Ion

Euripides

Euripides. The Plays of Euripides, Translated into English Prose from the Text of Paley. Vol. I. Coleridge, Edward P., translator. London: George Bell and Sons, 1906.

  1. and if I remain long time away after I have sacrificed to the gods of thy birth, let the feast be spread for all friends present.
  2. Therewith he took the heifers and went his way. Meantime his stripling son in solemn form set up with upright stays the tent, inclosed but not
    with walls,
  3. taking good heed to guard it ’gainst the blazing midday sun, nor less against his westering beams, the limit of his course; an oblong space of five score feet he meted out so that it contained ten thousand feet within that measure’s square, as science phrases it,
  4. intending to invite all Delphi to the feast. Then from the temple-treasury tapestry he took and therewith made a shelter, wondrous sight to see. First o’er the roof-tree he threw a canopy of robes, an offering Heracles, the son of Zeus,
  5. had brought unto the god from his Amazonian spoils. On them was broidered many a pictured scene, to wit, Heaven marshalling his host of stars upon the vaulted sky; there was the sun-god urging on his steeds toward his fiery goal, the bright star of evening at his heels.
  6. Night too in sable robes went hurrying by, drawn by a single pair, and the stars did bear her company. Across the zenith a Pleiad sailed, and Orion too with falchion dight was there; above was the bear making his tail to turn upon the golden pole.
  7. Up shot the moon’s full face, that parts the months in twain; there too the Hyades showed their unerring light to mariners; arid Dawn, that brings the morning back, was chasing the stars before her. Next on the sides he hung yet other tapestry;
  8. barbarian ships bearing down on the fleet of Hellas; and monsters half-man, half-beast; the capture of the Thracian steeds; the hunting of savage stags and lions fierce; while at the entry Cecrops close to his daughters was wreathing his coils, an offering of some Athenian
  9. votary; and in the midst of the banquet-hall he set goblets of gold, while a herald hasted and invited to the feast all citizens who would come. Then, when the tent was full, they decked themselves with garlands and took their fill
  10. of the rich viands. Anon after they had put from them the pleasure of eating came an old
    man and stood in the midst, where his officious zeal provoked loud laughter among the guests; for he would draw from the drinking-pitchers water to wash the hands withal and
  11. was wasting as incense the liquid myrrh, and in his charge he took the golden beakers, setting himself unasked to this office.
  12. Now when they were come to the time for the flute-players and the general libation, cried out that aged servitor, “Hence with these tiny cups! bring larger goblets,
  13. that our guests may find a quicker route to joyousness.” Thereon came servants bending ’neath the weight of goblets chased with silver and golden chalices; and that old man, as if to do his youthful lord a special service, chose out and offered to him a brimming bumper, when he had cast into the wine
  14. that potent philtre which, men say, his mistress gave to him to end the young man’s days on earth; and no man knew of this; but just as he so lately found held in his hand the drink-offering, the others following suit, some servant there uttered a word of evil import;
  15. whereat the stripling, as one who had been reared within the shrine amid reputed seers, deemed this an omen and bade them fill a fresh goblet, but that first drink-offering to the god he poured upon the ground and bade all others do the like. And silence stole upon them;
  16. while we with water and Phoenician wine were filling high the sacred bowls. While thus we were busied, comes a flight of doves and settles in the tent, for these dwell fearlessly in the courts of Loxias. Soon as the guests had poured away the luscious juice, those thirsty birds did dip their beaks therein,
  17. drawing it up into their feathered throats.
  18. Now all the rest received no hurt from the god’s libation, but one that settled on the spot where the son newfound had poured his wine, no sooner had tasted thereof,
    than convulsions seized her feathered form and she went triad, and screaming aloud uttered
  19. strange unwonted cries; and all the feasters gathered there marvelled to see the bird’s cruel agony, for she lay writhing in the toils of death, and her red claws relaxed their hold.
  20. Forthwith the son, vouchsafed by oracles, bared his arm by casting off his cloak and stretched it out across the board