Зображення сторінки


That towards me it push'd on its rustling coils.
But 'twas the drink alone the monster sought.
And at its length stretch'd out on the cave's floor,
Unheeding me, drank thirstily and deep,
And soon, drunken or dead, lay motionless.
I made me hastily from that poisonous breath
To the tree, and took-See here the Fleece-Away.

Med. Come then, and quick.

As from the tree I bare it,
A sound like sighing pass'd

among the leaves
And I behind heard call-WOE !

Ha !- who calls ?
Med. Thyself.




Go foremost thou. I follow with the Fleece.

Go on! Go! Tarry not !-Away! Away! What follows is little else than mata ceeding of the Greeks, not bearing ter of course, except that our author that his safety should blunt his Cole properly spares his heroine the crime chians' weapons, and disdaining even of her brother's death. In the last cone for a little while to live without liberflict near the ship, as the Greeks are ty, he throws himself from the rock, at the point of embarking, he is made on to which he has been led, into the prisoner. Jason uses the danger of sea, and perishes. The unhappy fahis life to deter Aietes from further ther,-bereaved of his last childviolence, intending, he says, to take and in the same moment vanquish, him on board, and reland him where ed in his last hold of hope and coupursuit must cease, at the extremity rage, by being shewn the pledge, of the Colchian coast. But the gala as he, with inconsistent superstition, lant-spirited boy calls impatiently on has, from the dream of Phryxus, bem his father to free him with arms; lieved it to be, of Victory and Reand when he sees that the menace of venge to its possessor—the Fleece-in Jason is effectual, and that fear of the the hands of his enemy-falls upon consequences to himself keeps back the earth, which he invokes to unclose Aietes from the attempt to release its graves ; and the Argonauts embark him, or further to obstruct the pro- unmolested.


Four years, since she turned her prefer his supplication. The time is prow from Colchis, have seen the Argo & early morning, before daybreak." a wanderer of the deep. One month Medea is seen, with a slave, in the has passed since she gave back the act of interring, in a chest of singular last- and leader- of her hero-crew appearance, the implements and meto his birth-place, Iolcos; and already, morials of her inherited Art; of which driven out by the citizens in tumult, some are enumerated :-" the veil on suspicion of having part in the and rod of the goddess ;" one vessel sudden death of its king, bis usurping inclosing flames, ready to seize and uncle Pelias, Jason is in flight, with consume him who imprudently opens his family, through Greece. They it; another, filled with sudden death; have reached Corinth, where, connect, many herbs, and many stones of might; ed in ties, hereditary and personal, of to all which she lastly adds the “moancient hospitality with Creon the nument of her own shame and guilt," King, he hopes for an asylum. This and token of her house's calamity, the Third Drama, opening, discovers the unhappy Golden Fleece. She ex Tent, which he has pitched without plains that she makes this sacrifice to the walls, awaiting the opportunity to the Country of Light, of which she is

become, as she trusts, an inhabitant, ground of their separation, the abe
-and to her husband's weakened af- horrence of the Greek for dark and tere
fection. For the woe denounced and rible arts, unknown to bis own super-
imprecated against her by her father, stition. Since his return, the open and
dead of sorrow, as she has heard, since violent utterance by the people of in-
her flight, has fallen on her. The love, dignation, scorn, and loathing for the
suddenly inflamed amidst dangers and Colchian and sorceress,--and for him
wild difficulty, at a distance from the who has united himself with her, has
country which nursed and stamped notonly most deeply wounded his pride
his early feelings and impressions, and self-love, but by pain brought
has, in some measure, during their ex- into these strongest principles of his
iled houseless wandering, but far more nature referring to her, has exaspera-
since they set foot in Greece, decayed ted, it seems, what was languishing
in Jason's breast; giving way, in a kindness, or incipient alienation, into
mind not generous or tender,-and a resentful and bitter hostile feeling,
which, it should seem, asked, therefore, profounder and stronger than he has
some incitement, by obstacles, to its yet chosen to declare to her, or per-
passion,-in part, to the tranquillity of haps acknowledged to himself.
possession,-but more actively altered Jason has entered among the interlo-
and estranged by the reawakening of cutors of the first scene, speaking with
thoughts, which only vehement pas. a countryman, whom he had char
sion suppressed,—the disdainful aver- with his message to the King. When
sion of the Greek for the Barbarian. he has received the answer, Medea
To which add that which this author comes forward.
has selected as the deep and invincible

Have greeting.
Jas. And thou ! But ye, (to the Slave,) thou and thy fellows, go,
And break yourselves green branches from the trees,
As is of supplicants the usage here;
And hold you quiet then, and still. Hear'st thou?-
(To the Countryman.) Enough.

[The Countryman and the Slave go out. Med.

Thou'rt busied.


Thou sparest thyself
No hour of rest.

A fugitive, and rest!
Divorced from rest, is he a fugitive.

Med. Thou hast not slept to-night: thou wentest forth,
And lonely walkedst through the o'ershadowing dark.

Jas, I love the shadowy night. Day hurts mine eye.

Med. Thy message hast thou sent unto the king-
Receives he us?

I stay here waiting for him.
Med. He is thy friend ?

He was.

He will comply.
Jas. Men shun the fellowship of the plague-touch'd.
Thou know'st it well, that all the world doth fly us;
That even my false uncle's, Pelias, death,
The guilty, whom a god in wrath destroy'd,
On' me the people charge it, me thine husband,
From the dark land of magic the Return'd.
Know'st thou it not?

I know.

Cause, and enough,
To wander and to wake amidst the night.
But what hath driven thee up before the sun ?
What was thy quest in the wild darkness ? Eh !
Calling old friends from Colchis?



Med. I have said, No.

Then do I say to thee
Thou doest well to leave it quite undone.
Brew not from cull'd herbs juices, drinks of sleep;
Speak verses not to the moon, move not the dead.
They hate that here; and I-I hate it too.
Not now in Colchis are we, but in Greece ;
Nor among monsters living-among men.
But now I wot thou dost it not again ;
For thou hast given me, and thou keep'st thy word.
The crimson veil, companion of thy head,
Brought shadows of the past into my mind.
Why put'st thou not our country's habit on?
As I a Colchian was, on Colchian mould,
Be thou in Greece a Greek. Why will we stir
Remembrances of the fled time, if they
Are rife, unstirrid- and all too prompt to spring ?
-There do they lie, fair Corinth's warlike towers,
Stretch'd in rich beauty on their sea-beat shore;
The cradle of my youthful golden prime;
The same, illumined by the self-same sun.
I only changed—I in myself another.
Ye gods! why was my morning's splendour given,
If ye decreed so dark the evening's close !
-Oh!-Were it night!
Judge me not stern, not harsh of soul, Medea !
Trust thou, I feel thy sorrow deep as mine.
Faithfully dost thou urge the heavy stone,
That, tumbling back, rolls down again upon us,
And every path shuts up, and
Hast thou done-have I done it?- It hath been.
Thou lov'st me: nor I know it not, Medea.
After thy nature-yes !—but thou dost love me.
Not that look only tells me-many a deed !
I know thy head droops under many a grief,
Which answering pity in this bosom mourns.
-Then carefully and ripely let us weigh
How best t'avert the mischief threatening near.
This city is Corinth. In my earlier day,
When I, from boy yet but to man half grown,
Before my uncle's grim displeasure fled,
This country's King received me to his hearth,
Allied in friendship of our fathers' days,
And as a dear son duly warded me,

Who in his house secure lived many a year. Creon, and his daughter Creusa, veration, of his innocence, he offers going out to sacrifice to Neptune, on him for himself the protection he had the sea-shore, pass by their tent. Ja- formerly enjoyed. This Jason afterson, who had charged his messenger wards explains to him, that he cannot with his request, and the title by accept, unless with those who are dewhich he made it, but not his name, pendent on him; to which also the makes himself known. Creon's first King consents, unwillingly, suspecting anxiety is to understand the truth and fearing Medea ; but not before of the accusation, divulged through Creusa, from regarding her at first Greece, from which he flies; and be- with dislike as a Barbarian, and with ing satisfied, by Jason's solemn asse- horror as a Sorceress, gradually won, VOL. XXIV.


every outlet.

when they converse alone, to more the present, sees only pleasant recoltenderness, by the natural expression lection. He joins the two; and, throwof her melancholy desolate feelings, ing himself back with ardent fancy has already extended the invitation to into that season of his rejoicing youth, her and her children.

contrasts, though not so as to make There is something entirely new, sensible to the innocent-hearted maid. we believe, and in the first effect hap- en the reference to herself, the unpy, in our author's management of this happy marriage into which he has ancient story-in the idea of thus as fallen, with that which the pure heart sociating Medea and Creusa. And dictates, and the gods favour. The there is one scene, which, how far to return of Medea does not check these praise for discreet execution we know thoughts, nor, however painful to her, not, but it is well-purposed, where the nor, for a time, however patiently kindness of one, and gratitude of the borne, their utterance. When this other, are worked together into a sort torture, with variations, has gone the of placid charm, like a vernal gleam- length of the poet's use for it, it is ing of gentle affections and hopes, be- diverted by the King entering much fore the storm seize its possession of disturbed, to declare the coming, and the sky. The temper, naturally aus- on what errand, of a herald of the tere, and now gloomy with sorrows Amphictyons. He follows, and proand self-reproach, of the Colchian wife, ceeds to execute bis office, by prois attracted and softened by the serene, claiming the ban of the holy sovereign still, gracious spirit of her destined council against the murderers of King rival, who pities, and is zealous to aid Pelias–Jason and Medea. Against her, in fashioning herself to her new her, as the herald is led to explain, country. She has taken its dress; for he employs the criminal designac and in the scene of which we speak tion with latitude, the perpetrator of is trying, not aptly, with hand wont the death-against him, who brought to the grasp of bow and spear, to re- the Sorceress into Greece—who fur.

the sweet skill of Creusa's on the ther, according to the rudeness of Jyre; and, with the voice, that better judicial thought in such early times, knew to compel reluctant spirits, to joined with her in marriage, is joined catch from hers the sprightly music in the condemnation of her guilt, or, of a song, which was Jason's when a as the herald words it, “The partner boy. These are unforbidden arts, of one infamous, himself infamous." which the compassionate instructress Jason attempts to repel the charge, by does, and the forlorn pupil fain would denying that his

wife had the access hope shall have power to re-attach, at alleged to the King's person, since, least gently to touch, one altered heart. when, as the herald has recited, the The lesson is interrupted by him who daughters came to solicit for their fais its object. He finds Medea a reason ther the succour of her skill, he had for her absence ; and, in the conversa- refused her going. “ Yes !" the hetion that follows with Creusa, returne rald says, “ for the first time;" but ing upon their earlier years, discovers adds, that on the request being rethat, under the guise of brotherly and peated, she had, unknown to him, gone sisterly kindness, a stronger affection with them, conditioning only, in rehad arisen between them, and that the quital of her aid, for possession of the idea of their future union, by others Fleece, which Jason had, on his rethan themselves had been-half-seri- turn to Iolcos, delivered up to his ously, perhaps, half-sportively-enter- uncle, the author of the Expedition. tained. She, clear-thoughted and calm, The messenger pursues his narrative: in that past divided inseparably from


The maidens, much rejoicing, promised this ;
And she forthwith went in where the King slept.
Dark words of mystic meaning utter'd she,
And deeper into slumber sunk the King.
The evil blood to quell, she bade a vein
Be open'd; which was done. He lighter breathed ;
They bound the salutary wound, and joy
For health restored is in the daughter's heart.
Thy wife went forth the chamber, as she said ;
The daughters too went forth, seeing him sleep.

At once a cry is heard. In fearful haste
The maidens turn and enter. Horrible!
The old man lay on earth, wildly convulsed ;
The bandage that had held his veins was rent,
And in black tides his blood was streaming forth.
Before the Altar, where the Fleece had hung,
He lay, and that was gone. But she was seen,
The golden splendour wearing, through the night,

As with swift step she guilty strode away. On this, perhaps not wholly incon- receive any communication from the testable proof of circumstances, he as slave sent, it leads to the King's going commissioned banishes them from the in person with Jason to acquaint her earth, walked by gods, of the Greeks; with it—this leads to her obtaining from to any, that, after three days and the latter, against Creon's prudent and three nights shall harbour them, de, strong dissuasion, a private colloquynouncing, if a private person, Death, and this again to an incident of our -if a people, if a king, War. author's devising, which he has made

But Creon makes reply, that he of much force, in bringing on the peavouches Jason innocent, takes him culiar catastrophe of this drama. under his protection, and answers for In this unwitnessed colloquy she him before the Amphictyons. Who, begins by clearing herself to Jason, moreover, he demands, shall dare im- who is without power to doubt her peach the clear name of his son-in- simple recital, from his uncle's impulaw ? “ Yes ! of his son-in-law, for ted murder. She next, returning to the purpose of the happy shall be tenderness,- for latterly her language brought to effect in the darker days; has been, more exasperated perhaps, and the band of Jason united to his with such cause as she has had, we daughter.”. With which answer he should hardly say, but more markdismisses the herald.

ed, we think, with intimations of an. Creon now turns to Medea, the de- terior alienation, than we possibly, tested offspring of the wilderness, the from want of due attention or reflecdoer of crimes, of which Jason sus- tion, had expected, -makes her final tains the shame and pursuit, and, in suppliant appeal to all kindly, all gehis own kingdom her judge, but nerous, all honourable feelings in his adopting the conviction of another bosom, that he will not abandon her; tribunal, pronounces her death, if the and, this failing -for the unmanly morrow find her within his borders. hardness of his spirit is not vulner

She answers that she is innocent; able -in the last place, now resoland when this declaration changes not vedly divorced, as the least favour that the King's doom, calls upon her hus- can be granted to a mother, and to her band to go with her. He refuses; the latest, she sues and wrings from and, either authorized to himself by him permission for one of their chil. the solemn public judgment under dren to go with her, which induces which she stands, using, without re- the peculiar incident before alluded to. morse, its force to dissever intolerable She gives the following account of ties, or letting loose the expression the King's mysterious death :of his hate, he delivers her over to her Pelias, it should be understood, father's curses. She demands her who, upon some quarrel with his brom children, they are denied her-and ther Æson, Jason's father, touching she goes out, fired with her wrongs, his son's expedition, treacherously and menacing vengeance on the Three. slew him, had, from the time he ac

Struck with her threats, and having quired it, as in consecration suspendfrom the first seemed to labour under ed over his domestic altar its Golduneasy impressions of her powers, she en trophy, and sat before it in imhas no sooner left them than Creon movable horror, fancying that out takes alarm at the leisure allowed by of it he saw the face of his brother himself for her departure, which he looking at him, till he fell into seemnow limits to the passing day. This ingly mortal sickness. Thus much alteration is not without consequences. we learnt long since from Jason's con

In the first place, as she refuses to versation with Creon. To the fura

« НазадПродовжити »