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. Your prophecy is not easy to understand.
  1. Yes, so do not seek to learn the full extent of your own sufferings.
  1. Do not offer me a favor and then withdraw it.
  1. I will present you with one or other of two tales.
  1. Which two? Set them forth and offer me the choice.
  1. I am making the offer: choose whether I shall reveal the sufferings still in store for you or the one who will be my deliverer.
  1. Consent to bestow on her one of these favors, and on me the other; do not deny me the tale. Tell her about her further wanderings;
  2. tell me who will deliver you—for I would like to know this.
  1. Well, since you are bent on this, I will not refuse to proclaim all that you still crave to know. First, to you, Io, will I declare your much-vexed wandering, and may you engrave it on the recording tablets of your mind.
  2. When you have crossed the stream that bounds the two continents, toward the flaming east, where the sun walks,...... crossing the surging sea until you reach the Gorgonean plains of Cisthene, where the daughters of Phorcys dwell, ancient maids,
  3. three in number, shaped like swans, possessing one eye amongst them and a single tooth; neither does the sun with his beams look down upon them, nor ever the nightly moon. And near them are their three winged sisters, the snake-haired Gorgons, loathed of mankind,
  4. whom no one of mortal kind shall look upon and still draw breath. Such is the peril that I bid you to guard against. But now listen to another and a fearsome spectacle. Beware of the sharp-beaked hounds of Zeus that do not bark, the gryphons,
  5. and the one-eyed Arimaspian folk, mounted on horses, who dwell about the flood of Pluto’s[*](Πλούτον is an abbreviation of Πλουτοδότης or Πλουτοδοτήρ, giver of wealth; hence the apparent confusion with Πλούτος.)stream that flows with gold. Do not approach them. Then you shall come to a far-off country of a dark race that dwells by the waters of the sun, where the river Aethiop is.
  6. Follow along its banks until you reach the cataract, where, from the Bybline mountains, Nile sends forth his hallowed and sweet stream. He will conduct you on your way to the three-angled land of Nilotis, where, at last, it is ordained for you,
  7. O Io, and for your children to found your far-off colony. If anything of this is confusing to you and hard to understand, may you question me yet again, and gain a clear account; for I have more leisure than I crave.
  1. If there is anything still remaining or passed over
  2. of her direful wandering that you have to tell, oh speak. But if you have told all, grant us in turn the favor we request—you probably have it still in memory.
  1. She has now heard the full end of her travels; yet so she may know that she has heard no vain tale from me,
  2. I will describe the toils she has endured before she came here, giving this as a sure proof of my account. Most of the weary tale I shall leave out and come to the very close of your wanderings. For when you reached the Molossian plains
  3. and the sheer ridge that encircles Dodona, where lies the prophetic seat of Thesprotian Zeus and that marvel, passing all belief, the talking oaks, by which you clearly, and in no riddling terms, were saluted as the renowned