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.
Tell me what response thou bringest from Trophonius, touching our future hopes of mutual offspring.
He deigned not to forestal the prophecies of Phoebus. This only did he say, that neither thou nor I should return unto our house childless from the shrine.
Majestic mother of Phoebus, to our journey grant success, and may our previous dealings with thy son now find a better issue!
It will be so; but who acts as the god’s spokesman here?
I serve outside the shrine, others within,
who stand near the tripod, even the noblest of the Delphians chosen by lot, sir stranger.
’Tis well; I have attained the utmost of my wishes. I will go within; for I am told that a victim has been slain in public before the temple for strangers,
and to-day,—for it is a lucky day,—I would fain receive the god’s oracle. Do thou, my wife, take branches of laurel, and seated at the altars pray to the gods that I may carry home from Apollo’s shrine an answer that bodeth well for offspring.
All this shall be. Now, at any rate, if Loxias would retrieve his former sins, e’en though he cannot be my friend entirely, yet will I accept whate’er he deigns to give, because he is a god.
Why doth this stranger lady hint dark reproaches against the god
unceasingly, either out of affection for her on whose behalf she seeks the oracle, or maybe because she is hiding something needing secrecy? Yet what have I to do with the daughter of Erectheus? She is naught to me.
No, I will go to the laver, and from golden ewers sprinkle the holy water. Yet must I warn Phoebus of what is happening to him; he ravishes a maid and proves unfaithful to her, and after secretly begetting a son leaves him to die. O! Phoebus, do not so, but as thou art supreme,
follow in virtue’s track; for whosoever of mortal men transgresses, him the gods punish. How, then, can it be just that you should enact your laws for men, and yourselves incur the charge of breaking them? Now I will put this case, though it will never happen.
Wert thou, wert Poseidon, and Zeus, the lord of heaven, to make atonement to mankind for every act of lawless love, ye would empty your temples in paying the fines for your misdeeds. For when ye pursue pleasure in preference to the claims of prudence, ye act unjustly; no longer is it fair
to call men wicked, if we are imitating the evil deeds of gods, but rather those who give us such examples. [Exit Ion
On thee I call, Athena mine, at whose birth-throes no kindly goddess lent her aid,
delivered as thou wert by Titan Prometheus from the forehead of Zeus. Come, O lady Victory, come to the Pythian shrine, winging thy way from the gilded chambers of Olympus
to the city’s streets, where Phoebus at his altar on the centre of the world brings his oracles to pass beside the dance-encircled tripod;
come, too, thou daughter of Latona, together come, ye virgin goddesses, fair sisters of Phoebus! And be this your prayer, fair maidens, that the ancient house of Erechtheus
may obtain by clear oracles the blessing of children, though late it come.