A monologue from the play by Euripides


NOTE: This translation of Rhesus was published in 1913. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

MUSE: I say to thee: Curse Odysseus, and cursèd by Diomede!
For they made me childless, and forlorn for ever, of the flower of sons.
Yea, curse Helen, who left the house of Hellas.
She knew her lover, she feared not the ships and sea.
She called thee, called thee, to die for the sake of Paris,
Belovèd, and a thousand cities she made empty of good men.
O conquered Thamyris, is this thy bane
Returned from death to pierce my heart again?
Thy pride it was, and bitter challenge cast
'Gainst all the Muses, did my flesh abase
To bearing of this Child, what time I passed
Through the deep stream and looked on Strymon's face,
And felt his great arms clasp me, when to old
Pangaion and the earth of hoarded gold
We Sisters came with lutes and psalteries,
Provoked to meet in bitter strife of song
That mountain wizard, and made dark the eyes
Of Thamyris, who wrought sweet music wrong.
I bore the, Child; and then, in shame before
My sisterhood, my dear virginity,
I stood again upon thy Father's shore
And cast thee to the deeps of him; and he
Received and to no mortal nursing gave
His child, but to the Maidens of the Wave.
And well they nursed thee, and a king thou wast
And first of Thrace in war; yea, far and near
Through thine own hills thy bloody chariot passed,
Thy battered helm flashed, and I had no fear;
Only to Troy I charged thee not to go:
I knew the fated end: But Hector's cry,
Borne overseas by embassies of woe,
Called thee to battle for thy friends and die.
And thou, Athena -- nothing was the deed
Odysseus wrought this night nor Diomede--
'Tis thine, all thine; dram not thy cruel hand
Is hid from me! Yet ever on thy land
The Muse hath smiled; we give it praise above
All cities, yea, fulfilled it with out love.
The light of thy great Mysteries was shed
By Orpheus, very cousin of this dead
Whom thou has slain; and thine high citizen
Musaeus, wisest of the tribe of men,
We and Apollo guided all his way:
For which long love behold the gift ye pay!
I wreathe him in my arms; I wail his wrong
Alone, and ask no other mourner's song.
[She weeps over RHESUS.]