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. No, also tell me the end of my wandering—what time is set for wretched me.
  1. It would be better not to know than to know, in your case.
  1. I beg you, do not hide from me what I am doomed to suffer.
  1. No, it is not that I do not want to grant your request.
  1. Why then your reluctance to tell me everything?
  1. I am not unwilling; but I hesitate to crush your spirit.
  1. Do not be more kind to me than I myself desire.
  1. Since you insist, I must speak. Listen, then.
  1. No, not yet. Grant us too a portion of the pleasure. Let us first inquire the story of her affliction and let her with her own lips relate the events that brought horrid calamity upon her. Then let her be instructed by you as to the toils still to come.
  1. It is for you, Io, to grant them this favor, especially since they are your father’s sisters. For it is worthwhile to indulge in weeping and in wailing over evil fortunes when one is likely to win the tribute of a tear from the listener.
  1. I do not know how to refuse you. You shall learn in truthful speech all that you would like to know. Yet I am ashamed to tell about the storm of calamity sent by Heaven, of the marring of my form, and of the source from which it swooped upon me, wretched that I am.
  2. For visions of the night, always haunting my maiden chamber, sought to beguile me with seductive words, saying: O damsel greatly blessed of fortune, why linger in your maidenhood so long when it is within your power to win a union of the highest? Zeus is inflamed by passion’s dart
  3. for you and is eager to unite with you in love. Do not, my child, spurn the bed of Zeus, but go forth to Lerna’s meadow land of pastures deep and to your father’s flocks and where his cattle feed, so that the eye of Zeus may find respite from its longing.
  4. By such dreams was I, to my distress, beset night after night, until at last I gained courage to tell my father of the dreams that haunted me. And he sent many a messenger to Pytho and Dodona so that he might discover
  5. what deed or word of his would find favor with the gods. But they returned with report of oracles, riddling, obscure, and darkly worded. Then at last there came an unmistakable utterance to Inachus, charging and commanding him clearly that
  6. he must thrust me forth from home and native land to roam at large to the remotest confines of the earth; and, if he would not, a fiery thunderbolt would come from Zeus that would utterly destroy his whole race. Yielding obedience to such prophetic utterances of Loxias,
  7. he drove me away and barred me from his house, against his will and mine; but the constraint of Zeus forced him to act by necessity. Immediately my form and mind were distorted, and with horns, as you see, upon my forehead,
  8. stung by a sharp-fanged gadfly I rushed with frantic bounds to Cerchnea’s sweet stream and Lerna’s spring. But Argus, the earth-born herdsman, untempered in his rage, pursued me, peering with his many eyes upon my steps.
  9. A sudden death robbed him of life unexpectedly; while I, still tormented by the gadfly, am driven on from land to land before the heaven-sent plague. That is what happened ; and if you can declare what toils still remain, reveal them. Do not, from pity, seek
  10. to soothe me with untrue words ; for I consider false words to be the foulest sickness.