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. Or, can it be that for all your exceeding wisdom, you do not know that chastisement is inflicted on a wagging tongue?
  1. I envy you because you have escaped blame for having dared to share with me in my troubles.[*](The reading of the MSS can only mean that Oceanus had participated throughout in the rebellion of Prometheus; whereas, in l. 236, Prometheus expressly declares that he had no confederate in his opposition to Zeus.)So now leave me alone and let it not concern you.
  2. Do what you want, you cannot persuade him; for he is not easy to persuade. Beware that you do not do yourself harm by the mission you take.
  1. In truth, you are far better able to admonish others than yourself. It is by fact, not by hearsay, that I judge.
  2. So do not hold back one who is eager to go. For I am confident, yes, confident, that Zeus will grant me this favor, to free you from your sufferings.
  1. I thank you for all this and shall never cease to thank you; in zeal you lack nothing, but do not trouble yourself; for your trouble will be vain and
  2. not helpful to me—if indeed you want to take the pain. No, keep quiet and keep yourself clear of harm. For even if I am in sore plight, I would not wish affliction on everyone else. No, certainly, no! since, besides, I am distressed by the fate
  3. of my brother Atlas, who, towards the west, stands bearing on his shoulders the pillar of heaven and earth, a burden not easy for his arms to grasp. Pity moved me, too, at the sight of the earth-born dweller of the Cilician caves curbed by violence, that destructive monster
  4. of a hundred heads, impetuous Typhon. He withstood all the gods, hissing out terror with horrid jaws, while from his eyes lightened a hideous glare, as though he would storm by force the sovereignty of Zeus.
  5. But the unsleeping bolt of Zeus came upon him, the swooping lightning brand with breath of flame, which struck him, frightened, from his loud-mouthed boasts; then, stricken to the very heart, he was burnt to ashes and his strength blasted from him by the lightning bolt.
  6. And now, a helpless and a sprawling bulk, he lies hard by the narrows of the sea, pressed down beneath the roots of Aetna; while on the topmost summit Hephaestus sits and hammers the molten ore. There, one day, shall burst forth
  7. rivers of fire,[*](The eruption of Aetna in 479/8 B.C. is also described in a famous passage of Pindar (Pind. P 1.21, written in 470 B.C.), which Aeschylus has here in mind. The lyric poet dwells on the physical aspect of the eruption by day and night; the dramatist, on the damage done to the labor of the husbandman.)with savage jaws devouring the level fields of Sicily, land of fair fruit—such boiling rage shall Typho, although charred by the blazing lightning of Zeus, send spouting forth with hot jets of appalling, fire-breathing surge.
  8. But you are not inexperienced, and do not need me to teach you. Save yourself, as you know best; while I exhaust my present lot until the time comes when the mind of Zeus shall abandon its wrath.
  1. Do you not know then, Prometheus, that
  2. words are the physicians of a disordered temper?
  1. If one softens the soul in season, and does not hasten to reduce its swelling rage by violence.
  1. What lurking mischief do you see when daring joins to zeal? Teach me this.
  1. Lost labor and thoughtless simplicity.
  1. Leave me to be affected by this, since it is most advantageous, when truly wise, to be deemed a fool.
  1. This fault will be seen to be my own.