Publishing, classics, mood swings

Walter Headlam’s translation of Aeschylus, The Suppliants

— And what of the sense in its importance for the relationship between translation and original? A simile may help here. Just as a tangent touches a circle lightly and at but one point, with this touch rather than with the point setting the law according to which it is to continue on its straight path to infinity, a translation touches the original lightly and only at the infinitely small point of the sense, thereupon pursuing its own course according to the laws of fidelity in the freedom of linguistic flux. Without explicitly naming or substantiating it, Rudolf Pannwitz has characterized the true significance of this freedom. His observations are contained in Die Krisis der europäischen Kultur and rank with Goethe’s Notes to the Westöstlicher Divan as the best comment on the theory of translation that has been published in Germany. Pannwitz writes: “Our translations, even the best ones, proceed from a wrong premise. They want to turn Hindi, Greek, English into German instead of turning German into Hindi, Greek, English. Our translators have a far greater reverence for the usage of their own language than for the spirit of the foreign works. . . . The basic error of the translator is that he preserves the state in which his own language happens to be instead of allowing his language to be powerfully affected by the foreign tongue. Particularly when translating from a language very remote from his own he must go back to the primal elements of language itself and penetrate to the point where work, image, and tone converge. He must expand and deepen his language by means of the foreign language. It is not generally realized to what extent this is possible, to what extent any language can be transformed, how language differs from language almost the way dialect differs from dialect; however, this last is true only if one takes language seriously enough, not if one takes it lightly.”

These notes towards a poetics of translation by Walter Benjamin and Rudolf Pannwitz (translated by Harry Zohn) may possibly serve as a justification of Walter Headlam’s prose translations of Aeschylus. At least I find them curiously attractive, although I am aware that native speakers of English may take offence.*) Anyway, as a semantical commentary on the Greek text the translation more than serves its purpose. Headlam’s philological notes are also very useful, and rightly made an impression on Martin West as he was editing Aeschylus for Teubner, as evidenced by the apparatus to at least the Supplices as well as the eulogy of Headlam in West’s Studies in Aeschylus.


The copy text is the 1909 collected edition of Headlam’s prose translations of Aeschylus, from which Headlam’s Preface and Introduction are also lifted. The pagination of the copy text is accounted for within braces before each new page. In the e-text, Headlam’s notes are denoted by left parentheses and consecutively numbered; notes and references are cross-linked. In the copy text a new sequence of footnotes begins on each page.

Headlam’s own line-enumeration in the margins of the translation, following the text of Wecklein (1885), has not been retained. Within brackets in the translation I have instead added references according to the now conventional standard, found in for instance the texts of Page (OCT 1972) and West (Teubner 1990, 1998). In the notes, Headlam’s references have been retained and supplemented with modern equivalents in the case of Aeschylus, occasionally also in the case of other authors. I have corrected a few obvious misprints, but very possibly also added a few.

(Italic type is for some reason represented by bold, pink type in this WordPress Theme; I ask the reader to bear with this as I like the theme otherwise.)


Frontispiece and title page of the copy text:


{p. v}


The object of these prose translations is to enable those who know some Greek to read the Greek of Æschylus correctly. They have never dreamed of pretending to any value in artistic form. No prose, however well it might be used, could ever represent such verse aesthetically; only verse can do that; and so long as verse affords the means of doing it, to seek the same end with a less effective instru­ment I have always looked upon as a mistaken aim. Prose has a proper function of its own, a separate and different one—to show how the Greek is to be construed. It is superior for that purpose, and should be content, I think, if it can achieve it without more offence than necessary. The true spirit and effect are only in the power of verse to give; but verse itself is not in a position to convey them until first it understands the meaning of the poet’s words; and it is in that preliminary business of explaining that a prose version has its legitimate and useful province. Whether the text has been restored correctly, and the sense of it correctly rendered,—those are the two points on which a prose translation of a poem should be judged.

The numbering of lines adopted in this translation is that of Wecklein (1885), who counts them as they appear in the Medicean MS. (known as M). Wecklein’s is the best text for a scholar, but Weil’s (Teubner) is good for ordinary {p. vi} purposes. I have been careful to give the readings that differ from those of Wecklein and Weil. Many of these readings have been found since their editions, which represent the light of twenty years ago, were published; and I hope it will be thought that the last twenty years have done much both for the text and the interpreta­tion of Æschylus. Whenever they are likely to be un­familiar, the readings adopted are given in the margin; and references to the Classical Review, which scholars can easily consult, have often enabled me to dispense with arguments in favour of them: but in a book of this kind it was not convenient, and did not seem necessary, always to record the names of their discoverers. Wecklein’s Appendices give a complete record up to 1893; and in the case of anything more recent, the author’s name, when it is not my own, is mentioned.

It may be of service to students to add that the diction of The Persians is different from that of the other plays of Æschylus. The characters are Persians, the scene is laid in their chief city, and the whole play reflects the manners and ideas of the East. To suit the local colour, the language has an appropriate cast. Æschylus makes his Persians speak in an archaic-sounding Ionic style, the Greek of Asia. This effect is obtained partly by metre, e.g. the use of long trochaics; partly by forms of words and pronunciation (as νεὸς ἐὼν νεὰ φρονεῖ, κυάνεον, εὐπέτεος, νεώς); partly also by forms of phrase. A similar effect was sought long afterwards by Timotheus, as we can now observe in his recently dis­covered dithyramb, the Πέρσαι. There, describing the battle of Salamis, he puts broken Asiatic Greek into the mouth of a Persian.


King’s College, Cambridge.

_ _ _

{p. xi}



ÆSCHYLUS, son of Euphorion, was the eldest of the three great dramatists of Greece, Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides. By them the drama was developed from its early beginnings to the delicate, perhaps over-elaborated, art and semi-modern touch displayed in Euripides. He was born in B.C. 525 at Eleusis in Attica, and died at Gela in Sicily in the year B.C. 456. The recorded facts of his life are few, and even for these the authority is often doubtful. For example, the reason for his going to Sicily—which he had probably visited earlier in his life at the invitation of Hiero, Tyrant of Syracuse—is variously narrated. In the annual contests between the tragic poets, which at Athens were recognised and regulated by the State, his first success was obtained in B.C. 485. In 472 he won the prize with the trilogy of which The Persians was one, and again in 477 with The Seven against Thebes.

In the history of the Grecian drama, a striking contribution on what may be termed the mechanical side was made by Æschylus, and proved of far-reaching importance. Whereas in tragedy hitherto there had been only one actor and the chorus, he, by introducing a second actor, immensely extended the {p. xii} scope and opportunity for presenting dramatic situa­tions to an audience. Seven plays remain to us as monuments of his genius. In these there is observ­able a growth and progress in dramatic power, to which two principal causes may be noted as con­tributory. Just as in England the Reformation, on the one hand, gave a stimulus to character and intellect, whilst on the other hand the discovery of the New World kindled the imagination by tales of voyages, or of lands favoured by Nature and rich in ancient wealth; to which causes the great outburst of literature in the era of Elizabeth was largely due; so the heroic struggle of Greece against the aggressive power of Persia must have deeply influenced the imagination of the rising poet. The battle of Marathon, in which Æschylus fought, and the defeat of the Persian fleet, are reflected in the vivid descrip­tion in The Persians of the sea-fight at Salamis; and were likely to produce that drama, separated only by a few years from The Persians, The Seven against Thebes, which represents a combat to the death of heroes,(1 and is justly characterised by Aristophanes as δρᾶμα Ἄρεως μεστόν, “a play crammed with the pomp of war.” The hardships, again, of the soldier on active service are described in the Agamemnon with a direct­ness which comes from experience of the realities of a campaign.

{p. xiii} The second principal stimulus was, in the case of Æschylus, the contact of a mind naturally of a religious bent with the ideas and doctrines of the East. The Ionian cities in Asia Minor were channels for the communication of such ideas, and there was in addition, at Eleusis, the birthplace of Æschylus, a ceremonial worship of Demeter and Persephone, embodied in the famous Eleusinian Mysteries. With this cult of the Mother and Daughter, which had been one of the great recipients in Greece of new sacred rites borrowed from Egypt(2 and connected with the worship of Isis, the family of Æschylus were, according to tradition, officially associated. The acquaintance shown by Æschylus in The Persians with the distinctively Persian doctrines and philosophic view of Nature, as opposed to ideas elsewhere pre­vailing in the East, would of itself indicate a far more than superficial study of Oriental modes of thought.

From these considerations we may realise to some extent the mental equipment with which Æschylus came prepared to deal as a dramatist with the great problems which, under many diverse shapes, interest mankind. In the Prometheus Bound the conflict between the Titanic benefactor of mankind and offended Heaven is shown only at one stage. The dramatic grandeur of the scenes in which Prometheus is depicted unyielding, defiant, and heroic in his torment have always excited admiration; but the lines on which the final reconciliation was accom­plished can only be conjectured, since the remaining {p. xiv} plays of the trilogy, though their titles have come down to us, are lost. In his greatest achievement, the Oresteian trilogy, with which he gained the prize in B.C. 458, the traditional story of Agamemnon, as it presented itself to the mind of Æschylus, invited the solution of two difficulties. In the first place, it was necessary to account for the fact that Agamemnon, the heroic leader,—distinguished by birth, wealth, and success in arms,—ended his career overwhelmed by apparently undeserved misfortune. Secondly, in more general terms, as arising out of the particular cases of the fall of Troy, the death of Agamemnon, and the action of Orestes, it was necessary to justify the deal­ings of Heaven with mankind. The transition from the Old Order to the New, which was exemplified in the Prometheus trilogy by the passing of the supremacy from Kronos (sovereign of the elder gods) to Zeus; and the mysterious limitation imposed by Destiny;(3 appear again in the Eumenides.(4 In that play the conflicting claims of the Furies (Ἐρινύες), who belong to the old Elemental Powers,(5 and of Apollo are referred to the arbitrament of Pallas. Nor does Æschylus shrink from dissociating himself from traditional and current beliefs where the popular view, in his opinion, mistakes the attitude of the gods, or wrongly interprets it. “Alone am I in my {p. xv} opinion, at variance with other men,”(6 he says, in dissenting from the commonly accepted theory on the subject of prosperity.

It remains to be added that an interesting question as to the relation of Æschylus to the politics of his time is raised by the Eumenides. It was produced at a time when party feeling ran high at Athens.(7 The senate of Areopagus had about this date been radically reformed(8 by the democratic party under Ephialtes and Pericles. It had been the custom of the Areopagus to exercise a censorial power both over the Assembly and over the lives of the citizens. This discretionary supervising authority was taken away, and it remained only as a court for trying cases of homicide. The conservative, or oligarchic, party had also met with a reverse in their foreign policy. The democratic party had succeeded in breaking off the alliance of Athens with Sparta, and substituting an alliance with Argos, the enemy of Sparta. Now, in the Eumenides Æschylus represents the case of Orestes, who for killing Clytemnestra was persecuted by the Furies but protected by Apollo, as being referred to Pallas. She institutes the court of Areopagus to decide the question, and Orestes is acquitted. It has been argued, therefore, that the intention of the Eumenides was to exalt the Areopagus by assigning to it a divine origin, with the political object of defending it against the proposed radical reforms. It is more probable,(9 {p. xv} however, that what Æschylus really had in view was to recommend acceptance by all parties of the altered conditions introduced by Ephialtes. He suggests that the restriction of the Areopagus to the trial of cases of homicide is in harmony with its original constitution, and confirmed by the acquiescence(10 of the Eumenides themselves.


{p. 110}


Chorus of Danaids.






{p. 111}



(Chorus of Danaids.)


May Zeus Petitionary look with grace upon our company, that took ship and launched from the fine-sanded mouths of Nile! The land divine,(11 whose pastures march with Syria, we have left in exile—no outlawry decreed(12 by public vote for bloodshed, but in abhorrence of sinful [10] wedlock of near kindred with the folly-prating(13 sons of Aegyptus.

It was Danaus our sire, chief in our counsels and leader of our cause, that determined on this move as the honourablest choice of evils, to fly pell-mell across the ocean-billow and put in at the shore of Argos: for thence it is hath grown this race of ours that claims its origin from the sting-tormented Cow by laying on of the hands of Zeus and by the breathing of his spirit.

What friendlier land then could we come unto with these [20] {p. 112} wool-wreathed branches, the suppliant’s weapons, in our hands?

O realm, O land and water white, ye gods on high and powers of heavy vengeance filling tombs within the earth,(14 and Zeus the Saviour over all, protector of the house of godly men, let compassion be wafted from the land to accept the petition(15 of this company of womenkind; but that lewd swarm of males born of Aegyptus [30], ere they set foot upon this silted shore, drive with their swift vessel out into the deep, and there let them encounter angry sea, and by buffeting storm, thunder and lightning, and winds rain-laden perish, ere ever they make this cousinhood their own, and mount unwilling beds that holiness denies them!

Now call I [40] to our succour from over seas that Zeus-begotten Calf—offspring of the flower-browsing Cow by the spirit of Zeus (to that handling the appointed period gave due confirmation in his name,(16 and he that she brought forth was Epaphus): him call I to our aid, and now in the region [50] of our ancient Mother’s pasturage by recounting those former sufferings I shall display to the inhabitants(17 trustworthy warrant(18 for the nonce, and others, though unlooked for, shall appear: and the truth (of our story) will be seen in the course of speech.(19

{p. 113} Now should there chance to be any native augur(20 nigh, he will fancy, when my complaining meets his ear, that he hears the voice of Tereus’ wife of lamentable counsel(21 [60] — the hawk-chased nightingale, who being shut out from haunts (?) and rivers(22 utters a mournful plaint(23 for her wonted habitations, and weaves withal the story of her own child’s death, how he met with an unnatural mother’s wrath and perished by murder at her hand.

Even so do I, lamenting in Ionian strains,(24 tear tender sunburnt(25 cheek [70] and heart unused to tears, and cull the bitterest of sighs, in fear concerning friends(26 — whether there is any to champion this flight from the Hazy Land.(27

O gods of our race, regard the right and give good ear! So shall ye be righteous toward wedlock, if ye grant not unto youthful lust to find unholy consummation, [80] but look on outrage with a hearty hate. Even for such as flee hard-pressed from war there is an altar to protect the fugitive from the sword, sacred in the sight of heaven.

The (will) of Zeus O might one well and truly(28——

{p. 114} The desire of Zeus is ill to seize: everywhere, even in the darkness, the flame of it burns but in obscure sort(29 before the eyes of human folks [90]——

But safe, and not upon its back,(30 a matter falls if the fulfilment of it be ordained by the nod of Zeus.

——for dark and tangled stretch the paths of his intent, past understanding to discern.

Down from their towering imaginations he hurleth mortals to perdition, yet equips no force:—even from his holy throne, whereas he sitteth, his unlaboured Harmony(31 [100] {p. 115} by some means doth he accomplish after his design.(32

So let him look now unto outrage upon earth, to behold how the old stem grows young again,(33 in desire of union with us a-burgeon with froward thoughts, its own frenzied purpose a resistless goad [110], a delusion bringing disaster to be rued.(34

Such miserable sufferings while I wail, now shrill, now low, blended with falling tears, alas! alas! resembling(35 funeral dirges, though yet alive I celebrate my own lament.

I implore the grace of hilly Apia (the outlandish utter­ance(36 well, Ο land, thou kennest), and oft I fall on my Sidonian veil with linen-marring(37 rent [120].

{p. 116} When all proves well, then payment of due offerings follows free(38 unto the gods—where death be absent.(39 Ο trouble of undeterminable end! Whither will this wave carry me?

I implore the grace of hilly Apia (the outlandish utter­ance well, Ο land, thou kennest), [130] and oft I fall on my Sidonian veil with linen-marring rent.

The oar and our timber’s linen-woven sea-tight build(40 still sped me by the wind’s aid without storm; and I com­plain not: so likewise may the all-seeing Father bring the end at length to pass in graciousness,[140]

That the great seed of an august Mother may escape unwedded, unsubdued, ah me! the beds of men.

And may his Daughter, the pure Virgin, that owns the stately portal-walls,(41 be fain as I am fain to look upon me for my preservation(42; and, wroth at this pursuit, come with all her might, maiden to a maiden’s rescue, [150]

That the great seed of an august Mother may escape unwedded, unsubdued, ah me! the beds of men.

Else with our boughs will we, a dark sun-smitten race, approach that nether Zeus, that most hospitable Zeus of {p. 117} the departed; for if we fail to win the Olympian gods, we will perish by the halter! [160]

Ah Zeus, ’tis through ire against Io(43 that vengeance pursueth (us) from above! I ken thy Consort’s heaven-subduing spite! for ’tis from a rough gale a stormy sea arises.

And shall not Zeus be convicted(44 then by just arguments of neglecting the Cow’s [170] offspring that himself begat(45 of old, if now he hold his face averted at our prayers? Nay, but let him give good ear from on high when now we call upon him!

Ah Zeus, ’tis through ire against Io that vengeance pursueth from above! I ken thy Consort’s heaven-subduing spite! for ’tis from a rough gale a stormy sea arises.

Danaus. Children, ye must be prudent. Prudent sea-captain was your old trusty father here ye came with; and so now for our land-faring have I taken thought, and charge you register my words, inscribing them on the tables of your mind. I descry dust, which is the voiceless harbinger of a host(46: [180]—the sockets of their axles are not silent:—and I discern a throng equipped with spear and shield, with horses and curved chariots. It may be they are the rulers of the land, informed by messengers, and coming to spy upon us: but be it with peaceable intent or whetted with savage anger that (the host) is pushing onward this advance, it were wiser, my daughters, on all accounts, to go {p. 118} and seat yourselves at yonder high place of the gods of meeting—better than a castle is an altar; an invulnerable shield. [190] Go then with all speed, and in solemn form, holding in your left hands the white-wreathed petitionary boughs wherewith Zeus Merciful is worshipped, reply to the strangers (as beseemeth immigrants) in humble plaintive language of sore need, telling them plainly the story of this unbloody flight. And let your utterance be attended before all by absence of boldness, and let that which is not wanton proceed from a quiet eye out of faces with a modest front.(47 And be neither forward nor lagging in your speech [200]—the race here is exceeding jealous.(48 And mind thee to be sub­missive—thou art a needy foreign fugitive—for it beseemeth not the weaker to be blusterous.

Chor. Father, thou speakest prudently to prudent ears; and I will observe these good charges of thine to be mind­ful(49: —may Zeus our ancestor regard!

Dan.(50 Yea, may he regard with favourable eye! [210]

Chor. I would fain be seated nigh thee even now.

Dan. Tarry not, then, but secure means (i.e. of carrying out your purpose).

Chor. Ο Zeus, have pity upon our labours ere we be undone!

{p. 119} Dan. If he be willing, it will end well. Call now also upon yonder son(51 of Zeus.

Chor. We call, upon the saving rays of the Sun.

Dan. And pure Apollo, the god that was banished out of heaven.

Chor. Acquainted with this portion, he may feel com­passion for those on earth.

Dan. So may he feel, and graciously stand by us!

Chor. Which further of these divinities am I to call upon?

Dan. I see a trident yonder, symbol of a god.

Chor. Well, he hath given us good speed hither, and may he likewise give us good welcome in the land.

Dan. Here now is Hermes,(52 after the fashion of the Greeks. [220]

Chor. Then let him make proclamation of good tidings to free ears!

Dan. And make obeisance to the common altar of all these lords, and seat yourselves in sanctuary like a flock of doves in fear of hawks like-plumaged—the kinsmen your enemies who would pollute the race. Shall bird prey on bird and be pure? And how should one be pure that takes from an unwilling father(53 an unwilling bride? If he do so, he shall not escape arraignment for outrage(54 even in the house of Hades after death. There too (’tis said(55 [230]) another {p. 120} Zeus holds among the departed a last judgment upon sins. Consider and answer in such terms, to the end that your cause may be triumphant.

(Enter the King, attended by a retinue.)

King. To what land may we ascribe(56 this company, attired unGreek-wise and flaunting in outlandish vestures and fine woofs? For the women’s raiment is not Argive, nor from Greece at all.(57 And how ye ventured so undauntedly to come into the country, unannounced by herald, un-championed by patron, and without guides—it is a marvel. [240] Branches, however, in petitioners’ wise have been laid by you(58 before the gods of meeting: this alone will the land of Greece agree in guessing(59:—so likewise there are many things might fairly have been conjectured, were there not speech to inform my presence.(60

Chor. Touching our attire thy language is unerring: but how am I in my turn to address thee? As a commoner, or as a warden with the rod of Hermes,(61 or as chief ruler of the city?

King. For that, you may answer me with confidence(62—for {p. 121} I am the son of Palaecthon the earth-born, [250] Pelasgus, chieftain of this country: and the people that enjoys the fruit of it is named Pelasgian accordingly after me their king. Over all the region through which passes the pure Strymon(63 do I hold sway upon the western side; and I reckon as my borders the land of the Perrhaebi and the parts beyond Pindus, near the Paeones, and the mountain of Dodona; and another boundary that cuts short my realm is the liquid boundary of the sea: over all on the hither side of these limits do I rule.

This plain of the Apian land itself [260] has long borne its name in honour of a mediciner of old: from Naupactus on the further shore came Apis, leech and seer, son of Apollo, and purged this land of deadly monsters—a fell colony of swarming serpents—wrathful plagues(64 which Earth had sent up on pollution by ancient deeds of blood. For these did Apis by surgery and spell work cures to satisfaction, and by way of meed won from the land of Argos mention in her prayers. [270]

Now that you have(65 my warranties,(66 declare your race and speak further(67—only a long oration this people doth not like.

Chor. Our tale is brief and clear. We claim to be of Argive race, the seed of a Cow blest in offspring; and the truth of this my argument shall fully clinch.

King. Stranger women, your story passeth my belief—how this race of yours can be of Argos. For you are liker to women of Libya, and in no wise to the natives of this land: [280] {p. 122}—the Nile too might nurture such a breed: and similar is the Cyprian impress that hath been stamped by male arti­ficers upon female forms. And of such aspect(68 I have heard there are Nomad women, pillion-riding upon camels going horse-fashion, inhabiting a country neighbouring the Ethiopians. And had ye been armed with the bow, I had surely taken you for the unmated flesh-fed Amazons.—But instruction will inform me better how your stock and seed is Argive. [290]

Chor.(69 Say they that in this land of Argos Io upon a time was ward of Hera’s temple?

King. She was most certainly; the tradition prevails widely.

Chor. There is a story also, is there not? that Zeus had mortal intercourse?

King. Aye, and this entanglement(70 was not hid from Hera.

Chor. What then was the issue of this royal feud?

King. The goddess of Argos turned the woman into a cow.

Chor. And when a horned cow, did not Zeus approach her still?(71 [300]

{p. 123}King. So they say, in the likeness of a stallion bull.

Chor. How then did his stubborn consort reply to that?

King. She set the all-seeing one to keep watch over the cow.

Chor. Who was this all-seeing herdsman with a single charge?

King. Argus, a son of Earth, who was slain by Hermes.

Chor. And what else did she devise against the hapless cow?

King. A cattle-driving sting(72 to madden her.

Chor. Those by the Nile call it an oestrus.

King. Very well:—she was driven in a long course out of the land.

Chor. This account too agrees with mine entirely. [310]

King. Further, she came to Canopus and to Memphis.

Chor. Aye, and there did Zeus engender issue by laying on of hands.(73

King. And who is it claims to be the Zeus-begotten calf?

Chor. Epaphus, so named after laying on of hands.

<King. And who was born of Epaphus?>(74

Chor. Libya, reaping the fruit of the largest <portion>(75 of the earth.

King. And what other offspring of hers have you to tell of?

{p. 124} Chor. Belos, with two sons; the father of my father here.

King. Tell me now what is his most sapient name.(76 [320]

Chor. Danaus; and there is a brother of him with fifty sons.

King. Disclose to me his name also without grudging.

Chor. Aegyptus. And now, knowing our descent of old, act I pray thee so as to restore(77 a band which is from Argos.

King. You appear, certainly,(78 to belong originally to this land: but how did you bring yourselves to leave your father’s home? What blow of fortune fell upon you?

Chor. King of the Pelasgians, human misfortunes are of varying sort; nowhere will you find a matching plume(79 of sorrow. For who ever dreamed that kindred, native once, would bring such an unlooked-for flight(80 [330] (taking wing through abhorrence of wedded union) to an end at the shore of Argos?

King. Tell me what is the petition you make by these gods of meeting, with white-wreathed bows fresh-plucked in your hands?

Chor. That I may not become a handmaid to the sons of Aegyptus.

King. By reason of hatred, mean you? or unlawfulness?

Chor. Nay who would object(81 to masters that they loved?

{p. 125} King. Power is thereby(82 multiplied in the world . . . . .

Chor. Aye, and if things go ill, divorce is easy.

King. How then am I to show duty towards you? [340]

Chor. By refusing to surrender us again at the demand of Aegyptus’ sons.

King. That is a hard(83 saying—to undertake the peril of a war.

Chor. Nay but Justice champions those that side with her.

King. Aye, supposing I had borne a part in the matter from the first.(84

Chor. Show thou reverence to the helm of the city thus engarlanded.

King. I shudder as I regard these holy places over-shaded.

Chor. Nevertheless,(85 grievous is the wrath of Zeus Peti­tionary. Son of Palaecthon, hearken unto me with gracious heart! Behold me, thy petitioner, a fugitive running hither and thither [350] like a wolf-chased heifer on precipitous rocks, where having found security she lows, telling the herdsman of her trouble.

King. I see the company of the gods of meeting yonder nodding(86 beneath the shade of fresh-plucked bows.—May this affair of claimants upon the city’s friendship end only without mischief! And let no quarrel arise for the state {p. 126} from causes unforeseen and unforestalled; for the state hath no need of any such.

Chor. Yea may the suppliant-law of Zeus Apportioner [360] regard our flight that it bring not any mischief! Let thine old experience learn from one of younger birth: if thou regard a suppliant, thou (shalt) not (see) penury(87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .from a holy man.

King. ’Tis not my house at the hearth whereof ye sit: if the city be incurring pollution in its commonalty, to work out the cure must be the people’s common business. For myself, I will pledge no promise before I have conferred with all the citizens about the case.

Chor. Thou art the city, thou art the people! [370] The altar, that is the country’s hearth, with sovereignty unchallenged thou rulest by a monarch’s nod, and determinest every matter upon a throne of undivided sway. Beware pollution!

King. Pollution be upon my foes! But you I am unable to assist without harm.—Yet it likes me not(88 either to dis­regard these supplications:—I am perplexed and my heart afraid, whether to act or not to act, and secure success.(89 [380]

Chor. Have regard to the Watcher upon high, the {p. 127} protector of those afflicted upon earth, who crouching at their neighbours’ feet obtain not lawful justice. The wrath of Zeus Petitionary abides in store for such as are unsoftened by the plaints of a sufferer.

King. If the sons of Aegyptus are your masters by the law of the land, as claiming to be next of kin, who would care to contest their right? You must plead according to the laws of your own country [390] that they have no authority over you.(90

Chor. Never, never(91 may I become subject to the mastery of these men! Flight under the stars(92 I determine upon for avoidance of an odious union! Take thou Justice upon thy side and judge that is righteous before heaven.

King. No easy matter this for judgment: ask me not to judge. I said before, though I be ruler, I will not do this without the public will, for fear lest(93 afterward (should some untoward(94 thing befall) [400] the people should say ‘Through re­garding immigrants thou hast ruined the country.’

Chor. Both sides herein doth Zeus of Blood-kindred with his wavering balance overlook, awarding, as is meet, wrong to the wicked(95 and righteousness to the godly: since the balance is thus equitably poised, what are you to rue here­after for having done(96 justice?

{p. 128}King. We need deep preserving thought, for an eye of clear vision, not overmuch confused with wine, to descend like a diver into the depth, for means whereby this matter may bring no mischief in the first place on the state, [410] and may turn out well for ourselves also; whereby neither struggle may seize prizes, nor yet by surrendering you from your seats of sanctuary we may bring upon us the heavy haunting vengeance of that destroying Power who releases not his victim even in the house of death.(97 Think you not we need preserving thought?

Chor. Take thou thought, and show thyself a righteous patron altogether! Betray not the fugitive [420] that hath been cast out and hurried from afar ungodly! See me not ravished from this sanctuary of many gods, Ο thou that hast full sovereignty of the land, but perceive the lewdness of the men, and beware the wrath of heaven!

Suffer not thine eyes to behold the suppliant dragged in despite of justice from the images [430] like a horse by the front­let, and rude clutchings of my fine-woven robes! For be assured of this, that whichever end thou bring to pass, it remaineth unto thy children and thy house to make payment of like equity. Consider this just ordinance of God.

King. I have considered; and this is what the matter comes to—war with these or those I cannot choose but undertake; ’tis wedged firm as a ship [440] hauled to by the windlass, and there is no concluding without hurt. Now, when goods are plundered from a house, thanks to Zeus of Property other goods may come(98; and a tongue that hath {p. 129} shot an arrow out of place—one saying may be the healer of another.(99 But to avoid shedding(100 of kindred blood, must sacrifice indeed be made, and many victims fall [450] in deliver­ance to many gods. Of a truth I am fatally involved in(101 this quarrel, though(102 in sorrows I would rather be unskilled than practised:—but may all go well and prove my judg­ment false(103!

Chor. Hear now the conclusion of all our humble sup­plications.

King. I hear; say on; it shall not escape me.

Chor. I have breast-bands and girdles to gather up my robes.

King. Such things are suitable to the condition(104 of women.

Chor. Very well:—by means of these understand we have a rare expedient,—

King. Tell me what saying is this you mean to utter? [460]

Chor. Unless thou consent to afford our company some pledge,—

King. To what effect proceeds the expedient of your sashes?

Chor. To adorn these images with tablets of a strange sort.(105

{p. 130}King. Thy words are riddling; come, explain in simple terms.

Chor. To hang ourselves forthwith from these gods.

King. Your threat cuts my heart like a whip.

Chor. Thou takest it, for I gave it clearer vision.(106

King. Aye, but far from simple(107 is the difficulty of the case—there comes upon me like a river a multitude of troubles. It is a fathomless and impassable ocean of ruin [470] I have launched upon, and nowhere is there a haven from distress. If I refuse to perform this service for you, there is your warning of pollution untranscendable(108: while if I take my stand before the walls and try the issue of battle with the sons of Aegyptus, your kinsmen, the expense comes surely to a sore amount—men’s blood to stain the ground for the sake of women.

Still, I must needs hold in awe the wrath of Zeus Petition­ary, for that is the supremest fear on earth.—Do thou, aged father of these maids, [480] take straightway in thine arms these boughs, and lay them upon other altars of the country’s deities, that all the people may see the token of this peti­tioning, and talk be not uttered sharply against me(109—for {p. 131} the people is apt to complain against authority. It may be that some will feel compassion at the sight, and resent the lewdness of the troop of males, and the people be moved to greater friendliness toward you: for all men show sympathy with the weaker.

Dan. We hold it of much value [490] to have found a champion both compassionate and prosperous.(110 But send thou with us also a retinue and guides of the country, that we may find altars at the temple fronts and (worshipped) seats belong­ing to the city-gods, and that safety may attend our progress through the town: the nature of our aspect is dissimilar —Nile breeds a race unlike the Inachus. Beware lest rash­ness create dislike(111—friends ere now(112 have been slain in misapprehension.

King. March on, my men, for the stranger says well: [500] lead on to altars in the town and sanctuaries. And you must not have long speech with such as meet you by the way(113 while you are conducting our sea-farer to the dwellings of the gods.

(Danaus departs with an escort.)

Chor. To him thou hast spoken, and let him go with his instructions: but I, what shall I do? Where(114 dost thou assign me security?

{p. 132}King. Your boughs leave there, in token of your distress.

Chor. There, I leave them so at (the direction of) thy hand(115 and word.

King. Betake your feet now unto this smooth green.

Chor. Why, how should an open green protect me?

King. We will never give you up to winged creatures’ ravishment. [510]

Chor. But what if to foes worse than fell serpents!

King. Fair words, prithee, since you have been spoken fair!

Chor. It is no wonder in my state of fear I should be fretful.

King. No, exceeding terror is ever uncontrolled.(116

Chor. Do thou comfort me both by act and word!

King. Come now, your father will not leave you alone long. I go(117 now to convene the people of the country that I may make their general body friendly; and I will instruct your father what language he should use. Remain thou therefore, and entreat the gods of this country [520] with prayer for what your heart desires. I will go to set this matter forward: and may I be attended by persuasion and effectual

(The King departs.)


{p. 133} Chor. Ο King of Kings, most blessed of the blessed, power most perfect among the perfect, Zeus all-happy, give ear and with hearty loathing defend thy seed from the lust of men, and their black-benched engine of destruction [530] plunge into the glooming lake(118! But on the women’s side,(119 consider thou the long tradition of our line, and recall the sweet story of our ancestress, the woman of thy love. Show thy­self mindful, Ο thou fondler of Io! We declare ourselves to be the seed of Zeus, by descent from a native of this land.(120

Unto our mother’s ancient foot-prints have I removed, the region of the watch upon her while she browsed the flowers,(121 that pasturing meadow whence, [540] tormented(122 by the sting, distraught fled Io, travelling through many a tribe of men, and duly cleaving the surging strait asunder, made the further shore(123 her bourn.

And now she darts across the land of Asia,—right through sheep-grazing Phrygia, and passes the city of Teuthras among the Mysians, and the Lydian dells, [550] speeding right across the {p. 134} mountains of the Cilicians and Pamphylians, and over ever-flowing streams(124 and affluent soil, and the rich cornland of Aphrodite.(125

So she arrives at last, still suffering injury(126 from the winged herdsman’s weapon, at the pasturing demesne of Zeus, that snow-fed(127 meadow which the fury of Typho [560] comes upon, and at the water of Nile diseases may not touch, maddening with her sore indignities, and frenzied by the pain of Hera’s torturing goad.

The mortals that were then dwellers in the land quaked with sickly fear at the unwonted sight, [when they beheld(128] a creature monstrous of half-human shape—part cow, part woman(129—and they were amazed at the prodigy. [570]

And then at last who was it soothed poor wandering sting-tormented Io?

Zeus, lord through endless ages(130 . . . . . . . . and by force of painless power(131 and by the breathing of his holy {p. 135} spirit was she stayed, and sheds the sorrowing shame of tears.(132 And having conceived a burden in very truth of Zeus, [580] she bare a perfect son

Throughout long ages blessed. Whence every land doth cry aloud ‘Of a surety this is the seed of gendering(133 Zeus; for who else could have stayed the distempers caused by Hera’s plots? This is the act of Zeus; and you shall be right to call this race derived from Epaphus.’(134

What god in heaven could I [590] with reason call upon for acts more warrantable?(135

Father himself and creator, the lord is he that by his own hand planted us, with might and ancient wisdom fashioner of our race, prosperer of all devices, even Zeus.

Is there none beneath whose authority he sits with lesser powers than a superior?

None is there sitting in a higher place, whose powers he holds in awe; but act is ready to his hand as word, to set afoot forthwith aught that his counselling(136 mind may lay before him.

{p. 136}Dan. Comfort ye, my children! All is well on the part of the citizens; [600] final decrees of the people have been passed.

Chor. Ο bless thee, our ambassador, for thy sweet message! Tell us the purport of their decision—the course to which the majority of their suffrages inclines.

Dan. It was resolved by the Argives without dissent in such wise as made my old heart feel young again; for the air bristled with right hands uplifted as they passed this law in full assembly: that we be allowed to settle in this country, free, not liable to seizure, and with security from plunder of our goods: [610] that neither native nor foreigner should carry us off; and should he proceed to apply force, any of the landholders that withheld his aid should suffer loss of rights together with public banishment. Such was the moving speech the King of the Pelasgians made in our behalf, with warning that the city never let the wrath of Zeus Petitionary wax fat in time hereafter; telling them that double defilement arising before the city—from strangers and citizens at once—was a food of suffering past help. [620] Hearing these words, the Argive nation, without waiting for crier, decreed by uplifted hands that so it be. It was the Pelasgian people that heard the eloquent periods of the speech, and Zeus that brought about the issue.

Chor. Come then, let us utter for the Argives blessings in requital of their blessings. And may Zeus of Strangers {p. 137} watch to their fulfilment the rewards that issue from a stranger’s tongue, that they reach their perfect goal.(137

Now is the moment, [630] Ο ye gods divine, to give ear unto my utterance of orisons for the race,

That wanton Ares never with untuned cry may set this Pelasgian land on fire,(138—Ares that reaps a human harvest in strange fields:

Because they had compassion upon us, and passed a kindly vote, [640] and have reverence for the petitioners of Zeus, this sorry flock of us,

And refrained from scorning the women’s cause and giving their vote upon the side of the males,

Having regard to that avenging wrath of Zeus,(139 so ill to battle with, that no house would have upon the roof defiling it, for heavy doth it settle there: [650]

For they revere their kin petitioners of holy Zeus; therefore with altars pure shall they win the favour of the gods.

Therefore from our overshaded lips fly forth our zealous prayer:

Never may pestilence empty this city of her men, [660] nor quarrel stain her soil with blood of native bodies:

But unculled be the flower of her youth, nor havoc-dealing Ares, the paramour of Aphrodite, crop their bloom.

And let the altar-steps that receive the elders(140 be thronged with reverend . . . .(141

{p. 138} Thus may the state be ordered well, [670] if they duly worship mighty Zeus, and Zeus of Strangers above all, who up-holdeth right by ancient law.

And tribute of the earth be brought forth ever new, we pray; and Artemis the Archeress watch over the child-bed of their women.

Nor any murderous havoc come upon this land to ravage it, [680]

By arming Ares, the parent of tears, that fits not harp or hymn, and the shout of war within their borders.

And the loathed swarm of diseases settle far from the burghers’ head, and to all their young folk Lyceus(142 be propitious.

And Zeus grant the land to yield her due of fruit with produce in all seasons, [690]

And may their grazing cattle prove prolific, and by grace of heaven may they flourish(143 altogether.

May bards offer hymns of praise upon their altars,(144 and forth from pure lips be uttered harp-attended song.

May the rights of the citizens be guarded well(145 by the popular power that controls the state, a prudent govern­ment with careful conference of counsel; [700] and to strangers, before appeal to arms, may they grant easy arbitration with­out suffering.

And the Gods who keep the land may they worship ever with the country’s worship of laurel borne and oxen offered which their fathers used—for the honour of parents, that is {p. 139} written third among the commandments of Heaven’s highest-honoured Law.(146

Dan. Dear children, I commend these well-judged prayers; [710] but you must not be alarmed to hear the un­expected news your father has to tell:—from this high sanctuary, my conning-place, I see the vessel; it is distinct. Plain to me is the trimming of the sail and fending along the bulwarks, and the prow eyeing her way forward, obeying the rudder, that guides her at the ship’s extremity, too well for those she is not friendly to(147! And clear to view are seamen with swarthy limbs showing from white raiment. [720] And the rest of the craft and all their armament are fully visible; and the leader has furled her sail and is approaching shore rowed by all hands. Now you must face the matter with calm and orderly behaviour and not be unmindful of these divinities. I will come back presently with helpers and champions of our cause, for perchance a herald or mission may arrive, intending to lay hands on plunder and carry off—but there will be nought of this, have ye no fear of it. Still, it were better for you, should we be slow in succour, [730] never for a moment to forget your means of safety here. Fear not, in good time and at the day appointed the contemner of heaven shall be punished.

Chor. Father, I am afraid, with so swift wings the ships are coming, and there is no space of time before us.(148

I am possessed of a truth by quaking dread whether there is any use at all in our long flight. I am undone, father, with terror.

{p. 140} Dan. Since the Argives’ vote is absolute, my children, fear not, they will fight for thee, I am very sure. [740]

Chor. Abandoned are the ravening sons of Aegyptus and athirst for battle, and you know it too. In ships with ribs of timber and dark eyes they have sailed hither in effectual rage, with a great and swarthy multitude!

Dan. Aye but they will find a many here with arms well fined(149 under the heat of noonday.

Chor. But leave me not alone, I beseech thee, father! A woman left by herself is nought, there is no fighting in her.

Cruel of heart(150 and crafty of counsel, [750] with wicked hearts, like ravens, recking nought of altars—

Dan. That would suit us(151 rarely, children, if they should incur the hate of heaven as well as thine!

Chor. They will never be so fearful, father, of these tridents and things sacred in the sight of heaven to refrain their hands from us.

Quite overweening, ravening rash as hounds with wicked rage, with no understanding of the gods—

Dan. Yet is there a saying that wolves are better than hounds: [760] the byblus-fruit outdoeth not the wheat-ear.

Chor. They have(152 the passions of foul and violent monsters; therefore must we guard against them speedily.(153

{p. 141} Dan. By no means is the despatch of a sea-force speedy, nor is anchorage, or the carrying ashore of the securing cables: even when at anchor,(154 the shepherds of ships do not feel confidence forthwith, especially when they have come to a harbourless coast toward nightfall: when the sun is departing, night is wont to engender travail in the skilful pilot’s mind. [770] Thus a force cannot well be disembarked either, before the ship have gotten confidence in moorings. Do thou be minded,(155 as in terror, not to desert these gods; <I will presently return(156> when I have secured assistance: the city shall find no fault with a messenger old in years but young in eloquent wit. [Exit.

Chor. Ο hilly land, most righteous object of our venera­tion,(157 what is our fate to be? What quarter of the Apian land shall we take flight unto, if there is anywhere for us a dark hiding-place? Ο could I turn into black smoke, neighbouring the clouds of Zeus, [780] and flying upwards without wings, vanish out of sight like dust and perish utterly!

Fate can no longer be avoided(158; my heart is darkened and quivering within me; my father’s view hath overcome(159 me; I am undone with fear. Fain would I meet my doom in a halter-noose before a loathed man come near my body; [790] sooner may I die and Hades be my master!

Ο for a seat somewhere in the heaven above, against which watery clouds turn into snow, or some sheer, goat-free, uncommunionable,(160 solitary beetling crag, some {p. 142} vulture-haunted peak, assuring me a plunge into the depth, before I meet perforce with a wedlock that rends my heart.

Thereafter I refuse not to become a prey to dogs and a feast unto the fowls of the land; [800] for death delivereth from sorrow and sighing. Come death, befall me death before the marriage-bed! What way of escape can I yet find(161 to deliver me from wedlock?

Cry aloud with heaven-reaching voice strains of supplica­tion to the gods: and do thou, Ο Father, see them prove effectual [810] and releasing from our troubles,(162 justly regarding violence with unfriendly eyes,(163 and show respect unto thy petitioners, Ο Zeus, almighty ruler of the earth.

For the race of Aegyptus, male, in outrage loathsome, are pursuing me in flight with clamorous lewdness,(164 [820] and seek to get hold of me by force: but the beam of thy balance is universal; without thee nought on earth is brought to pass.

(Enter a Herald of the Egyptians.)

Chor.(165 Oh! oh! Here is the sea-pirate on the land! Ere that, thou pirate, mayst thou perish! . . . [830] . . . Alack, alack! Fly, fly for protection! Rough insolence doth he display past bearing on sea and land alike. Ο lord of the land, take post before us(166!

{p. 143} Herald. Pack ye, pack to the boat at your feet’s best pace!—Very well, then, plucking of hair and pricking with goad, cutting off of the head with blood! [840] Pack ye, pack with a plague upon you to the vessel!

Chor. Ο on your briny course over the great flood that you had perished with your imperious arrogance and your rivetted barque!

Herald. With a bloody head to the vessel will I—what meanest, with thy pounding and shrieking and shout? I tell you, give o’er your clamours, for why? they are but a vain deceit.(167 [850] Away! Leave the sanctuary and be off to the boat! I care nothing for one without honour or city.(168

Chor. Never again may I behold the oxen-fattening water, whence grows and thrives for mankind the blood of life!

I am a native, of old nobility, of a deep, deep-soiled land,(169 old man. [860]

Herald. Aye but on shipboard, on shipboard shall you presently go, willy-nilly, by force, by force . . . with desperate hands.(170

Chor. Alack, alack! So may you perish desperately, {p. 144} driven out of your course over the ocean-mead(171 by east(172 winds [870] off the sandy foreland of Sarpedon!

Herald. You may wail and howl and call on heaven—for you will not overleap the Egyptian boat—more sorely than Achaeans that bear the name of ache(173!

Chor. . . .(174 thou art overblown . . . may the mighty Nile that . . . overwhelm thine insolence!

Herald. Go, I tell you, to the reversing boat with full speed; let there be no loitering, for haling hath no rever­ence at all for locks of hair.

Chor. O, father! . . .(175 he is carrying me a-march like a spider off to sea, a black, black nightmare!

Ο Mother Earth, [890] drive him away fearful by thine aid(176! Ο son of Earth, King Zeus!

Herald. I am not fearful at all of the gods here, for they did not nurture me, nor should I have reached old age(177 upon their nurture!

Chor. Ravening near me comes this human serpent; like a viper, or what venomous monster shall I call him?—carrying me off by force!(178

{p. 145} Ο Mother Earth, drive him away fearful by thine aid! [900] Ο son of Earth, King Zeus!

Herald. Unless ye go resignedly to the ship, rending shall have no mercy on your garment’s work.

Chor. Ho, chiefs and leaders of the city, I am suffering violence!

Herald. Lords in plenty shall you presently see in the so is of Aegyptus; never fear, you will not speak of lack of government.(179

Chor. We are undone! Ο King, we are being dealt with sinfully(180!

Herald. I shall have to hale you off by(181 the hair, it seems, since ye are not quick of hearing when I speak. [910]

(Enter King.)

King. Sirrah, what doest thou? With what imagination set you thus at nought this city of Pelasgian men? Or think you, peradventure, it is a land of women you have come to? Your bearing is over haughty for an outlander toward Greeks; and you have made many misses and no right.

Herald. And what herein has wrongfully been done amiss?

King. First, you know not how to demean yourself as a foreigner.

Herald. I know not? How, when I find what I had lost?

King. After notice given to what patrons in the country?

Herald. To the greatest of patrons—Hermes the Searcher. [920]

King. To gods; yet show you no reverence to those same.

Herald. It is the deities about the Nile whom I revere.

{p. 146} King. And those here are nothing, as I understand thee?

Herald. I shall carry these girls off, unless any choose to take them from me.

King. Thou shalt smart for it if thou lay finger on them, and that very soon.

Herald. I hear; it is not a hospitable answer.

King. I show not hospitality to robbers of the gods.

Herald. I will go and tell this to the sons of Aegyptus.

King. That is no concern to my mind.

Herald. But that I may speak by knowledge in plainer terms [930]—for it is a herald’s duty to give a clear account in all particulars—what am I to say? Who may I report has taken from me the women-folks, their cousins(182? ’Tis not by the mouths of witnesses that Ares judgeth in such case; not in the receipt of silver doth he settle the dispute, but first there comes to pass full many a fall of man and shuffling-off of life.

King. Why should I tell thee my name? Thou shalt learn it in good season, both thou and thy companions. These maidens now, if they choose of their good will, [940] you may take away—should they be prevailed upon by lawful argument. To such effect is the people’s vote resolved unanimously by the state, never to surrender this band of women under force: through that the rivet has been driven clean, to keep it fast unalterably. It is not inscribed on tablets, this, or sealed up within the leaves of books, but you hear it plainly from outspoken lips. Get thee now straightway from my sight!

Herald. We are like, it seems, to involve ourselves in war. [950] Be victory and triumph with the males!

King. Oh, males you will find in the people of this country; no drinkers of barley-mead.

You now, take courage all of you and proceed with your {p. 147} own handmaidens to the strong city locked with bastions of profound device. And houses are there, public in abun­dance, and I am housed myself on no illiberal scale: where you may share ready abodes with company, or if it be more to your pleasure, [960] you are free to dwell in single-fashioned(183 houses. Choose herein—you are free—what is best and most to your liking: I am your protector, and the citizens all, whose will this is we are fulfilling. What higher authority need you wait for?

Chor. Ο filled be thou with blessings, noble king of the Pelasgians, for thy blessings done to us! But prithee send hither our brave father Danaus, our adviser and leader of our counsels; for precedence belongs to his consideration where we should [970] make our abode and what region is agreeable. Every tongue is ready to cast reproach on foreigners; but may the best befall! With good report and unresentful language from the people(184 take up your stations(185 handmaids, according as Danaus allotted her portion of retinue in each daughter’s case.

(The handmaids take their places by their mistresses. Enter Danaus with a body-guard.)

Dan. My children, we should offer to the Argives prayer [980] and sacrifice and libation as to Olympian gods, for they are saviours absolutely! The behaviour of cousins towards their own relations they heard from me with indignation against them,(186 and to me assigned this retinue of spearmen, {p. 148} that I might have rank and honour, and might not suddenly fall unawares by the death of the spear, and so an ever-living burden come upon the land. Recipients of such boons should hold gratitude in reverence at the helm of the mind [990] . . . This precept also add to your father’s many others recorded in your memory, that unknown company may be proved by time. In an alien’s case every one bears an evil tongue in readiness, and to utter an expression of disgust comes easy. My charge to you is to bring no shame upon me, with your bloom so attractive to men’s eyes. Ripe tender fruit is not easy to protect; mankind, of course, ruin (it) as much as beasts [and brutes that fly and that walk upon the earth:] [1000] . . . Cypris . . . proclaims open to desire(187: and so every man in passing darts under the influence of desire a seductive arrow of the eye at the dainty loveliness of virgins. See therefore that we suffer not that for cause whereof all that labour (was endured) and all that ocean furrowed by our barque, and that we work not shame to ourselves and pleasure to our enemies. Habitation is before us of twain sort, the one offered by Pelasgus and the other by the city, [1010] to inhabit without rent: these are easy terms. Only observe these your father’s charges, valuing chastity more than life itself.

Chor. In all else may the gods of Olympus grant us fortune! but for my bloom, father, thou needst have no fear; for unless some harm has been designed by heaven, my mind shall not swerve from her former path.

Come away now to glorify the blessed city-lords,(188 both {p. 149} the keepers of the town and them that dwell about the [1020] ancient stream of Erasinus.

And ye handmaids, take up the strain, and let this the Pelasgians’ country be the subject of our praise, and no more let the homage of our hymns be paid to the out­pourings of the Nile:

But to the rivers that through this country pour their gentle draught and give it increase, with their rich flood solacing her soil.

And may pure Artemis look [1030] with compassion on this band, and marriage never come through constraint of Cytherea: that prize be the portion of my enemies!

Yet is not Cypris disregarded by this friendly hymn; she shares with Hera power nearest removed from Zeus; and in august rites is the subtle-witted goddess honoured:

And leagued in their Mother’s company are Desire and she to whom nothing is denied, winning Persuasion; [1040] also upon Harmonia hath been bestowed a share in Aphrodite,(189 and (upon) the whispering dalliance of the Loves.

But for the fugitives I have boding fears of vengeance yet(190 and sore distress and bloody war:—what means it that they have effected a successful voyage in swiftly-sped pursuit?

What is fated, that will come to pass. The mighty untranscended will of Zeus may not be overstepped: may this marriage prove as in many other [1050] women’s case(191 before us!

May mighty Zeus defend me from wedlock with Aegyptus’ race!

That would be best; but thou wouldst move the im­moveable.

{p. 150} And thou knowest not what shall be!

Why how should I discern the mind of Zeus, a sight unfathomable? Prithee let the words of thy prayer be moderate!

What limit(192 is this I am to learn? [1060]

To observe the Nought too much(193 in things of heaven.

May Zeus the Lord spare me from cruel wedlock with a hated man, even as with healing hand he delivered Io again from her affliction, after making her possessed(194 by kindly force:

And award the victory to the women! I am content with that which is better than bad,(195 with two parts out of three(196; [1070] content that by means of deliverance from heaven (con­flicting) rights, in accordance with my prayers, should go the way of righteousness.(197


1) The Seven against Thebes is more a pageant of war than a play, and it seems probable that it was written before The Persians. The contrast of character given in the latter play by the introduction of Dareios, and the fine imaginative stroke by which the play is made to open from the Persian point of view, are already indications of the dramatic power which culminated in the great trilogy of the Agamemnon.

2) See Grote, History of Greece, chap. i. p. 41; Dictionary of Anti­quities, s.v. Eleusinia.

3) Prometheus Bound 531 [515]:
 XO. τίς oὖν Ἀνάγκης ἐστὶν οἰακοστρόφος.
ΠΡ. Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ’ Ἐρινύες.
ΧΟ. τούτων ἄρα Ζεύς ἐστιν ἀσθενέστερος;
ΠΡ. οὔκουν ἂν ἐκφύγοι γε τὴν πεπρωμένην.

4) Eum. 162 [162] τοιαῦτα δρῶσιν οἱ νεώτεροι θεοί.

5) Eum. 173 [172] παλαιγενεῖς Μοίρας.

6) Agamemnon 756 [757].

7) Eum. 863 [862] sqq. (Ἄρη ἐμφύλιον).

8) Aristotle, Politics, ii. 9.

9) See Grote, History of Greece, chap. xlvi. p. 453 (note); Jevons, History of Greek Literature, p. 196.

10) Eum. 917 [916] δέξομαι Παλλάδος ξυνοικίαν, κ.τ.λ.

11) Or ‘of Zeus.’

12) δημηλασίαν (Turnebus [Auratus]) . . . γνωσθεῖσαν (M. Schmidt)

13) ἀλλ’ αὐτογενῆ τῶν φλυζαγορᾶν γάμον Αἰγύπτου παίδων άσεβῆ τ’ ὀνοταζόμεναι is my correction of the MS. ἀλλ’ αὐτογένητον φυλαξάνοραν with υλαξ written in erasure and an accent erased above the final α. It is called γάμον Αἰγυπτογενῆ 1064 [1053], συγγενῆ γάμον P.V. 881 [855].

14) The Heroes.

15) αἰδεῖσθαι ἱκέτην is the regular phrase.

16) ἶνιν ἀνθονομούσας προγόνου βοὸς ἐξ ἐπιπνοίας Ζηνός· ἔφαψιν ἐπω­νυμίᾳ δ’ ἐπεκραίνετο μόρσιμος αἰών, . . . This punctuation appears to me necessary; cf. v. 17. μόρσιμος αἰών is the period of gestation: ἔτεκεν δ’ ἁνίκα Μοῖραι τέλεσαν Eur. Bacch. 99, κυρίῳ ἐν μηνί Pind. Ο. vi. 32; Opp. Cyn. iii. 156.

17) πιστὰ τεκμήρια γαιονόμοις, τὰ δ’ ἄελπτά περ ὄντα φανεῖται is an emendation by Hermann completed by Paley.

18) This is the meaning; not ‘sure proofs,’ but (as in v. 277 [276], Ag. 364 [352], Soph. El. 774) evidence credible enough (Ag. 1212 [1213]) to form a prima facie probability. The language indeed is almost legal: γνώσεσθε προϊόντος τοῦ λόγου say the orators (e.g. Antiphon. v. 10; Isocr. xvii. 26), = ἐν μήκει λόγου 19), as προϊόντος τοῦ χρόνου = ἐν μήκει χρόνου.

20) Tucker reads οἰωνοπολῶν ‘auguring.’

21) This I take to be the construction, if μήτιδος is genuine; and I think it is genuine, considering the phrase of Hom. τ 522 παῖδ’ ὀλοφυρομένη Ἴτυλον φίλον ὅν ποτε χαλκῷ κτεῖνε δι’ ἀφραδίας.

22) ἅτ’ ἀπὸ χώρων ποταμῶν τ’ ἐργομένα: Tucker reads ἅθ’ ὑπὸ χλωρῶν πετάλων τεγγομένα ‘weeping beneath the green leaves,’ taking χλωρῶν πετάλων from Hermann.

23) πενθεῖ μὲν (Haecker for νέον) οἶκτον ἠθέων = 59 [59] ἔγγαιος οἶκτον ἀΐων.

24) Like the mourning songs of the ‘Keeners’ of Asia Minor. Observe that the metre in which they say this is that of the Ionian elegiac, broken off just before the couplet is completed. Similarly in the dirge of Eur. Alcest. 477, κούφα σοι χθὼν ἐπάνωθε πέσοι, γύναι. εἰ δέ τι . . . the words indicated are a suggestion of the familiar elegiac epitaph.

25) εἱλοθερῆ Bothe.

26) Weil conjectures ἀφίλου τᾶσδε φυγᾶς, and ἀφόνου might be sug­gested (cf. vv. 6 [6] and 202 [196]).

27) ἀήρ is ‘atmosphere.’

28) εἴθ’ εἴη Διὸς εὖ παναληθῶς ‘Ο might one know the will of God with certainty,’ I take it she was going to say, but is abruptly checked by another member of the Chorus, who recognises a proverbial aspiration, and replies to it. Aeschylus frequently breaks up his Chorus into separate voices, excitedly interrupting one another or expressing different views; but the MSS. hardly ever afford any indication of such dialogue, a neglect which has caused perhaps more trouble than any other. At the end of this play (1054 [1051] sqq.) there is an animated alterca­tion between the two parties that I conjecture in this passage.

29) Even when it should show plain against the background of the night, τύχη, μοῖρα, and even κήρ are used poetically of the ‘character’ or ‘portion’ with which anything is endowed.

30) A racy metaphor such as those from bowls, archery, tennis in our Elizabethans. Only a fall upon the back counted as a fair throw; if upon the shoulder, for example, it was a ψευδόπτωμα: Ar. Eq. 571, A.P. ix.588.5. Lucian Anacharsis 24 καταπίπτειν τε ἀσφαλῶς μανθάνουσι καὶ ἀνίστασθαι εὐμαρῶς.

31) τὰν ἄπονον δ’ ἁρμονίαν ἥμενος ἀμ φρόνημά πως for τὰν ἄποινον δαι­μονίων ἥμενον ἀ῀ν φρόνημά πως. Here ἄπονον is due to Wellauer [Pauw], ἥμενος to Paley; the rest I have restored. Aeschylus uses the metaphor again in P.V. 569 [550], οὔποτε τὰν Διὸς ἁρμονίαν θνατῶν παρεξίασι βουλαί, which it is strange no critic should have remarked to be one of his numerous Pythagoreanisms. The whole ordered universe (κόσμος, mundus) was conceived by Pythagoras, using musical symbolism, as a harmony: see e.g. Zeller Greek Philosophy I. 465, 507. And with God this complicated Scheme works, in Mr Kipling’s phrase, ‘wheel within wheel to the ordered, effortless end’ (A Fleet in Being, p. 60). For it costs him no effort to effect his purpose; as Xenophanes (B.C. 538) said of his one God, ἀπάνευθε πόνοιο νόου φρενὶ πάντα κραδαίνει. Aesch. fr. 99.2: τοῖόν γε μὴν Ζεὺς κλέμμα πρεσβύτου πατρὸς αὐτοῦ μένων ἄμοχθον ἤνυσεν λαβεῖν. Eum. 653 [651], Pind. O. xiii. 83, Lucret. v. 1181. That is the meaning of ἥμενος κτἑ.: Hom. φ 420 αὐτόθεν ἐκ δίφροιο, καθήμενος, Τ 76, ν 56, Apoll. Rhod. i.343 αὐτόθεν ἔνθα περ ἧστο, Ar. Pax 266 ταράξει τὰς πόλεις καθήμενος, Ach. 838; Xen. Rep.Ath. i. 16 οἴκοι καθήμενοι ἄνευ νεῶν ἔκπλου διοικοῦσι τὰς πόλεις τὰς συμμαχίδας.

32) ἀμ φρόνημα = κατὰ τὴν βούλησιν: Hesych. Φρόνημα: βούλημα, θέλημα. Hdt. iii.122: πυνθάνομαί σε ἐπιβουλεύειν πρήγμασι μεγάλοισι καὶ χρήματά τοι οὐκ εἶναι κατὰ τὰ φρονήματα ‘according to your ambitions’ or ‘projects.’ Pind. P. ii.49 θεὸς ἅπαν ἐπὶ ἐλπίδεσσι τέκμαρ ἀνύεται, θεὸς ὁ καὶ πτερόεντ’ αἰετὸν κίχε . . . καὶ ὑψιφρόνων τιν’ ἔκαμψε βροτῶν.

33) οἷ’ ἀννεάζει Tucker.

34) ἄτας ἀπάταν μεταλγοῦς Tucker, ‘a mischief and a mock, with sorrow in its train’: the genitive as in Ag. 373 [381], 765 [791]. (The accent on the MS. μεταγνούς was at first a circumflex.)

35) ἐμφερῆ Tucker.

36) ‘Speech,’ or ‘expression’ (cf. πατρὸς αὐδάν Cho. 827 [829]), meaning the epithet βοῦνιν, which is repeated in v. 784. It may be inferred that βουνός was a local word in Argos. It was used about Cyrene (Hdt. iv.199), and in Syracusan poetry (Phrynichus p. 355 Lobeck), and there was a sanctuary of Ἥρα βουναία at Corinth (Pausan. ii.4.7); all these are Dorian peoples. Whatever its origin, it was regarded as an alien or foreign word by Philemon (Kock CAF ii.491, 521), and the grammarians; though it is frequent in the Alexandrian version of the LXX, and came later into general use: Dindorf in Steph. Thesaur.

37) λινοσινεῖ here and v. 138 [132] Tucker and Buecheler.

38) Lucian iii.498 τὸ δὲ σὸν κατὰ χειρὸς ἐπίδρομον . . .

39) The argument is the common one, ‘Who shall praise the most High in the grave, instead of them which live and give thanks? Thanks­giving perisheth from the dead, as from one that is not,’ Ecclesiasticus xvii.28.

40) ‘Structure,’ ‘fabric’; a lyric use.

41) For the meaning of ἐνώπια see Ebeling Lex.Hom., and Leaf on Θ 435. This is a reference to some actual shrine of Artemis. It was customary to invoke divinities by flattering epithets and mention of the seats where they were worshipped (Walz Rhet. ix. p. 135; a typical example is the opening of Pind. O. xiv.); and ἔχων was a common formula in describing such possessions; e.g. Ar. Nub. 595 sqq., A.P. 251, 273, and often in the Orphic hymns.

42) I have translated ἀσφαλέα instead of ἀσφαλές (cf. v. 363 [359]), and in what follows have adopted the conjectures παντὶ δὲ σθένει διωγμοῖς ἀσχαλῶσ’ . . .

43) Ἰοῦς ἰῷ Hermann.

44) Interrogative punctuation is necessary in any case. I have trans­lated ἐλέγξεται (Markscheffel) instead of ἐνεύξεται. If Porson’s ἐνέξεται is right, then I think a further alteration is required of λόγοις to ψόγοις, ‘shall not Zeus be liable then to just reproaches, for having ne­glected . . .’

45) γόνῳ (= φύσει) is a legal term, × θέσει, ποιήσει ‘by adoption.’

46) E.g. Xen. Anab. i.8.8.

47) ἐκ μετωποσωφρόνων ἴτω προσώπων Porson; a thoroughly Aeschy­lean ῥῆμα γομποφαγές. A.P. ii.333 ἐπ’ ἀπλοκάμῳ δὲ μετώπῳ ἧστο σαοφροσύνη. Tucker conjectures κατωποσωφρόνων ‘downcast in modesty’: but his objection to Porson’s word, that the form of the compound should be σωφρονομετώπων, is by no means fatal: cf. πτερυγωκής P.V. 302 [286], ποδώκης, ποδήνεμος, πόδαβρος, τρίχουλος, πύγαργος, χειρίσοφος, χειρόχωλος.

48) Impatient, intolerant, prone to take offence.

49) If the text is sound, μεμνῆσθαι must be taken, I think, as depending on τάσδε ἐφετμάς: cf. Lucian Tragoedopodagra v. 271 μύστης με σιγᾶν ὅρκος οὐκ εᾷ φράσαι, ‘the oath to be silent.’

50) In the arrangement of these lines I have followed Hermann. The distribution of them between the speakers must remain uncertain.

51) Ζηνὸς ἶνιν Kiehl (Bamberger), and Tucker, who argues fully against the MS. ὄρνιν.

52) Kueck would read κῆρυξ ὅδ’ ἄλλος ‘this other is a herald,’ suppos­ing Ἑρμῆς to be an explanatory note.

53) Dem. 528.15, Apoll.Rhod. iii.38.

54) φύγῃ ματαίων αἰτίας Schuetz for μάταιον: as in Attic βιαίων δίκην, παρανόμων γραφήν.

55) The doctrine comes appropriately from an inhabitant of Egypt, for this was the function of Osiris (Wilkinson Ancient Egyptians iii. pp. 466–470); but the qualification ὡς λόγος is characteristically Greek: Socrates in Plat. Phado 107 D prefaces his long account (ending p. 114 c) with λέγεται δὲ οὕτως, and that in the Axiochus pp. 371-2 he professes to have received from Gobryes the Mage, and offers it for what it is worth.

56) προσφωνῶμεν Weil.

57) τὸ πᾶν Tucker.

58) παρ’ ὑμῶν Pearson [Auratus, Portus].

59) For συνοίσεται Paley quotes Eur. Ion. 705, El. 52; but the phrase is difficult to understand.

60) Soph. El. 3, Ar. Av. 548.

61) Reading ἢ τηρὸν Ἑρμόρραβδον: ἱερόρραβδον Schuetz ‘with sacred wand.’

62) This is clearly the meaning; but it cannot be expressed by the corrupted MS. πρὸς ταῦτ’ ἀμείβου καὶ λέγετ’ εὐθαρσεῖς ἐμοί, because πρὸς ταῦτα or πρὸς τάδε mean ‘in face of this,’ ‘since this is so,’ ὡς ὧδ’ ἐχόντων τῶνδε. The text must have arisen, I think, from a gloss upon τούτων ἀμείβου γ’ εἵνεκ εὐθαρσὴς ἐμοί.

63) ἧς δί’ ἁγνὸς ἔρχεται Στρυμών Wordsworth.

64) μηνιταῖ’ ἄχη (Cho. 584 [586]) or μηνιταιαχῆ? Such visitations, and blights, and droughts and so on were regarded as due to the resentment (μῆνις) of the Chthonic powers, aroused by polluting blood. Lobeck Aglaopham. p. 637.

65) ἔχουσ’ ἂν ἤδη.

66) ‘Credentials,’ as in v. 54.

67) πρόσω Robort. [Arsenius Me]; τορῶς ‘clearly,’ Tucker.

68) τοίας τ’ ἀκούω Tucker for Ἰνδούς τ’ ἀκούω, taking Ἰνδούς to have been originally a note explaining who these Nomads were. This is better than Heimsoeth’s conjecture, reading τοίας in the place of εἶναι.

69) The speakers are not indicated in the MS., so that the arrangement of the dialogue depends only upon conjecture.

70) τἀμπαλάγματα, restored by Hermann from Hesychius with the confirmation of the schol. Only it cannot mean, as he supposed, ‘embraces’: ἐμπαλάσσειν is a synonym of ἐμπλέκειν, to ensnare, enmesh, entangle: Hdt. vii.85 ἐν ἕρκεσι, Thuc. vii.84, Ael. N.A. v.39, vi.24, xii.47, xiv.7, xv.1, xvi.25; and ἐμπαλάγματα (rightly explained by Hesychius as αἱ ἐμπλοκαί) means the liaison, an entangle­ment in the snares of love, δίκτυα Κύπριδος Ibycus, Ἀφροδίτας ἕρκεσιν Ariphron; cf. Lucret. iv.1145–8.

71) ἔτ’ Schuetz for ἐπ’ This is confirmed by Lucian i.305 [DMar. 11.1] ΖΕΦ. νῦν δὲ ἡ ῞Ηρα τοιαύτην ἐποίησεν αὐτὴν ζηλοτυπήσασα ὅτι πάνυ ἑώρα ἐρῶντα τὸν Δία. ΝΟΤ. νῦν οὖν ἔτι ἐρᾷ τῆς βοός; ΖΕΦ. καὶ μάλα· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἐς Αἴγυπτον αὐτὴν ἔπεμψε κτἑ. Here (as in i.207) Lucian is following the Aeschylean version of the story.

72) μύωψ means either an ox-goad or an ox-fly, οἶστρος either an ox-fly or a frenzied impulse of passion, and the remark of the Chorus hints at variations in the story due to this ambiguity.

73) ῥυσίων is merely a synonym of ἐφάψεως in its sense of ‘seizure,’ as ἀρρυσίαστος (v. 606 [610]) is of ἀνέπαφος.

74) A line has been lost to this effect.

75) γῆς <μέρος> Todt or <λάχος> Zakas :—not <ὄνομα> γῆς, as Porson conjectured; the land was called after the heroine (Isocrat. p. 223 c), not the heroine after the land.

76) The epithet by a common idiom is transferred from the person to the name. It is appropriate to the inventive Danaus, though strictly the king could not be aware of this.

77) Reading ἀνστῆσαι (Markscheffel) or ἀνστήσῃς (Victorius).

78) δοκεῖτε <δή> μοι Turnebus, <μέν> μοι Zakas.

79) A variation of the metaphorical adjective ὁμόπτερος ‘of like feather.’

80) τήνδε . . . . φυγὴν is in any case the object, not the subject, of κέλσειν. If κέλσειν μ’ is read with Schuetz, μεταπτοιοῦσαν will agree with με.

81) ὄνοιτο Robortellus (as ὀνοταζόμεναι v. 10) for ὤνοιτο.

82) By intermarriage of relations.

83) ‘A serious undertaking you propose.’

84) So Tucker, reading ἦ the first person.

85) γε μέντοι means ‘Yes, but all the same,’ ‘still you must remember that’: Theb. 703 [716], 1035 [1044], Ag. 929 [938], Soph. El. 398, Rhes. 579. Unless, therefore, there is a lacuna before this line, it would seem that the Chorus understand the King to mean ‘I tremble to think of my respon­sibility.’

86) As it were ‘nodding assent’: νεύονθ’ Bamberger for νέον θ’.

87) οὐ λιπερν . . . ., some form of λιπερνήs or λιπερνήτης, a word used by Archilochus (Bergk II p. 396, Schneider Callim. II p. 211) and explained in the Lexicons (Et.Mag., Zonaras, Suid.) by πτωχός. The MS. has οὖν περ with schol. οὐ πτωχεύσεις. After this mutilated word there is a line lost, and then some further corruption now beyond restor­ing. The purport appears to have been ‘the sacrifices of a godly man are acceptable in the sight of heaven, however small they may be,’ a doctrine illustrated by Orelli-Hirschfelder on Hor. C. iii.23.18, Porph. de abst. ii.15, and attributed to Pythagoras by Iamblich. Vit.Pyth. 27 § 122.

88) A poetical sense of εὔφρων common in Aeschylus: δύσφρονος has the opposite sense in v. 399.

89) Cf. Eur. I.A. 56. Tucker reads καὶ τύχην ἐᾶν ‘or not to act and so let fortune take her course.’

90) Legal language of the baldest and most unsentimental kind.

91) μή τί ποτ’ οὖν. . . . Here οὖν contributes merely emphasis: that is the effect of it in all its combinations except οὔκουν, οὐκοῦν.

92) ὕπαστρον φυγάν (Heath) is to be taken together. For this pro­verbial phrase see Jebb on Ο.T. 795.

93) μὴ καί ποτε Canter: cf. Hom. Χ 104 sqq. ὡς μήποτε would be good, as Eum. 883 [882], Rhes. 50.

94) Tucker’s conjecture may be right, εἴ πού τι κἀλλοῖον τύχοι.

95) ἄξια ἀξίων, that is; rewarding them after their iniquities; see Paley’s note.

96) τί . . . . μεταλγεῖς, τὸ δίκαιον ἔρξας; The MS. has ἔρξαι: which I have corrected. Those to whom this ‘prospective’ use of the present tense is not familiar may compare Cho. 507 [506], P.V. 529 [525], 540 [540], Soph. Philoct. 117 ὡς τοῦτό γ’ ἔρξας δύο φέρει δωρήματα, Rhes. 581, 596, Eur. I.T. 977–80, El. 973 βλάπτῃ δὲ δὴ τί πατρὶ τιμωρῶν σεθεν;

97) Eum. 175.

98) The line that follows is omitted as an insertion. The form as well as the sentiment of this passage is exactly like Ag. 995–1006,

99) Another line is here ejected as an illustrative quotation.

100) The argument to be expected logically is ‘but to repair kindred bloodshed, when it has once taken place, is impossible.’ I think (with Schuetz and Weil) that that link is omitted and left to be inferred, and that the connexion of thought is ‘but kindred blood (since it is irrepar­able) must by all means be averted.’

101) νείκους τοῦδ’ ἔσω παροίχομαι Tucker: cf. Plaut. Capt. 649 ut quidem hercle in medium ego hodie pessime processerim.

102) Cf. Soph. Philoct. 94.

103) Literally ‘contrary to my conviction.’

104) τύχῃ (Turnebus) γυναικῶν ταῦτα συμπρεπῆ πέλει (cod. Guelf).

105) For the usual πίνακες see Mayor on Juv. x.55, and my forthcoming note on Herodas iv.19.

106) Not ‘I have given you’; cf. P.V. 515 [499], Cho. 661 [?], 534 [?], 843 [854?], Soph. O.C. 74. Critias Trag. fr. 1.26 τυφλώσας, and the adjectives τυφλός, ἀλαός (as we speak of a ‘blind fence’), κωφός.

107) οὐ μὴν ἁπλῆ γε δυσπάλαιστα πράγματα, κακῶν δὲ (‘but’) πλῆθος . . . I have restored οὐ μὴν ἁπλῇ γε for καὶ μὴν πολλαχῇ γε which is an interpretation of it. ἁπλῇ refers to ἁπλῶς in v. 473, ‘yes, your answer is plain and simple enough; but it is not a simple problem that confronts me.’ ἁπλοῦς simplex means both ‘simple’ and ‘single’ and the play upon the word can hardly be expressed in modern English.

108) Or ‘unsurmountable.’

109) My simple correction ἐμοῦ κάτ’ removes at once both difficulties of construction. ἀπορρίπτειν (ῥίπτειν, ἐκρίπτειν dicta iacere, iactare) λόγον, ἔπος is a common phrase, e.g. Hdt. i.153, iv.142, vi.69, vii.13, viii.92. φιλαίτιος governs the genitive ἀρχῆς as it governs the geni­tive θεῶν in Plat. Legg. 903 Ε τῷ φιλαιτίῳ τῆς ἀμελείας περὶ θεῶν ‘the man who is fond of reproaching the gods for their neglect.’—There is no objection to the elision of κάτα : if a preposition can be placed after the noun, it can also be elided. Examples in iambic verse are Supp. 260 [254] ἧς δί’ ἁγνὸς ἔρχεται, Ag. 127 [1277] βωμοῦ πατρῴου δ’ ἀντ’ (ἀντί follows its case in Lycophr. 94 and 365), Eur. Ι.A. 966 ὧν μέτ’ ἐστρατευόμην, Ar. Lys. 1146 χώραν ἧς’ ὕπ’ εὖ πεπόνθατε, and with a pause as here, Eur. Bacch. 722 θηρώμεθ’ ἀνδρῶν τῶνδ’ ὕπ’· ἀλλ’ ἕπεσθέ μοι.

110) I see no reason to reject the MS. reading εὖ ῥέοντα: the point is, a patron with a kind heart and an influential position—who has at once the will and the power to protect.

111) φθόνον Mueller-Struebing for φόβον: an unfavourable impression, hostility, resentment, displeasure, invidiam.

112) ἤδη Tucker for καὶ δὴ.

113) ξυμβολοῦσιν Valckenaer.

114) Or ‘wherein.’

115) Cf. Soph. Philoct. 148.

116) ἀεί γ’ ἄναρκτόν ἐστι δεῖμ’ ἐξαίσιον is my correction of ἀεὶ δ’ ἀνάκτων ἐστὶ . . . . δεῖμ’ ἐξαίσιον must be the subject of the sentence, and ἀνάκτων a corruption of the predicate, which naturally precedes. ἀψυχία γὰρ γλῶσσαν ἁρπάζει φόβος is the apology of the Chorus in a similar case, Theb. 245 [259], ‘panic runs away with the tongue,’ bolting like a runaway horse (ἔκφορος ἵππος) which has εὔαρκτον στόμα (Pers. 196 [193]) no longer. Rage has the same effect, Ar. Ran. 993 μόνον ὅπως μή σ’ ὁ θυμὸς ἁρπάσας ἐκτὸς οἴσει τῶν ἐλαῶν, or madness, P.V. 909 [884], Cho. 1022 [1024] where Orestes, using this familiar simile of the race-course, speaks of his φρένες δύσαρκτοι.

ἀεί γ’ (suggested by Dindorf) is natural in a comment, as P.V. 42 [42], Alexis 257 ἀεί γ’ ὁ Χαιρεφῶν τιν’ εὑρίσκει τέχνην.

117) στείχω Weil.

118) The sea; the phrase is from the lyric vocabulary.

119) Adverbial, as Soph. El. 1071 τὰ δὲ πρὸς τέκνων, and geographical phrases like τὸ πρὸς δύνοντος ἡλίου in v. 261 [255] above.

120) Δῖαί τοι γένος εὐχόμεθ’ εἶναι γᾶς ἀπὸ τᾶσδ’ ἐνοίκου: the MS. δίας was corrected by Pauw, and I have restored ἐνοίκου for ἔνοικοι. The construction is ἀπ’ ἐνοίκου τᾶσδε γᾶς.

121) This detail, mentioned before in v. 43 [43], is traditionary: Severus (Walz Rhet. I p. 537), following the usual version, according to which Io was changed by Zeus, says τιμῶσα ἡ γῆ τὴν τοῦ Διὸς ἐρωμένην ἄνθος ἀνῆκε τῇ βοὶ νέμεσθαι.

122) ἐρεθομένα Paley, which agrees metrically with the corresponding line, and is, as he shows, a most appropriate word. Against the MS. ἐρεσσομένα it may be further remarked that ἐρέσσειν is metaphorically used only to describe such actions as resemble the movement to and fro of oars or arms in rowing.

123) διχῇ διατέμνουσα are to be taken together; the disarrangement of the words is a license assumed especially by lyric verse (Soph. Ant. 960 Jebb).

124) Reading Λύδιά τε γύαλα, καὶ δι’ ὀρῶν Κιλίκων Παμφύλων τε, διορνυμένα τ’ ἀμ ποταμοὺς ἀενάους for τὰν ποταμοὺς.

125) Phoenicia; so termed, as the schol. says, by reason of Byblus and Libanus, the famous seats of the worship of Thammuz and Astarte (Adonis and Aphrodite).

126) ἱκνεῖται δὴ σινουμένα is my conjecture for ἱκνεῖται δ’ εἰσἱκ[χ sscr.]νουμένου with the letters ου written in erasure; at first no doubt it was εἰσικνουμένη the reading of cod. Guelf. (σινουμένου I think less likely, because the form σινέεσθαι is Ionic). Suid. Σίνος: βλάβη. καὶ Σινοῦται: βλάϖτεται. Hesych. gives also Συνοῦται (sic): λυϖεῖται.

127) Egypt. The belief that the rising of the Nile was caused by the melting of snow on mountains in the interior was widely known and canvassed in antiquity. It has remained until our own day for the truth of it to be proved by Sir Henry Stanley (Darkest Africa xxix–xxxi).

128) There is more than one reason for supposing ἐσορῶντες an interpolation which has supplanted some adjective such as δίμορφον.

129) τὰ μὲν βοός, τὰ δ’ αὖ γυναικός.

130) δι’ αἰῶνος Hermann.

131) βίᾳ δ’ ἀπηματοσθενεῖ for βία δ’ ἀπημάντῳ σθένει (the remark of the schol. λείπει ὁ καί shows that he read βίᾳ). My reading restores the construction and improves the rhythm by one of those compound adjectives, characteristically Aeschylean, which in MSS. are habitually corrupted in this fashion.

132) Tears of grief and shame after she has been restored to human consciousness; compare her language in a lucid interval, P.V. 669 [640] seqq. The phrase is in the ornater style of lyric. Weil quotes Musaeus Hero and Leander 173 αἰδοῦς ὑγρὸν ἔρευθος ἀϖοστάζουσα προσώπου, literally ‘exuding the moist blush of shame.’ In Soph. Ant. 959 οὕτω τᾶς μανίας δεινὸν ἀϖοστάζει ἀνθηρόν τε μένος the verb is intransitive, ‘so dire and exuberant is the rage that emanates from madness.’

133) φυσιζόου Schuetz.

134) With the punctuation altered, the words admit the sense ‘Call this the act of Zeus and this (his) race derived from Epaphus, and you shall be right.’

135) ‘What act on the part of any other god affords me greater justifica­tion for appealing to him?’

136) βούλιος Auratus, rightly. The language alludes to the functions of the two bodies of legislature at Athens, the βουλή and the ἐκκλησία. Measures originated in the Council (βουλή): a bill passing the Council became a προβούλευμα, which had then to be introduced and submitted for ratification to the Assembly sitting on the hill (ἐκφέρεσθαι or εἰσφέρεσθαι εἰς τὴν ἐκκληοίαν or τὸν δῆμον). No such sanction is re­quired for his policy by Zeus; he may execute his purposes at once without control.—The passage has not been explained before, nor correctly punctuated; the antistrophe, like the strophe, contains an answer to a question.—In v. 605 [597] I have translated κράτη, the con­jecture of H. Voss for κάτω. In v. 606 [598] I am not quite sure of the construction—whether πάρεστι does not rather mean ‘he may.’

137) τέρμον’ ἄμεμπτον προσαπαντᾶν Tucker, after Salvinius and Weil.

138) This is the construction, but the emendation of the corrupted words is uncertain.

139) Δῖον ἐπιδόμενοι πράκτορά τοι κότον for πράκτορά τε σκοπὸν. Tucker argues effectually against Δῖον σκοπόν of the MS. κότον is due to Bamberger: for the use of τοι cf. Soph. El. 1469.

140) So Paul. Silent. Ambo 217 has ἀνδροδόκων βάθρων.

141) καὶ γεραροῖσι πρεσβυτοδόκοι < — — > θυμέλαι φλεόντων. Some substantive has been ousted by γεμόντων, a gloss on φλεόντων (Hermann).

142) Apollo in his character of Destroyer.

143) θάλοιεν Hermann.

144) Or ‘raise anthems at the altars.’

145) φυλάσσοι δ’ εὖ τὰ τίμι’ ἀστοῖς τὸ δήμιον: the citizens are necessarily mentioned as contrasted with the foreigners, τὰ τίμια are synonymous with τιμαί or γέρα (γέρα: τὰ τίμια Hesych., τίμιον γέρας v. 997) : see L. Dindorf in Steph. Thesaur. s.v. τίμιον, (τιμὰς in the MS. was a marginal gloss.) ἀστοῖς is due to Bergk and δ’ εὖ to Wecklein; δέ is required to begin the new paragraph.

146) That is ‘Let them observe the three great commandments,’ second here among which is ‘Obey the laws of the land.’ It is indicated by the epithet ἐγχωρίοις, while the transition to the third is made by γάρ, which refers to πατρῴαις. This artificial method is characteristic of the elaborate lyric style.

147) τοῖσιν οὐ φίλη Herwerden.

148) neque ullum in medio tempus.

149) Rid of all superfluous flesh : Antyllus (Stob. Flor. 101.16) ὁ δὲ θερμὸς ἀὴρ σωμάτων δαπανητικός, ἰσχναίνων καὶ καταρρινῶν τὰ συγκρίματα· εὐτονίαν δὲ μᾶλλον καὶ εὐκινησίαν ἤπερ ὁ ψυχρὸς παρασκευάζει.

150) οὐλόφρονες Valckenaer. They are interrupted by Danaus, and again at 767.

151) Perhaps ξυμφέροι γ’ οὕτω, τέκνα ‘at that rate’: cf. Ar. Ran. 1149 p. 435 Blaydes.

152) ἔχοντας Turnebus.

153) τάχος Tucker, taking οὔτοι ταχεῖα in the next line to be a reply to it. If κράτος is genuine, it may refer to κρατεῖ in v. 769: ‘They are far more terrible than dogs, so they may overcome us’ (Wecklein).

154) The punctuation, and consequently the exact rendering, of this passage is uncertain.

155) Hom. h.Apoll. 247, 258, 287, Eum. 989 [989] φρονοῦσιν εὑρίσκειν (as it should be read).

156) Something to this effect has perished.

157) γᾶ βοῦνι, πάνδικον σέβας (βοῦνι Dindorf, πάνδικον Paley).

158) ἀλυκτὸν δ’ (Hermann) οὐκέτ’ ἂν πέλοι <τέλος>

159) ‘convinced me,’ cf. Theb. 81 [81] αἰθερία κόνις με πείθει . . ., ἕλε δὲ τᾶς ἐμᾶς πεδί’ ὁπλόκτυπ’ ὠτιχρίμπτῃ βοᾷ.

160) ἀπρόσμικτος (Newman) or ἀπρόσδερκτος (Weil) is suitable; but I do not believe in the MS. ἀπρόσδεικτος, there is no such compound as προσδείκνυμι.

161) ἀμφυγᾶς (Weil after Hermann) τίν’ ἔτι πόρον.

162) I have given what appears to me the purport of these corrupted lines.

163) μὴ φίλοις (Lachmann) ὁρῶν ὄμμασιν ἐνδίκως, or μὴ φίλως (Marckscheffel) ὁρῶν ὄμμασιν ἐνδίκοις ‘with just eyes regarding force unfavourably.’

164) The schol. took μάταισι to mean ‘quest.’

165) The passage that follows (832–913) has suffered such mutilation and corruption as in many places to be past recovery. But the general effect of the scene is perfectly intelligible—terror and confusion on the women’s part, rude and brutal humour on the herald’s.

166) Perhaps γαϊάναξ in one word, as ἱππιάνακτας Pers. 999 [996].

167) αἵμον’ ἐγώ σ’ ἐπ’ ἀμίδα—τί σύ, δουπίαχαπύτα; κέλομαι βοᾶν μεθέσθαι (τί γάρ;) φρεναπατᾶν is my restoration of the MS. αἵμονεσ ὡσ ἐπάμιδα ησυδουπιατάπιτα κελεύω βία μεθέσθαι ἴχαρ φρενί τ’ ἄταν. The meaning of δοῦπος in the compound δουπ-ιαχ-απύτα is the noise made in beating the breast: cf. Soph. Aj. 630, Eur. Alc. 106.

168) ἀτίετον ἄπολιν (Peiper) οὐ σέβω (Butler). Hom. Ι 648, Π 59 ὡς εἴ τιν’ ἀτίμητον μετανάστην.

169) ἔγγαιος ἐγὼ βαθυχάϊος βαθείας, βαθείας, γέρον. I take βαθρείας to have arisen from βαθ[ρ sscr.]είας, the ρ meaning a v.l. βαρείας: and ἔγγειος (as the word is usually spelt) is an easy alteration of ἄγειος.

170) ὀλομέναις παλάμαις Turnebus. The Herald mocks the iteration of their words.

171) A lyric phrase, as πόντιον ἄλσος Bacchylid. xvii.84, Aesch. Pers. 103 [103].

172) Εὐρεΐαισιν αὔραις Paley. The particular wind responsible is often named, e.g. A.P. vii. 273, 500, 501, Aesch. Ag. 696 [692], Pind. N. vii.29, P. iv.203, Bacchylid. xvii.6, 91.

173) [ἴυζε καὶ βόα] πικρότερ’ Ἀχαιῶν οἰζνύος φερωνύμων is my conjecture (cf. Ar. Thesm. 648). The schol. read Ἀχαιῶν, and ὄνομ’ ἒχων I suppose a corruption of ὄνομα ἐχόντων, itself a gloss on φερωνύμων.— Similarly the title Ἀχαία of Demeter was popularly referred to ἄχος, her sorrow for her daughter.

174) Robinson Ellis conjectures that in περιχαμπτὰ is concealed χάμψα ‘a crocodile.’

175) βρετεοσάρος could mean ‘an image-sweeper’; but words are probably lost between α and ροσ.

176) βοᾷ Hermann.

177) οὐδ’ ἐγήρασ’ ἂν Peiper.

178)  ἔχιδνα δ’ ὥς με <φόνιος ἢ
         τί ποτέ ν<ιν καλῶ
         δάκος; ἄγ<ει βίᾳ.

Cf. Ag. 1231 [1232], Cho. 995 [995], Lycophron 1410, Ar. Nub. 1378, Andoc. i. 129, Dem. 232.20, 1483.24.

179) Heath suggested that this and the succeeding distich of the Herald should change places, thus making πολλοὺς ἄνακτας have reference to ἄναξ.

180) ἄσεπτ’ Tucker.

181) ἐπισπάσας κόμης Pierson: ἀτοσπάσας would mean ‘dragging from.’

182) Weil supposes a lacuna here.

183) μονορρύθμους = μονοτρόπους: cf. ἰδιόρρυθμοι × κοινοβιακοί, ἑτερόρρυσμος, ὁμόρρυσμος.

184) Perhaps there has been something lost here.

185) I conjecture ἐνὶ χώρᾳ τάσσεσθε.

186) αὐτανεψίοις is constructed with πικρῶς and so placed in order to emphasise the antithesis ἐμοὶ δέ: the simple form of the sentence would be τὰ μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτανεψίων πρὸς τοὺς ἐγγενεῖς φίλους πραχθέντα πικρῶς ἤκουσαν, . . .

187) Not only the words, but the punctuation and construction of this passage are uncertain. I suspect that καρπώματα should be κηπεύματα, ‘gardens’ cultivated by irrigation, as καρπεύματα has been altered to κηπεύματα in another case by Hermann (Opusc. i. p. 55). ανθωσμένη[ει sscr.]ν ἐρῶ I have little doubt should be ἀνεωγμέν’ ἱμέρῳ (ἀνεωγμένην had been conjectured by Tucker).

188) Tucker plausibly conjectures ἴτε μὰν ἄστυδ’, ἄνακτας ‘go ye citywards.’ the keepers of the

189) Eur. Bacch. 295 Ἄρεώς τε μοῖραν μεταλαβὼν ἔχει τινά Tucker, who has a good note.

190) φυγάδεσσιν δ’ ἔτι ποινὰς Burges.

191) μετὰ πολλῶν . . . προτερᾶν . . . γυναικῶν: so e.g. Hdt. vi. 68, Eur. Hipp. 441, 830, Plat. Gorg. 521 D.

192) καιρός is the ‘right point’ of time or place, and hence is often synonymous as here with μέτρον.

193) μηδὲν ἄγαν: the verb is formed as λιάζειν from λίαν.

194) ὥσπερ Ἰὼ πημονᾶς ἐλύσατ’ αὖ χειρὶ παιωνία, κατάσχετον εὐμενεῖ βίᾳ κτίσας, where ὥσπερ for ὅσπερ is Auratus’ correction, αὖ for εὖ is mine, and κατάσχετον for κατασχέθων was restored by Weil. He took it to mean ‘stayed from her distress’; but elsewhere it is a synonym of κατάσχετος, and so I have translated it, referring it to Io’s condition before she was restored again to her human form—the aorist participle κτίσας having thus the same value as in Soph. Aj. 675 λύει πεδήσας.

The drift is ‘May this only be a temporary trial; may Zeus, after subjecting us to all this tribulation, set us free again, and refrain from inflicting upon us finally the union we abhor.’ ἀποστεροίη is ‘withhold.’

195) So Weil, rightly. ‘I am content so long as the balance of fortune be ever so little on the right side.’

196) τὸ δίμοιρον is ‘the ratio 2 : 1,’ as διμοιρία = ⅔, τὰ δύο μέρη.

197) Cho. 307, 460.

*) The little commentary I have seen on Headlam’s prose translations of Aeschylus has been varied. I vaguely recall some acerbic comment or other, possibly by Roger Dawe, but have failed to track down a reference. Michael Silk in his piece on Headlam in PCPS Suppl. 28 calls them “basically prose cribs” (p. 71, n. 8), which is a mere summary of what Headlam himself says about them in the preface; a short review by G[ilbert] M[urray] in JHS 30 passes them over as “necessarily homely”; and Arthur Sidgwick, in his review of the Choephoroe (CR 20, 1906), very courteously suggests that the “crib” strategy professed by Headlam might gain by some slight aesthetic modifications, backing his case with a number of quotes of more or less offending literal translations by Headlam.

On the other hand, J. U. Powell calls the translation of the Eumenides “close and forcible” in CR 22 (1908). While his judgement may have been influenced by the news of Headlam’s death appearing “just as these remarks were being written” (p. 185), the verdict opens perspectives (see the passage by Walter Benjamin above).


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