Aeschylus

(525 BC - 455 BC / Eleusis)

A Prayer For Artemis


STROPHE IV

Though Zeus plan all things right,
Yet is his heart's desire full hard to trace;
Nathless in every place
Brightly it gleameth, e'en in darkest night,
Fraught with black fate to man's speech-gifted race.

ANTISTROPHE IV

Steadfast, ne'er thrown in fight,
The deed in brow of Zeus to ripeness brought;
For wrapt in shadowy night,
Tangled, unscanned by mortal sight,
Extend the pathways of his secret thought.

STROPHE V

From towering hopes mortals he hurleth prone
To utter doom; but for their fall
No force arrayeth he; for all
That gods devise is without effort wrought.
A mindful Spirit aloft on holy throne
By inborn energy achieves his thought.

ANTISTROPHE V

But let him mortal insolence behold:--
How with proud contumacy rife,
Wantons the stem in lusty life
My marriage craving;--frenzy over-bold,
Spur ever-pricking, goads them on to fate,
By ruin taught their folly all too late.

STROPHE VI

Thus I complain, in piteous strain,
Grief-laden, tear-evoking, shrill;
Ah woe is me! woe! woe!
Dirge-like it sounds; mine own death-trill
I pour, yet breathing vital air.
Hear, hill-crowned Apia, hear my prayer!
Full well, O land,
My voice barbaric thou canst understand;
While oft with rendings I assail
My byssine vesture and Sidonian veil.

ANTISTROPHE VI

My nuptial right in Heaven's pure sight
Pollution were, death-laden, rude;
Ah woe is me! woe! woe!
Alas for sorrow's murky brood!
Where will this billow hurl me? Where?
Hear, hill-crowned Apia, hear my prayer;
Full well, O land,
My voice barbaric thou canst understand,
While oft with rendings I assail
My byssine vesture and Sidonian veil.

STROPHE VII

The oar indeed and home with sails
Flax-tissued, swelled with favoring gales,
Staunch to the wave, from spear-storm free,
Have to this shore escorted me,
Nor so far blame I destiny.
But may the all-seeing Father send
In fitting time propitious end;
So our dread Mother's mighty brood,
The lordly couch may 'scape, ah me,
Unwedded, unsubdued!

ANTISTROPHE VII

Meeting my will with will divine,
Daughter of Zeus, who here dost hold
Steadfast thy sacred shrine,--
Me, Artemis unstained, behold,
Do thou, who sovereign might dost wield,
Virgin thyself, a virgin shield;

So our dread Mother's mighty brood
The lordly couch may 'scape, ah me,
Unwedded, unsubdued!

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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