The Persians Monologue
|The Persians Monologue by Aeschylus|
- ATOSSA: Ever have nightly visions manifold
- Beset me, since, intent on ravaging
- Ionia's soil, my son led forth his power.
- But never saw I dream so manifest
- As that of yesternight;--I'll tell it thee;--
- Methought two women came before my sight,
- Richly apparelled, this in Persian robes
- Was habited, and that in Dorian garb;
- In height above their sex pre-eminent,
- Faultless in beauty, sisters of one race.
- As Fatherland the one by lot had gained
- Hellas, the other the Barbaric land.
- Between these twain, for so methought I saw,
- Some feud arose, which learning, straight my son
- Strove to appease and soothe; he to his car
- Yoked them, and placed the collar on their necks.
- Proudly the one exulted in this gear,
- And kept her mouth submissive to the reins;
- Restive the other was; she with her hands
- The chariot-harness rends, then, without bit,
- Whirls it along, snapping the yoke asunder.
- Prone falls my son, and close at hand his sire,
- Darius, pitying stands, whom when he sees,
- The robes about his person Xerxes rends.
- Such was, I say, my vision of the night.
- When I arose and with my hands had touched
- Fountain clear-flowing, I the altar neared
- With sacrificial hand, wishing to pay
- To the averting gods, to whom belong
- Such rites, oblations; forthwith I behold
- An eagle fleeing straight to Phoebus' hearth.
- Speechless I stood through terror, friends; anon,
- A kite I see borne forward on swift wing,
- Tearing with talons fierce the eagle's head;
- Meanwhile the eagle nothing did but cower,
- His body tamely yielding to the foe.
- Dreadful these portents are to me who saw
- And you who hear: for well ye know, my son,
- If victor, were a man with glory crowned,
- Yet worsted, to the state gives no account,
- And saved, he none the less this realm will sway.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramas of Aeschylus. Trans. Anna Swanwick. London: George Bell and Sons, 1907.