The Cyclops Monologue
|The Cyclops Monologue by Euripides|
- ULYSSES: Soon as we came into this craggy place,
- Kindling a fire, he cast on the broad hearth
- The knotty limbs of an enormous oak,
- Three wagon-loads at least, and then he strewed
- Upon the ground, beside the red firelight,
- His couch of pine leaves; and he milked the cows,
- And pouring forth the white milk, filled a bowl
- Three cubits wide and four in depth, as much
- As would contain ten amphorae, and bound it
- With ivy wreaths; then placed upon the fire
- A brazen pot to boil, and made red hot
- The points of spits, not sharpened with the sickle
- But with a fruit tree bough, and with the jaws
- Of axes for AE tnean slaughterings.
- And when this god-abandoned cook of hell
- Had made all ready, he seized two of us
- And killed them in a kind of measured manner;
- For he flung one against the brazen rivets
- Of the huge cauldron, and seized the other
- By the foot's tendon, and knocked out his brains
- Upon the sharp edge of the craggy stone:
- Then peeled his flesh with a great cooking-knife
- And put him down to roast. The other's limbs
- He chopped into the cauldron to be boiled.
- And I, with the tears raining from my eyes,
- Stood near the Cyclops, ministering to him;
- The rest, in the recesses of the cave,
- Clung to the rock like bats, bloodless with fear.
- When he was filled with my companions' flesh,
- He threw himself upon the ground and sent
- A loathsome exhalation from his maw.
- Then a divine thought came to me. I filled
- The cup of Maron, and I offered him
- To taste, and said:--"Child of the Ocean God,
- Behold what drink the vines of Greece produce,
- The exultation and the joy of Bacchus."
- He, satiated with his unnatural food,
- Received it, and at one draught drank it off,
- And taking my hand, praised me:--"Thou hast given
- A sweet draught after a sweet meal, dear guest."
- And I perceiving that it pleased him, filled
- Another cup, well knowing that the wine
- Would wound him soon and take a sure revenge.
- And the charm fascinated him, and I
- Plied him cup after cup, until the drink
- Had warmed his entrails, and he sang aloud
- In concert with my wailing fellow-seamen
- A hideous discord--and the cavern rung.
- I have stolen out, so that if you will
- You may achieve my safety and your own.
- But say, do you desire, or not, to fly
- This uncompanionable man, and dwell
- As was your wont among the Grecian Nymphs
- Within the fanes of your belovèd god?
- Your father there within agrees to it,
- But he is weak and overcome with wine,
- And caught as if with bird-lime by the cup,
- He claps his wings and crows in doting joy.
- You who are young escape with me, and find
- Bacchus your ancient friend; unsuited he
- To this rude Cyclops.
Credits: Reprinted from The Plays of Euripides in English, vol. i. Trans. Shelley Dean Milman. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1920.