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lo, daughter of Inachus.
STRENGTH and Force.
Chorus of Ocean Nymphs.
SCENE,_STRENGTH and FORCE, HEPHÆSTUS and PROMETHEUS, at
W E reach the utmost limit of the earth,
The Scythian track, the desert without man,-
And now, Hephæstus, thou must needs fulfill
The mandate of our father, and, with links
Indissoluble of adamantine chains,
Fasten against this beetling precipice,
This guilty god! Because he filched away
Thine own bright flower, the glory of plastic fire,
And gifted mortals with it,—such a sin,
It doth behoove he expiate to the gods,
And learn free service to the rule of Zeus,
And leave disused his trick of loving man.
Hephæstus. O Strength and Force, for you, our
Presents a deed for doing.–No more !—but I,
I lack your daring, up this storm-rent chasm,
To fix with violent hands a kindred god,
Howbeit necessity compels me so
That I must dare it,—and our Zeus commands
With word as heavy as bolts—inevitable !
Ho!-lofty son of Themis, who is sage,
Thee loth, I loth, must rivet fast in chains
Against this rocky height unclomb by man,
Where never human voice nor face shall find
Out thee, who lov’st them !—where thy beauty's
Scorched in the sun's clear heat, shall fade away,
And night come up with garniture of stars
To comfort thee with shadow, and the sun
Disperse, with retrickt beams, the morning frosts;
And through all changes, sense of present woe
Shall vex thee sore, because, with none of them
There comes a hand to free. Such fruit is plucked
From love of man !—for in that thou, a god,
Didst brave the wrath of gods, and give away
Undue respect to mortals; for that crime
Thou art adjudged to guard this joyless rock,
Erect, unslumbering, bending not the knee,
And many a cry and unavailing moan
To utter on the air! For Zeus is stern,
And new-made kings are cruel.
Be it so.
Why loiter in vain pity? Why not hate
A god the gods hate ?—one too who betrayed
Thy glory unto men?
Hephæstus. An awful thing
Is kinship joined to friendship.
Grant it be;
Is disobedience to the Father's word
A possible thing? Dost quail not more for that?
Hephæstus. Thou, at least, art a stern one! ever
Strength. Why, if I wept, it were no remedy! And do not thou spend labor on the air To bootless uses.
Hephæstus. Cursed handicraft !
I curse and hate thee, O my craft!
Thy craft, most plainly innocent of all
These pending ills ?
Hephæstus. I would some other hand
Were here to work it!
All work hath its pain,
Except to rule the gods. There is none free
Except King Zeus.
Hephæstus. I know it very well :
I argue not against it.
Why not, then,
Make haste, and bind the fetters over him,
Lest Zeus behold thee lagging.
Here be chains
Zeus may behold these. .
Seize him,—strike amain!
Strike with the hammer on each side his bands-
Rivet him to the rock.
The work is done,
And thoroughly done.
Still faster grapple him,-
Wedge him in deeper,— leave no inch to stir!
He's terrible for finding a way out
Where others could not.
Here's an arm, at least,
Grappled past freeing.
Now, then, clench along
The other strongly. Let the sophist learn
He's duller than our Zeus.
Oh, none but HE Accuse me justly!
Strength. Now, straight through the chest, Take him and bite him with the clenching tooth Of the adamantine wedge, and rivet him. Hephæstus. Alas, Prometheus! what thou suffer
est here, I sorrow over.
Strength. Dost thou shrink again,
And breathe groans for the enemies of Zeus ?
Beware, lest thine own pity find thee out.
Hephæstus. Thou dost behold a spectacle that turns
The sight o' the eyes to pity.
A sinner suffer his sin's penalty.
But lash the thongs about his sides.
I must do. Urge no farther than I must.
Strength. Ay, but I will urge !—and, with shout
Will hound thee at this quarry! Get thee down
And ring amain the iron round his legs!
Hephæstus. That work was not long doing.
Let fall the strokes upon the perforant gyves !
For He who rates the work has a heavy hand.
Hephæstus. Thy speech is savage as thy shape.
Gentle and tender! but revile not me
For the firm will and the untruckling hate.
Hephæstus. Let us go! He is netted round with
chains. Strength. Here, now, taunt on! and having
spoiled the gods
Of honors, crown withal thy mortal men
Who live a whole day out! Why how could they
Draw off from thee one single of thy griefs ?
Methinks the Demons gave thee a wrong name,
Prometheus, which means Providence,–because
Thou dost thyself require a providence,
To escape the crushing of this rolling Doom.
Prometheus alone. O holy Æther, and swift-
And River-wells, and laughter infinite
Of yon Sea-waves! Earth, mother of us all,
And all-viewing cyclic Sun, I cry on you !-
Behold me a god, what I endure from gods !
Behold, with throe on throe,
How, wasted by this woe,
I wrestle down the myriad years of Time !
Behold, how, fast around me,
The new King of the happy ones sublime
Has flung the chain he forged, has shamed and
Woe, woe! to-day's woe and the coming mor-
I cover with one groan! And where is found me
A limit to these sorrows ?
And yet what word do I say? I have foreknown
Clearly all things that should be—nothing done,
Comes sudden to my soul—and I must bear
What is ordained with patience, being aware
Necessity doth front the universe
With an invincible gesture. Yet this curse
Which strikes me now, I find it hard to brave
In silence or in speech. Because I gave
Honor to mortals, I have yoked my soul
To this compelling fate! Because I stole