife, and she dwelt in peace andhappiness, only that he sojourned not long athome, but wandered over the face of the earth,doing many wonderful works at the command-ment of Eurystheus, his brother. For the Godshad made Eurystheus to be master over him,for all that he was so strong. Now for themost part this troubled not his wife overmuch;for he departed from his house as one whocounted it certain that he should return thereto.

I48 THE STORY OFBut at the last this was not so. For he left atablet wherein were written many things suchas a man writeth who is about to die. For hehad ordered therein the portion which his wifeshould have as her right of marriage, and howhis possessions should be divided among (hischildren. Also he wrote therein a certain spaceoftime, even a year and three months, for whenthat was come to an end, he said, he musteither be dead or have finished happily all hislabours, and so be at peace continually. Andthis he had heard as an oracle from thedoves that dwell in the oaks of Dodona. Andwhen this time was well-nigh come to an end,Deianeira, being in great fear, told the matter toHyllus, her son. And even as she had ended,there came a messenger, saying, " Hail, lady!Put thy trouble from thee. The son of Alcmenalives and is well. This I heard from Lichas theherald; and hearing it I hastened to thee with-out delay, hoping that so I might please thee."" But," said the Queen, "why cometh not theherald himself?""Because all the people stand about him,asking him questions, and hinder him."

THE DEATH OF HERCULES.49And not a long while after the herald came;and the name of the man was Lichas. Andwhen the Queen saw him she cried," What newshast thou of my husband ? Is he yet alive ? ""Yea," said the herald, " he is alive and ingood health.""And where didst thou leave him ? In somecountry of the Greeks, or among barbarians?""I left him in the land of Eubcea, where heordereth a sacrifice to Zeus.""Payeth he thus some vow, or did someoracle command it ?""He payeth a vow. And this vow he madebefore he took with his spear the city of thesewomen whom thou seest.""And who are these ? For they are verypiteous to behold.""These he led captive when he destroyedthe city of King Eurytus.""And hath the taking of the city so longdelayed him ? For I have not seen him for thespace of a year and three months."" Not so. The most of this time he was aslave in the land of Lydia. For he was soldto Omphale, who is Queen of that land, and5

50THE STORY OFserved her. And how this came about I willtell thee. Thy husband sojourned in the houseof King Eurytus, who had been long time hisfriend. But the King dealt ill with him andspake to him unfriendly. For first he said thatHercules could not excel his sons in shootingwith the bow, for all that he had arrows thatmissed not their aim. And next he reviled him,for that he was but a slave who served a freeman, even King Eurystheus, his brother. Andat the last, at a banquet, when Hercules wasovercome with wine, the King cast him forth.Wherefore Hercules, being very wroth, slew theman. For the King came to the land of Tiryns,looking for certain horses, and Hercules caughthim unawares, having his thoughts one way andhis eyes another, and cast him down from thecliff that he died. Then Zeus was very wrothbecause he had slain him by craft, as he hadnever slain any man before, and caused that heshould be sold for a year as a bond-slave toQueen Omphale. And when the year wasended, and Hercules was free, he vowed a vowthat he would destroy this city from which therehad come to him this disgrace; which vow he

THE DEATH OF HERCULES.51knplished. And these women whom thoui ,stxare the captives of his spear. And as for. :ifnself, be sure that thou wilt see him in no* ig" space."?i When- Lichas had thus spoken, the Queen: looked upon the captives, and had compassion;0 thefift,;praying to the Gods that such an evil.:~i~ ;Dii tiot-befall .her children, or if, haply,b lithenshe might be dead before.^HB ~p Ei~erwas one among them who1 e:6Ar' iAibeauty; being: tall and... i ly as iif she were the daughter of' ia-'ing, she would fain know who she was; andwhen the woman answered not a word, shewould have the herald tell her. But he madeas if he knew nothing at all; only that sheseemed to be well born, and that from the firstshe had spoken nothing, but wept continually.tAnd the Queen pitied her, and said that theyshould not trouble her, but take her into the:palace and deal kindly with her, lest she shouldhave sorrow upon sorrow.But Lichas having departed for a space, the'messenger that came at the first would havespeech of the Queen alone. And when she had4

52THE STORY OFdismissed all the people, he told her that Lichashad not spoken truly, saying that he knew notwho was this stranger, for that she was,-thedaughter of King Eurytus, Iole by name, andthat indeed for love of her Hercules had takenthe city.And when the Queen heard this she was soretroubled, fearing lest the heart of her husbandshould now have been turned from her. Butfirst she would know the certainty of the matter.So when Lichas came, being now about todepart, and inquired what he should say, as fromthe Queen, to Hercules, she said to him, " Lichas,art thou one that loveth the truth ? "" Yea, by Zeus!" said he, "if so be that Iknow it.""Tell me, then, who is this woman whomthou hast brought ?""A woman of Eubcea; but of what lineage Iknow not."" Look thou here. Knowest thou who it isto whom thou speakest ?""Yea, I know it; to Queen Deianeira, daugh-ter of CEaeus- and wife to Hercules, and mymistress."

THE DEATH OF HERCULES.53:d' Thou sayest that I am thy mistress. Whatshould be done to thee if thou be found doingwrong to me ?"i :What wrong ? What meanest thou ? Butthis is idle talk, and I had best depart.""Thou departest not till I shall have inquiredsomewhat further of thee."iSt: the Queen commanded that they shouldI messenger who-had set forth thel m toher. And when the man was^ had told what he knew, and the9d H also spake fair, as bearing no wrathagainst her husband, Lichas made confessionthat the thing was indeed as the man had said,and that the woman was Iol1, daughter of KingEurytus.Then the Queen took counsel with her com-panions, maidens that dwelt in the city ofTrachis, and told them how she had a charmwith her, the blood of Nessus the Centaur; andthat Nessus had given it to her in old timebecause she was the last whom he carried overthe river Evenus; and that it would win backfor her the love of her husband. Soashe calledLichas, the herald, and said to him that he

54THE STOR Y OFmust do a certain thing for her. And he an-swered, "What is it, lady? Already I havelingered too long."And she said, "Take now this robe, whichthou seest to be fair and well woven, and carryit as a gift from me to my husband. And sayto him from me that he suffer no man to wearit before him, and that the light of the suntouch it not, no, nor the light of a fire, till hehimself shall clothe himself with it on a day onwhich he doeth sacrifice to the Gods. And saythat I made this vow, if he should come backfrom this journey, that I would array him in thisrobe, wherein to do sacrifice. And that hemay know thee to be a true messenger fromme, take with thee this seal."And Lichas said, f' So' surely as I know thecraft of Hermes, who is the god of heralds, Iwill do this thing according to thy bidding."Now the Queen had anointed the fair gar-ment which she sent with the blood of Nessusthe Centaur, that when her husband shouldclothe himself with it, his heart might be turnedto her as at the first.So Lichas the herald departed, bearing the

THE DEATH OF HERCULES.I :dbe. But after no long time the Queen ran"i'ifoth from the palace in great fear, wringingi:her hands, and crying to the maidens, her.companions, that she was sore afraid lest inignorance she had done some great mischief.'Anl d when they would know the cause of hergr: ief and fear, she spake, saying, "A very mar-i : Iad terrible thing hath befallen me.^3?^^^^ V si:'orsel of sheep's wool which Itiecharm,i even the blood of theI aight anoint therewith the robesa g mt send to my husband. Now,this morsel of wool hath perished altogether.But that ye may understand this thing thebetter, I will set it forth to you at length.Know then that I have not forgotten aught ofthe things which the Centaur commanded mewhen he gave me this charm, but have keptthem in my heart, even as if they were writtenon bronze. Now he bade me keep the thingwhere neither light of the sun nor fire mighttouch it. And this have I done; and when Ianointed the robe, I anointed it in secret. in acertain dark place in the palace; but the morselof wool wherewith I anointed it I threw, not

56THE. STORY OFheeding, into the sunshine. And, lo! it hathwasted till it is like unto dust which fallethwhen a man saweth wood. And from the earthwhereon it lay there arise great bubbles of foam,like to the bubbles which arise when men pourinto the vats the juice of the vine. And nowI know not what I should say; for indeed,though I thought not so of the matter before,it seemeth not a thing to be believed that thisCentaur should wish well to the man that slewhim. Haply he deceived me, that he mightwork him woe. For I know that this is a verydeadly poison, seeing that Chiron also sufferedgrievously by reason of it, albeit he was a god.Now if this be so, as I fear, then have I, and Ionly, slain my husband."And she had scarce finished these wordswhen Hyllus her son came in great haste;and when he saw her, he cried, "0 my mother!would that I had found thee dead, or that thouwert not my mother, or that thou wert of abetter mind than I know thee to be of."But she said, "What have I done, my son,that thou so abhorrest me ?"" This day thou hast done my father todeath."



THE DEATH OF HERCULES.57"What sayest thou? Who told thee thishorrible thing that thou bringest against me ?""I saw it with mine own eyes. And if thouwilt hear the whole matter, hearken. Myfather, having taken with his spear the city ofEurytus, went to a certain place hard by thesea, that he might offer sacrifices to Zeus, ac-cording to his vow. And even as he was aboutto begin, there came Lichas the herald bringingthy gift, the deadly robe. And he put it uponhim as thou badest, and slew the beasts for thesacrifice, even twelve oxen chosen out of theprey, and one hundred other beasts. And for awhile he did worship to the Gods with a gladheart, rejoicing in the beauty of his apparel.But when the fire grew hot, and the sweat cameout upon his skin, the robe clung about him asthough one had fitted it to him by art, andthere went a great pang of pain through him,even as the sting of a serpent. And thenhe called to Lichas the herald, and would fainknow for what end he had brought this accursedraiment. And when the wretch said that it wasthy gift, he caught him by the foot, and casthim on a rock that was in the sea hard by, and

58THE STORY OFall his brains were scattered upon it. And allthe people groaned to see this thing, that theman perished so miserably, and that such mad-ness wrought in thy husband. Nor did anyone dare to draw near to him, for he threwhimself now into the air, and now upon theground, so fierce was the pain; and all therocks about sounded again with his groaning.But after a while he spied me where I stoodwaiting in the crowd, and called to me, andsaid, 'Come hither, my son; fly not from me inmy trouble, even if it needs be that thou diewith me. But take me, and set me where noman may see me; but above all carry me fromthis land, that I die not here.' Whereupon welaid him in the hold of a ship, and brought himto this place, where thou wilt see him soon,either newly dead or on the point to die. Thisis what thou hast done, my mother; for thouhast slain thy husband, such a man as thoushalt never more see upon this earth."And when the Queen heard this, she spakenot a word, but hasted into the palace, and ranthrough it like unto one that is smitten withmadness. And at the last she entered the

THE DEATH OF HERCULES.59chamber of Hercules, and sat down in themidst and wept piteously, saying, "O mymarriage-bed, where never more I shall lie,farewell!" And as she spake she loosed thegolden brooch that was upon her heart, andbared all her left side; and before any couldhinder her-for her nurse had seen what shedid, and had run to fetch her son-she tooka two-edged sword and smote herself to theheart, and so fell dead. And as she fell therecame her son, that noW knew from them of thehousehold how she had been deceived of thatevil beast the Centaur, and fell upon her withmany tears and cries, saying that now he wasbereaved both of father and of mother in oneday.But while he lamented, there came men bear-ing Hercules in a litter. He was asleep, forthe pain had left him for a space, and the oldman that was guide to the company was earnestwith Hyllus that he should not wake his father.Nevertheless, Hercules heard the young man'svoice, and his sleep left him. Then he criedaloud in his agony, complaining to Zeus that hehad suffered such a torment to come upon him,

I60 THE STORY OFand reproaching them that stood by that theygave him not a sword wherewith he mightmake an end to his pain. But most of all hecursed his wife that she had wrought him suchwoe, saying to Hyllus-"See now, my son, how that this treacherouswoman hath worked such pain to me as I havenever endured before in all the earth, throughwhich, as thou knowest, I have journeyed,cleansing it from all manner of monsters. Andnow thou seest how I, who have subdued allthings, weep and cry as doth a girl. And thesehands and arms, with which I slew the lion thatwasted the land of Nemea and the great dragonof Lerna, and dragged into the light the three-headed dog that guardeth the gate of hell, seehow these, which no man yet hath vanquishedin fight, are wasted and consumed with the fire.But there is one thing which they shall yet do,for I will slay her that wrought this deed."Then Hyllus made answer, " My father,suffer me to speak, for I have that to tell theeof my mother which thou shouldest hear.""Speak on; but beware that thou show notthyself vile, excusing her."



THE DEATH OF HERCULES.6I"She is dead.""Who slew her? This is a strange thingthou tellest."" She slew herself with her own hand.""'Tis ill done. Would that I had'slain hermyself!""Thy heart will be changed towards herwhen thou hearest all.""This is strange indeed; but say on.""All that she did she did with good intent.""With good intent, thou wicked boy, whenshe slew her husband ? " '"She sought to keep thy love, fearing thatthy heart was turned to another.""And who of the men of Trachis is so cun-ning in leechcraft ?"" The Centaur Nessus gave her the poisonlong since, saying that she might thus win backthy love."Andlwhen Hercules heard this he cried aloud,"Then is my doom come; for long since it wasprophesied to me that I should not die by thehand of any living creature, but by one thatdwelt in the region of the dead. And now thisCentaur, whom I slew long ago, hath slain me

62THE DEATH OF turn. And now, my son, hearken unto me.Thou knowest the hill of CEta. Carry methither thyself, taking also such of thy friendsas thou wilt have with thee. And build there agreat pile of oak and wild olive, and lay methereon, and set fire thereto. And take heedthat thou shed no tear nor utter a cry, but workthis deed in silence, if; indeed, thou art my trueson: and if thou doest not so, my curse shallbe upon thee for ever."And Hyllus vowed that he would do thisthing, only that he could not set fire to the pilewith his own hand. So they bare Hercules. tothe top of the hill of (Eta, and built a great pileof wood, and laid him thereon. And .Philoc-tetes, who was of the companions of Hyllus,set fire to the pile. For which deed Herculesgave to him his bow and the arrows that missednot their aim. And the tale of this bow, andhow it fared with him that had it, may be readin the story of Philoctetes.4.

THE STORY OF THESEVEN CHIEFS AGAINST THEBES.IT BEFELL in times past that the Gods, beingangry with the inhabitants of Thebes, sent intotheir land a very noisome beast which mencalled the Sphinx. Now this beast had theface and breast of a very fair woman, but thefeet and claws of a lion; and it was wontto ask a riddle of such as encountered it; andsuch as answered not aright it would tear anddevour. Now when it had laid waste the landmany days, there chanced to come to Thebesone CEdipus, who had fled from the city ofCorinth that he might escape the doom whichthe Gods had spoken against him. And themen of the place told him of the Sphinx, howshe cruelly devoured the people, and that hewho should deliver them from her should havethe kingdom. So CEdipus, being very bold,and also ready of wit, went forth to meet the

64THE STORY OF THEmonster. And when she saw him she spake,saying-" Read me this riddle right, or die:What liveth there beneath the sky,Four-footed creature that doth chooseNow three feet and now twain to use,And still more feebly o'er the plainWalketh with three feet than with twain? "And CEdipus made reply-"'Tis man, who in life's early dayFour-footed crawleth on his way;When time hath made his strength complete,Upright his form and twain his feet;When age hath bwedhim to the groundA third foot i 'his staff ound."And when the Sphinx found thta her riddle wasanswered, she cast herself from a bih rock andperished. Now for a while CEdious reigned ingreat power and glory; but afterwards his doomcame upon him, so that in 'is madness heput out his own eyes. Then his two sons casthim into prison, and took his kingdom, makingagreement between themselves that each shouldreign for the space of one year. And theelder of the two, whose name was Eteocles,first had the kingdom; bhit when his year was


I~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~iI~~~~~~. III~~~~~~

SEVEN CHIEFS AGAINST THEBES. 65come to an end, he would not abide by hispromise, but kept that which he should havegiven up, and drave out his younger brotherfrom the city. Then the younger, whose namewas Polynices, fled to Argos, to King Adrastus.And after a while he married the daughter of theKing, who made a covenant with him that hewould bring him back with a high hand toThebes, and set him on the throne of his father.Then the King sent messengers to certain ofthe princes of Greece,. entreating that theywould help in this matter. And of these somewould not, but others hearkened to his words, sothat a great army was gathered together andfollowed the King and Polynices to make waragainst Thebes. So they came and pitchedtheir camp over against the city. And after thatthey had fought against it many days, and yethad prevailed nothing, Adrastus held a councilof the chiefs, and it was agreed that next day,early in the morning, they should assault thecity with all their might. And when the morn-ing was come, the chiefs were gathered together,being seven in number. And first of all theyslew a bull, and caught the blood of the beast6

66THE STORY OF THEin the hollow of a shield, into which theydipped their hands, and sware a great oaththat they would take the city of Thebes or die.And having sworn, they hung upon the chariotof Adrastus what should be memorials of them,each for his own father and mother, all weepingthe while. After this they cast lots for theplaces which they should take, for there wereseven gates to the city, that each chief mightassault a gate.But their purpose was known to the KingEteocles, for he had heard the whole matterfrom Tiresias, the wise seer, who told before-hand all that should come to pass, discovering itfrom the voice of birds, for being blind he couldnot judge from their flight, or from the tokensof fire, as other soothsayers are wont. Where-fore the King gathered together all that couldbear arms, even youths not grown, and oldmen that were waxed feeble with age, andbade them fight for the land, for "she," hesaid, "gave you birth and reared you, and'nowasketh that ye help her in this her need.And though hitherto we have fared well inthis war, know ye for certain, for Tiresias the-!



SEVEN CHIEFS AGAINST THEBES. 67soothsayer hath said it, that there cometh agreat danger this day upon the city. Where-fore haste ye to the battlements, and to thetowers that are upon the walls, and take yourstand in the gates, and be of good courage, andquit you like men."And as he made an end of speaking thereran in one who declared that even now theenemy was about to assault the city. Andafter him came a troop of maidens of Thebes,crying out that the enemy had come forth fromthe camp, and that they heard the tramp ofmany feet upon the earth, and the rattling ofshields, and the noise of many spears. Andthey lifted up their voices to the Gods thatthey should help the city, to Ares, the god ofthe golden helmet, that he should defend theland which in truth was his from old time, andto Father Zeus, and to Pallas, who was thedaughter of Zeus, and to Poseidon, the greatruler of the sea, and to Aphrodite the Fair, forthat she was the mother of their race, and toApollo, the wolf-king, that he would be as adevouring wolf to the enemy, and to Artemis,that she should bend her bow against them, and

68THE STORY OF THEto Here, the Queen of heaven, even to all thedwellers in Olympus, that they should defendthe city, and save it.But the King was very wroth when he heardthis outcry, and cried, " Think ye to make boldthe hearts of our men by these lamentations ?Now may the Gods save me from this race ofwomen; for if they be bold no man can enduretheir insolence, and if they be afraid they vexboth their home and their country. Even so nowdo ye help them that are without and troubleyour own people. But hearken to this. He thatheareth not my command, be he man or woman,the people shall stone him. Speak I plainly ?""But, O son of CEdipus," the maidens madereply, " we hear the rolling of the chariot wheels,and the rattling of the axles, and the jingling ofthe bridle reins;"" What then ?" said the King, " if the shiplabour in the sea, and the helmsman leave thehelm and fly to the prow that he may -praybefore the image, doeth he well ?"" Nay, blame us not that we came to beseechthe Gods when we heard the hailstorm of warrattling on the gates."

SEVEN CHIEFS AGAINST THEBES.69"'Tis well," cried the King, " yet men say thatthe Gods leave the city that is at the point tofall. And mark ye this, that safety is the childof obedience. But as for duty, 'tis for men todo sacrifice to the Gods, and for women to keepsilence and to abide at home."But the maidens made reply, "' Tis the Godswho keep this city, nor do they transgress whoreverence them.""Yea, but let them reverence them in dueorder. And now hearken to me. Keep yesilence. And when I have made my prayer,raise ye a joyful shout that shall gladden thehearts of our friends and put away all fear fromthem. And to the Gods that keep this city I;ow that if they give us victory in this war Irill sacrifice to them sheep and oxen, and will,hang up in their houses the spoils of the, ye maidens, do ye also make youryers, but not with vain clamour. And Ihoose seven men, being myself the seventh,all meet the seven that come against theof our city."the King departed, and the maidenseir prayer after this fashion: "My

70THE STORY OF THEheart feareth as a dove feareth the serpent forher young ones, so cruelly doth the enemy comeabout this city to destroy it! Shall ye findelsewhere as fair a land, ye Gods, if ye suffer thisto be laid waste, or streams as sweet ? Helpus then, for indeed it is a grievous thing'whenmen take a city, for the women, old and young,are dragged by the hair, and the men are slainwith the sword, and there is slaughter andburning, while they that plunder cry each manto his comrade, and the fruits of the earth arewasted upon the ground; nor is there any hopebut in death."And as they made an end, the King cameback, and at the same time a messenger bring-ing tidings of the battle, how the seven chiefshad ranged themselves each against a gate ofthe city. And the man's story was this." First Tydeus, the ,Atolian, standeth in greatfury at the gate of-Prcetus. Very wroth is hebecause the soothsayer, Amphiaratis, sufferethhim not to cross the Ismenus, for that theomens promise not victory. A triple crest hehath, and there are bells of bronze under hisshield which ring terribly. And on his shield