A monologue from the play by Euripides
TRANSLATED BY GILBERT MURRAY
|NOTE: This translation of Rhesus was published in 1913. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.
- MUSE: I say to thee: Curse Odysseus, and cursèd by Diomede!
- For they made me childless, and forlorn for ever, of the flower of sons.
- Yea, curse Helen, who left the house of Hellas.
- She knew her lover, she feared not the ships and sea.
- She called thee, called thee, to die for the sake of Paris,
- Belovèd, and a thousand cities she made empty of good men.
- O conquered Thamyris, is this thy bane
- Returned from death to pierce my heart again?
- Thy pride it was, and bitter challenge cast
- 'Gainst all the Muses, did my flesh abase
- To bearing of this Child, what time I passed
- Through the deep stream and looked on Strymon's face,
- And felt his great arms clasp me, when to old
- Pangaion and the earth of hoarded gold
- We Sisters came with lutes and psalteries,
- Provoked to meet in bitter strife of song
- That mountain wizard, and made dark the eyes
- Of Thamyris, who wrought sweet music wrong.
- I bore the, Child; and then, in shame before
- My sisterhood, my dear virginity,
- I stood again upon thy Father's shore
- And cast thee to the deeps of him; and he
- Received and to no mortal nursing gave
- His child, but to the Maidens of the Wave.
- And well they nursed thee, and a king thou wast
- And first of Thrace in war; yea, far and near
- Through thine own hills thy bloody chariot passed,
- Thy battered helm flashed, and I had no fear;
- Only to Troy I charged thee not to go:
- I knew the fated end: But Hector's cry,
- Borne overseas by embassies of woe,
- Called thee to battle for thy friends and die.
- And thou, Athena -- nothing was the deed
- Odysseus wrought this night nor Diomede--
- 'Tis thine, all thine; dram not thy cruel hand
- Is hid from me! Yet ever on thy land
- The Muse hath smiled; we give it praise above
- All cities, yea, fulfilled it with out love.
- The light of thy great Mysteries was shed
- By Orpheus, very cousin of this dead
- Whom thou has slain; and thine high citizen
- Musaeus, wisest of the tribe of men,
- We and Apollo guided all his way:
- For which long love behold the gift ye pay!
- I wreathe him in my arms; I wail his wrong
- Alone, and ask no other mourner's song.
- [She weeps over RHESUS.]