Prometheus Bound


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. Alas! Alas! Offspring of fruitful Tethys and of him who with his sleepless current encircles the whole earth, children of your
  2. father Oceanus, behold, see with what fetters, upon the summit crag of this ravine, I am to hold my unenviable watch.
  1. I see, Prometheus;
  2. and over my eyes a mist of tears and fear spread as I saw your body withering ignominiously upon this rock in these bonds of adamant. For there are new rulers in heaven, and Zeus governs with
  3. lawless customs; that which was mighty before he now brings to nothing.
  1. Oh if only he had hurled me below the earth, yes beneath Hades, the entertainer of the dead, into impassable Tartarus,
  2. and had ruthlessly fastened me in fetters no hand can loose, so that neither god nor any other might have gloated over this agony I feel! But, now, a miserable plaything of the winds, I suffer pains to delight my enemies.
  1. Who of the gods is so hard of heart as to exult in this? Who does not sympathize with your woes—save only Zeus? But he in malice, has set his soul inflexibly
  2. and keeps in subjection the race sprung from Uranus; nor will he stop, until he has satiated his soul or another seizes his impregnable empire by some device of guile.
  1. Truly the day shall come when, although I am tortured in stubborn fetters,
  2. the prince of the blessed will need me to reveal the new design whereby he shall be stripped of his sceptre and his dignities. Not by persuasion’s honeyed enchantments will he charm me;
  3. and I will never, cowering before his dire threats, divulge this secret, until he releases me from my cruel bonds and provides compensation for this outrage.
  1. You are bold, and do not yield to your bitter pangs; you give too much license to your tongue. But my soul is agitated by piercing fear, and I am in dread about your fate,
  2. wondering to what haven you must steer your ship to see an end of your voyage of sorrow. For the heart of Cronus’ son is hardened against entreaty and his ways are inexorable.
  1. I know that Zeus is harsh and
  2. keeps justice in his own hands; but nevertheless one day his judgement will soften, when he has been crushed in the way that I know.[*](A veiled allusion to the secret hinted at in l.171.)Then, calming down his stubborn wrath, he shall at last bond with me in union and friendship,
  3. as eager as I am to welcome him.
  1. Unfold the whole story and tell us upon what charge Zeus has caught you and painfully punishes you with such dishonor. Instruct us, unless, indeed, there is some harm in telling.
  1. It is painful to me to tell the tale,
  2. painful to keep it silent. My case is unfortunate every way. When first the heavenly powers were moved to wrath, and mutual dissension was stirred up among them—some bent on casting Cronus from his seat so Zeus, in truth, might reign; others, eager for