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. Can it be that Zeus has less power than they do?
  1. Yes, in that even he cannot escape what is foretold.
  1. Why, what is fated for Zeus except to hold eternal sway?
  1. This you must not learn yet; do not be over-eager.
  1. It is some solemn secret, surely, that you enshroud in mystery.
  1. Think of some other subject, for it is not the proper time to speak of this. No matter what, this must be kept concealed; for it is by safeguarding it that
  2. I am to escape my dishonorable bonds and outrage.
  1. May Zeus, who apportions everything, never set his power in conflict with my will,
  2. nor may I be slow to approach the gods, with holy sacrifices of oxen slain, by the side of the ceaseless stream of Oceanus, my father;
  3. and may I not offend in speech; but may this rule abide in my heart and never fade away.
  1. Sweet it is to pass all the length of life amid confident hopes, feeding the heart in glad festivities. But I shudder
  2. as I look on you, racked by infinite tortures. You have no fear of Zeus, Prometheus, but in self-will you reverence mortals too much.
  1. Come, my friend, how mutual was your reciprocity? Tell me, what kind of help is there in creatures of a day? What aid? Did you not see the helpless infirmity, no better than a dream, in which the blind
  2. generation of men is shackled? Never shall the counsels of mortal men transgress the ordering of Zeus.
  1. I have learned this lesson from observing the luck, Prometheus, that has brought about your ruin. And the difference in the song stole into my thought
  2. —this song and that, which, about your bridal bed and bath, I raised to grace your marriage, when you wooed with gifts
  3. and won my sister Hesione to be your wedded wife.
Enter Io[*](In vase-paintings after the time of Aeschylus, and possibly due to his influence, Io was often represented as wearing horns to symbolize her transformation into a heifer. The pure beast-type was the rule in earlier vases.)
  1. What land is this? What people? By what name am I to call the one I see exposed to the tempest in bonds of rock? What offence have you committed that as punishment you are doomed to destruction?
  2. Tell me to what region of the earth I have wandered in my wretchedness?
  1. Oh, oh! Aah! Aah! A gad-fly, phantom of earth-born Argus is stinging me again! Keep him away, O Earth! I am fearful when I behold that myriad-eyed herdsman. He travels onward with his crafty gaze upon me;