Prometheus Bound

Aeschylus

Aeschylus, creator; Aeschylus with an English translation Vol I. Smyth, Herbert Weir, 1857- 1937, editor, translator. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd.: 1922.

  1. To earth’s remotest limit we come, to the Scythian land, an untrodden solitude. And now, Hephaestus, yours is the charge to observe the mandates laid upon you by the Father—to clamp this miscreant
  2. upon the high craggy rocks in shackles of binding adamant that cannot be broken. For your own flower, flashing fire, source of all arts, he has purloined and bestowed upon mortal creatures. Such is his offence; for this he is bound to make requital to the gods,
  3. so that he may learn to bear with the sovereignty of Zeus and cease his man-loving ways.
Hephaestus
  1. Power and Force, for you indeed the behest of Zeus is now fulfilled, and nothing remains to stop you. But for me—I do not have the nerve myself
  2. to bind with force a kindred god upon this rocky cleft assailed by cruel winter. Yet, come what may, I am constrained to summon courage to this deed; for it is perilous to disregard the commandments of the Father. Lofty-minded son of Themis who counsels straight, against my will, no less than yours, I must rivet you with brazen bonds
  3. no hand can loose to this desolate crag, where neither voice nor form of mortal man shall you perceive; but, scorched by the sun’s bright beams, you shall lose the fair bloom of your flesh. And glad you shall be when spangled-robed night shall veil his brightness and
  4. when the sun shall scatter again the frost of morning. Evermore the burden of your present ill shall wear you out; for your deliverer is not yet born. Such is the prize you have gained for your championship of man. For, god though you are, you did not fear the wrath of the gods, but
  5. you bestowed honors upon mortal creatures beyond their due. Therefore on this joyless rock you must stand sentinel, erect, sleepless, your knee unbent. And many a groan and unavailing lament you shall utter; for the heart of Zeus is hard,
  6. and everyone is harsh whose power is new.
Power
  1. Well, why delay and excite pity in vain? Why do you not detest a god most hateful to the gods, since he has betrayed your prerogative to mortals?
Hephaestus
  1. A strangely potent tie is kinship, and companionship as well.
Power
  1. I agree; yet to refuse to obey the commands of the Father; is this possible? Do you not fear that more?
Hephaestus
  1. Yes, you are ever pitiless and steeped in insolence.
Power
  1. Yes, for it does not good to bemoan this fellow. Stop wasting your labor at an unprofitable task.
Hephaestus
  1. Oh handicraft that I hate so much!
Power
  1. Why hate it? Since in truth your craft is in no way to blame for these present troubles.
Hephaestus
  1. Nevertheless, i wish it had fallen to another’s lot!
Power
  1. Every job is troublesome except to be the commander of gods;
  2. no one is free except Zeus.
Hephaestus
  1. I know it by this task; I cannot deny it.