Chorus Of Phoenician Women Poem by Euripides

Chorus Of Phoenician Women

Borne from Phoenician shores I cross'd the deep,
My tender years to Phoebus they consign
To sprinkle incense on his shrine,
And dwell beneath Parnassus' steep
O'erspread with everlasting snow:
Our dashing oars were plied in haste
Thro' the Ionian wave, whose eddies flow
Round Sicily's inhospitable waste;
Then vernal Zephyrs breath'd, our sails around,
And Heaven's high-vaulted roof convey'd the murmuring sound.

A chosen offering to the Delphic God,
I from my native city, to this land
Where aged Cadmus bore command,
Am come, obedient to the nod
Of those who from Agenor spring,
To the proud towers of Laius' race,
Our kindred govern'd by a kindred king.
Here stand I, like an image on its base,
Tho' destin'd to partake refin'd delights,
Bathe in Castalia's stream, and tend Apollo's rites.

O mountain, from whose cloven height,
There darts a double stream of light,
Oft on thy topmost ridge the Menades are seen,
And thou, each day distilling generous wine,
O plant of Bacchus, whose ripe clusters shine,
Blushing thro' the leaf's faint green;
Ye caves, in which the Python lay,
And hills, from whence Apollo twang'd his bow,
Around your heights o'erspread with snow,
'Midst my lov'd virgin comrades may I stray,
Each anxious fear expelling from my breast,
In the world's center, that auspicious fane
The residence of Phoebus blessed,
And bid adieu to Dirce's plain.

But now before these walls doth Mars advance,
And brandish slaughter's flaming torch around;
May Thebes ne'er feel the threaten'd wound,
For to a friend his friend's mischance
Is grevious as his own: each ill
That lights upon these sevenfold towers
With equal woe Phoenicia's realm must fall:
For Thebes I mourn; since of one blood with ours
From Io's loves this nation dates its birth,
Those sorrows I partake which vex my kindred earth.

Thick as a wintry cloud that phalanx stands,
Whose gleaming shields portend the bloody fight,
The God of War with stern delight,
Shall to the siege those hostile bands
Lead on, and rouse the Fiends to smite
The race of an incestuous bed:
Much, O Pelasgian Argos, much thy might,
And more the vengeance of the Gods I dread;
For arm'd with justice on his native land
Rushes that banish'd youth, the sceptre to demand.

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