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. Oh, ah, go away, alas! Never, oh never, did I dream that words so strange would greet my ears;
  2. or that sufferings so grievous to look upon, yes, and so grievous to endure, a tale of outrage, would strike my soul as if with double-pronged goad. Alas, O Fate, O Fate,
  3. I shudder to behold the plight that has befallen Io.
  1. You lament and are full of fear all too soon. Wait until you have learned the rest as well.
  1. Proceed, tell all. It is comforting for the sick to know clearly beforehand what pain still awaits them.
  1. You gained your former request easily from me; for you first desired the story of her ordeal from her own lips. Hear now the sequel, the sufferings this maid is fated to endure at Hera’s hand.
  2. And may you, daughter of Inachus, lay to heart my words so that you may learn the end of your wanderings. First, from this spot, turn yourself toward the rising sun and make your way over untilled plains; and you shall reach the Scythian nomads, who dwell
  3. in thatched houses, perched aloft on strong-wheeled wagons and are equipped with far-darting bows. Do not approach them, but keeping your feet near the rugged shore, where the sea breaks with a roar, pass on beyond their land. On the left hand dwell the workers in iron,
  4. the Chalybes, and you must beware of them, since they are savage and are not to be approached by strangers. Then you shall reach the river Hybristes,[*](Ὑβριστής, Violent from ὕβρις, violence.) which does not belie its name. Do not cross this, for it is hard to cross, until you come to Caucasus itself,
  5. loftiest of mountains, where from its very brows the river pours out its might in fury. You must pass over its crests, which neighbor the stars, and enter upon a southward course, where you shall reach the host of the Amazons, who loathe all men. They shall in time to come
  6. inhabit Themiscyra on the Thermodon, where, fronting the sea, is Salmydessus’ rugged jaw, evil host of mariners, step-mother of ships. The Amazons will gladly guide you on your way. Next, just at the narrow portals of the harbor, you shall reach
  7. the Cimmerian isthmus. This you must leave with stout heart and pass through the channel of Maeotis; and ever after among mankind there shall be great mention of your passing, and it shall be called after you the Bosporus.[*](Βόσπορος, by popular etymology derived from βοῦς and πόρος, passing of the cow, is, according to Wecklein, a Thracian form of Φωσφόρος, light-bearing, an epithet of the goddess Hecate. The dialectical form, once misunderstood, was then, it is conjectured, transferred from the Thracian (cp. Aesch. Pers. 746) to the Crimean strait. In theSuppliantsAeschylus makes Io cross the Thracian Bosporus.)Then, leaving the soil of Europe,
  8. you shall come to the Asian continent. Does it not seem to you that the tyrant of the gods is violent in all his ways? For this god, desirous of union with this mortal maid, has imposed upon her these wanderings. Maiden, you have gained a cruel suitor
  9. for your hand. As to the tale you now have heard— understand that it has not even passed the introduction.
  1. Ah me, ah me, alas!
  1. What! You are crying and groaning again? What will you do, I wonder, when you have learned the sufferings still in store for you?
  1. What! Can it be that you have sufferings still left to recount to her?
  1. Yes, a tempestuous sea of calamitous distress.
  1. What gain have I then in life? Why did I not hurl myself straightaway from this rugged rock, so that I was dashed to earth and freed from
  2. all my sufferings? It is better to die once and for all than linger out all my days in misery.