Instant Monologues
Aeschylus Prometheus Io Instant Monologue

by Aeschylus


I know not how I should disobey you; and in a plain tale ye shall learn everything that ye desire; and yet I am pained even to speak of the tempest that hath been sent upon me from heaven, and the utter marring of my person, whence it suddenly came upon me, a wretched creature! For nightly visions thronging to my maiden chamber, would entice me with smooth words: "O damsel, greatly fortunate, why dost thou live long time in maidenhood, when it is in thy power to achieve a match the very noblest? for Jupiter is fired by thy charms with the shaft of passion, and longs with thee to share in love. But do not, my child, spurn away from thee the couch of Jupiter; but go forth to Lerna's fertile mead, to the folds and ox-stalls of thy father, that the eye of Jove may have respite from its longing" By dreams such as these was I unhappy beset every night, until at length I made bold to tell my sire of the dreams that haunted me by night. And he dispatched both to Pytho and Dodona many a messenger to consult the oracles, that he might learn what it behooved him to do or say, so as to perform what was well-pleasing to the divinities. And they came bringing a report back of oracles ambiguously worded, indistinct, and obscurely delivered. But at last a clear response came to Inachus, plainly charging and directing him to thrust me forth both from my home and my country, to stray an outcast to earth's remotest limits; and that, if he would not, a fiery-visaged thunder-bolt would come from Jupiter, and utterly blot out his whole race. Overcome by oracles of Loxias such as these, unwilling did me expel and exclude me unwilling from his dwelling: but the bit of Jupiter perforce constrained him to do this. And straightway my person and my mind were distorted, and horned, as ye see, stung by the keenly-biting fly, I rushed with maniac boundings to the sweet stream of Cerchneia, and the fountain of Lerna; and the earth-born neatherd Argus of untempered fierceness, kept dogging me, peering after my footsteps with thick-set eyes. Him, however, an unlooked-for sudden fate bereaved of life; but I hornet-stricken am driven by the scourge divine from land to land. Thou hearest what has taken place, and if thou art able to say what pangs there remain for me, declare them; and do not, compassionating me, warm me with false tales, for I pronounce fabricated statements to be a most foul malady.

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