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Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861 : PROMETHEUS BOUND. [from Poetical works (1897): TRANSLATIONS]

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Laura Jane Wey

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[Page 555 ]
Io , daughter of Inachus .
Strength and Force .
Chorus of Sea Nymphs.
1 We reach the utmost limit of the earth,
2 The Scythian track, the desert without man.
3 And now, Hephæstus, thou must needs fulfil
4 The mandate of our Father, and with links
5 Indissoluble of adamantine chains
6 Fasten against this beetling precipice
7 This guilty god. Because he filched away
8 Thine own bright flower, the glory of plastic fire,
9 And gifted mortals with it,---such a sin
10 It doth behove he expiate to the gods,
11 Learning to accept the empery of Zeus
12 And leave off his old trick of loving man.
13 O Strength and Force, for you, our Zeus's will
14 Presents a deed for doing, no more!---but I,
15 I lack your daring, up this storm-rent chasm
16 To fix with violent hands a kindred god,
17 Howbeit necessity compels me so
18 That I must dare it, and our Zeus commands
19 With a most inevitable word. Ho, thou!
20 High-thoughted son of Themis who is sage!
21 Thee loth, I loth must rivet fast in chains
22 Against this rocky height unclomb by man,
23 Where never human voice nor face shall find
24 Out thee who lov'st them, and thy beauty's flower,
25 Scorched in the sun's clear heat, shall fade away.
26 Night shall come up with garniture of stars
27 To comfort thee with shadow, and the sun
28 Disperse with retrickt beams the morning-frosts,
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 1806-1861 : PROMETHEUS
BOUND. [from Poetical works (1897): TRANSLATIONS]
C.de Souza ENGB30H3 Page 1

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28 Disperse with retrickt beams the morning-frosts,
29 But through all changes sense of present woe
30 Shall vex thee sore, because with none of them
31 There comes a hand to free. Such fruit is plucked
32 From love of man! and in that thou, a god,
33 Didst brave the wrath of gods and give away
34 Undue respect to mortals, for that crime
35 Thou art adjudged to guard this joyless rock,
36 Erect, unslumbering, bending not the knee,
37 And many a cry and unavailing moan
38 To utter on the air. For Zeus is stern,
39 And new-made kings are cruel.
39 Be it so.
40 Why loiter in vain pity? Why not hate
41 A god the gods hate? one too who betrayed
[Page 556 ]
42 Thy glory unto men?
42 An awful thing
43 Is kinship joined to friendship.
43 Grant it be;
44 Is disobedience to the Father's word
45 A possible thing? Dost quail not more for that?
46 Thou, at least, art a stern one: ever bold.
47 Why, if I wept, it were no remedy;
48 And do not thou spend labour on the air
49 To bootless uses.
49 Cursed handicraft!
50 I curse and hate thee, O my craft!
50 Why hate
51 Thy craft most plainly innocent of all
52 These pending ills?
52 I would some other hand
53 Were here to work it!
53 All work hath its pain,
54 Except to rule the gods. There is none free
55 Except King Zeus.
55 I know it very well:
56 I argue not against it.
56 Why not, then,
57 Make haste and lock the fetters over him
58 Lest Zeus behold thee lagging?
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57 Make haste and lock the fetters over him
58 Lest Zeus behold thee lagging?
58 Here be chains.
59 Zeus may behold these.
59 Seize him: strike amain:
60 Strike with the hammer on each side his hands---
61 Rivet him to the rock.
61 The work is done,
62 And thoroughly done.
62 Still faster grapple him;
63 Wedge him in deeper: leave no inch to stir.
64 He's terrible for finding a way out
65 From the irremediable.
65 Here's an arm, at least,
66 Grappled past freeing.
66 Now then, buckle me
67 The other securely. Let this wise one learn
68 He's duller than our Zeus.
68 Oh, none but he
69 Accuse me justly.
69 Now, straight through the chest,
70 Take him and bite him with the clenching tooth
71 Of the adamantine wedge, and rivet him.
72 Alas, Prometheus, what thou sufferest here
73 I sorrow over.
73 Dost thou flinch again
74 And breathe groans for the enemies of Zeus?
75 Beware lest thine own pity find thee out.
76 Thou dost behold a spectacle that turns
77 The sight o' the eyes to pity.
77 I behold
78 A sinner suffer his sin's penalty.
79 But lash the thongs about his sides.
79 So much,
80 I must do. Urge no farther than I must.
81 Ay, but I will urge!---and, with shout on shout,
82 Will hound thee at this quarry. Get thee down
83 And ring amain the iron round his legs.
84 That work was not long doing.
84 Heavily now
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