The Suppliants Monologue
|The Suppliants Monologue by Euripides|
- IPHIS: Why was this privilege, alas! denied
- To mortals, twice to flourish in the bloom
- Of youth, and for a second time grow old?
- For in our houses, we, if aught is found
- To have been ill contrived, amend the fault
- Which our maturer judgment hath descried;
- While each important error in our life
- Admits of no reform: but if with youth
- And ripe old age we twice had been indulged,
- Each devious step that marked our first career
- We in our second might set right. For children,
- Seeing that others had them, much I wished,
- And pined away with vehement desire;
- But if I had already felt these pangs,
- And from my own experience learnt how great
- Is the calamity to a fond father
- To be bereft of all his hopeful race,
- I into such distress had never fallen
- As now o'erwhelms me, who begot a youth
- Distinguished by his courage, and of him
- Am no deprived. No more. But what remains
- For me--wretch that I am? Shall I return
- To my own home, view many houses left
- Without inhabitants, and waste the dregs
- Of life in hopeless anguish, or repair
- To the abode of Capaneus, with joy
- By me frequented while my daughter lived?
- But she is now no more, who loved to kiss
- My furrowed cheeks and stroked this hoary head.
- Nought can delight us more than the attention
- Which to her aged sire a daughter pays:
- Though our male progeny have souls endued
- With courage far superior, yet less gently
- Do they these soothing offices perform.
- Will ye not quickly drag me to my home,
- And in some dungeon's gloomy hold confine,
- To wear away these aged limbs by famine?
- Me, what, alas! can it avail to touch
- My daughter's bones! What hatred do I bear
- To thee, O irresistible old age!
- Them, too, my soul abhors who vainly strive
- To lengthen out our little span of life;
- By th' easy vehicle, the downy couch,
- And by the boasted aid of magic song,
- Labouring to turn aside from his career
- Remorseless death: when they who have no longer
- The strength required to serve their native land
- Should vanish, and to younger men give place.
Credits: Reprinted from The Plays of Euripides in English, vol. ii. Trans. Shelley Dean Milman. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1922.