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Enter the CHILDREN.

And for you,

Take his right hand; ah me! my sad fate! when I reflect, as now, upon the hidden future. O my children, since there awaits you even thus a long, long life, stretch forth the hand to take a fond farewell. Ah me! how new to tears am I, how full of fear! For now that I have at last released me from my quarrel with your father, I let the tear-drops stream adown my tender cheek.

Chorus - From my eyes too bursts forth the copious tear; O, may no greater ill than the present e'er befall!

Jason — Lady, I praise this conduct, not that I blame what is past; for it is but natural to the female sex to vent their spleen against a husband when he traffics in other marriages besides his own. But thy heart is changed to wiser schemes, and thou art determined on the better course, late though it be; this is acting like a woman of sober sense. my sons, hath your father provided with all good heed a sure refuge, by God's grace; for ye, I trow, shall with your brothers share hereafter the foremost rank in this Corinthian realm. Only grow up, for all the rest your sire and whoso of the gods is kind to us is bringing to pass. May I see you reach man's full estate, high o'er the heads of those I hate! But thou, lady, why with fresh tears dost thou thine eyelids wet, turning away thy wan cheek, with no welcome for these my happy tidings ?

Medea 'Tis naught; upon these children my thoughts were turned.

Jason - Then take heart; for I will see that it is well with them.

Medea I will do so; nor will I doubt thy word; woman is a weak creature, ever given to tears.

Jason - Why, prithee, unhappy one, dost moan o'er these children?

Medea - I gave them birth; and when thou didst pray long life for them, pity entered into my soul to think that these things must be. But the reason of thy coming hither to speak with me is partly told, the rest will I now mention. Since it is the pleasure of the rulers of the land to banish me, and well I know 'twere best for me to stand not in the way

of thee or of the rulers by dwelling here, enemy as I am thought unto their house, forth from this land in exile am I going; but these children, — that they may know thy fostering hand, beg Creon to remit their banishment.

Jason — I doubt whether I can persuade him, yet must I attempt it.

Medea - At least do thou bid thy wife ask her sire this boon, to remit the exile of the children from this land.

Jason — Yea, that will I; and her methinks I shall persuade, since she is a woman like the rest.

Medea - I too will aid thee in this task, for by the children's hand I will send to her gifts that far surpass in beauty, I well know, aught that now is seen ’mongst men, a robe of finest tissue and a chaplet of chased gold. But one of my attendants must haste and bring the ornaments hither. Happy shall she be not once alone but ten thousandfold, for in thee she wins the noblest soul to share her love, and gets these gifts as well which on a day my father's sire, the Sun God, bestowed on his descendants. My children, take in your hands these wedding gifts, and bear them as an offering to the royal maid, the happy bride; for verily the gifts she shall receive are not to be scorned.

Jason — But why so rashly rob thyself of these gifts? Dost think a royal palace wants for robes or gold? Keep them, nor give them to another. For well I know that if my lady hold me in esteem, she will set my price above all wealth.

Medea - Say not so; ’tis said that gifts tempt even gods; and o’er men's minds gold holds more potent sway than countless words. Fortune smiles upon thy bride, and heaven now doth swell her triumph; youth is hers and princely power; yet to save my children from exile I would barter life, not dross alone. Children, when ye are come to the rich palace, pray your father's new bride, my mistress, with suppliant voice to save you from exile, offering her these ornaments the while; for it is most needful that she receive the gifts in her own hand. Now go and linger not; may ye succeed and to your mother bring back the glad tidings she fain would hear!

Chorus - Gone, gone is every hope I had that the children yet might live; forth to their doom they now proceed. The hapless bride will take, ay, take the golden crown that is to be her ruin; with her own hand will she lift and place upon her golden locks the garniture of death. Its grace and sheen divine will tempt her to put on the robe and crown of gold, and in that act will she deck herself to be a bride amid the dead. Such is the snare whereinto she will fall, such is the deadly doom that waits the hapless maid, nor shall she from the curse escape. And thou, poor wretch, who to thy sorrow art wedding a king's daughter, little thinkest of the doom thou art bringing on thy children's life, or of the cruel death that waits thy bride.

Woe is thee! how art thou fallen from thy high estate!

Next do I bewail thy sorrows, O mother hapless in thy children, thou who wilt slay thy babes because thou hast a rival, the babes thy husband hath deserted impiously to join him to another bride.

Attendant — Thy children, lady, are from exile freed, and gladly did the royal bride accept thy gifts in her own hands, and so thy children made their peace with her.

Medea - Ah!

Attendant — Why art so disquieted in thy prosperous hour? Why turnest thou thy cheek away, and hast no welcome for my glad news?

Medea - Ah me!

Attendant — These groans but ill accord with the news I bring

Medea - Ah me! once more I say.

Attendant - Have I unwittingly announced some evil tidings? Have I erred in thinking my news was good ?

Medea Thy news is as it is; I blame thee not.

Attendant — Then why this downcast eye, these floods of tears ?

Medea - Old friend, needs must I weep; for the gods and I with fell intent devised these schemes.

Attendant — Be of good cheer; thou too of a surety shalt by thy sons yet be brought home again.

Medea - Ere that shall I bring others to their home, ah! woe is me!

Attendant — Thou art not the only mother from thy children reft. Bear patiently thy troubles as a mortal must.

Medea — I will obey; go thou within the house and make the day's provision for the children. O my babes, my babes, ye have still a city and a home, where far from me and my sad lot you will live your lives, reft of your mother forever; while I must to another land in banishment, or ever I have had my joy of you, or lived to see you happy, or ever I have graced your marriage couch, your bride, your bridal bower, or lifted high the wedding torch. Ah me! a victim of my own selfwill. So it was all in vain I reared you, O my sons; in vain did suffer, racked with anguish, enduring the cruel pangs of childbirth. 'Fore Heaven I once had hope, poor me! high hope of ye that you would nurse me in my age and deck my corpse with loving hands, a boon we mortals covet; but now is my sweet fancy dead and gone; for I must lose you both and in bitterness and sorrow drag through life. And ye shall never with fond eyes see your mother more, for o'er your life there comes a change. Ah me! ah me! why do ye look at me so, my children? why smile that last sweet smile? Ah me! what am I to do? My heart gives way when I behold my children's laughing eyes. O, I cannot; farewell to all my former schemes; I will take the children from the land, the babes I bore. Why should I wound their sire by wounding them, and get me a twofold measure of sorrow? No, no, I will not do it. Farewell my scheming! And yet what am I coming to? Can I consent to let those foes of mine escape from punishment, and incur their mockery? I must face this deed.

Out upon my craven heart! to think that I should even have let the soft words escape my soul. Into the house, children and whoso feels he must not be present at my sacrifice, must see to it himself; I will not spoil my handiwork. Ah! ah! do not, my heart, O do not do this deed! Let the children go, unhappy lady, spare thy babes! For if they live, they will cheer thee in thy exile there. Nay, by the fiends of hell's abyss, never, never will I hand

my

children over to their foes to mock and flout. Die they must in any case, and since 'tis so, why I, the mother who bore them, will give the fatal blow. In any case their doom is fixed and there is no escape. Already the crown is on her head, the robe is round her, and she is dying, the royal bride; that do I know full well. But now since I have a piteous path to tread, and yet more piteous still the path I send my children on, fain would I say farewell to them. O

O my babes, my babes, let

your mother kiss your hands. Ah! hands I love so well, O lips most dear to me! O noble form and features of my children, I wish ye joy, but in that other land, for here your father robs you of your home. O the sweet embrace, the soft young cheek, the fragrant breath! my children! Go, leave me; I cannot bear to longer look upon ye; my sorrow wins the day. At last I understand the awful deed I am to do; but passion, that cause of direst woes to mortal man, hath triumphed o'er my sober thoughts.

Chorus — Oft ere now have I pursued subtler themes and have faced graver issues than woman's sex should seek to probe; but then e’en we aspire to culture, which dwells with us to teach us wisdom; I say not all; for small is the class amongst women - (one maybe shalt thou find ’mid many)that is not incapable of culture. And amongst mortals I do assert that they who are wholly without experience and have never had children far surpass in happiness those who are parents. The childless, because they have never proved whether children grow up to be a blessing or curse to men, are removed from all share in many troubles; whilst those who have a sweet race of children growing up in their houses do wear away, as I perceive, their whole life through; first with the thought how they may train them up in virtue, next how they shall leave their sons the means to live; and after all this 'tis far from clear whether on good or bad children they bestow their toil. But one last crowning woe for every mortal man I now will name; suppose that they have found sufficient means to live, and seen their children grow to man's estate and walk in virtue's path, still if fortune so befall, comes Death and bears the children's bodies off to Hades.

Can it be any profit to the gods to heap upon us mortal men besides our other woes this further grief for children lost, a grief surpass

ing all ?

Medea - Kind friends, long have I waited expectantly to know how things would at the palace chance. And lo! I see one of Jason's servants coming hither, whose hurried gasps for breath proclaim him the bearer of some fresh tidings.

Messenger - Fly, fly, Medeal who hast wrought an awful deed, transgressing every law; nor leave behind or sea-borne bark or car that scours the plain.

Medea -- Why, what hath chanced that calls for such a flight of mine?

Messenger — The princess is dead, a moment gone, and Creon too, her sire, slain by those drugs of thine.

Medea - Tidings most fair are thine! Henceforth shalt thou be ranked amongst my friends and benefactors.

Messenger -- Ha! What? Art sane? Art not distraught, lady, who hearest with joy the outrage to our royal house done, and art not at the horrid tale afraid?

Medea - Somewhat have I, too, to say in answer to thy words. Be not so hasty, friend, but tell the manner of their

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