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Crowning the utmost wishes of thy Lord,
Speak therefore what thou think'st of our distress
In language suited to the griefs I feel
For the deceas'd whom I brought forth; persuade
Thy Son, whose succour we implore, to march
Across Ismenos' channel, and consign
To me the bodies of the slaughter'd youths,
That I beneath the monumental stone
May bury them with every sacred rite.
Though not by mere necessity constrain'd,
We at thy knees fall down and urge our suit
Before these altars of the Gods, where smokes
The frequent incense : for our cause is just:
And through the prosperous fortunes of thy Son
With
power

sufficient to remove our woes
Art thou endued: but since the ills I suffer
Thy pity claim, a miserable suppliant,
I crave that to these arms thou would'st restore
My Son, and grant me to embrace his corse.

ÆTHRA.
ODE.

I.
Here a fresh

groupe of mourners stands, Your followers in succession wring their hands.

CHORUS.
Attune expressive notes of anguish,

Oye sympathetic choir,
And in harmonious accents languish,

Such as Pluto loves t'inspire.
Tear those cheeks of pallid hue,

And let gore your bosoms stain,
For from the living is such honour due

To the shades of heroes slain,
Whose corses welter on th' embattled plain.

II.
I feel a pleasing sad relief,
Unsated as I brood o'er scenes of grief;

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My lamentations never ending,
Are like the moisture of the sea
In drops from some high rock descending,

Which flows to all eternity.
For those youths who breathe no more

Nature bids the Mother weep
And with incessant tears their loss deplore:

In oblivion would I steep
My woes, and welcome death's perpetual sleep.

THESEUS, ÆTHRA, ADRASTUS, CHORUS.

THESEUS. What plaints are these I hear? who strike their breasts, Attuning lamentations for the dead In such loud notes as issue from the fane? Borne hither by my fears with winged speed, I come to see if any recent ill May have befallen my Mother; she from home Hath long been absent.-Ha! what objects new And strange are these which now mine

eyes

behold. Fresh questions hence arise : my aged Mother Close to the altar seated with a band Of foreign matrons, who their woes express In various warbled notes, and on the ground Shed from their venerable eyes a stream Of tears: their heads are shorn, nor is their garb Suited to those who tend the sacred rites? What means all this? My Mother, say; from you I wait for information, and expect Some tidings of importance.

ÆTHRA.

O my Son
These are the Mothers of those seven fam'd chiefs
Who perish'd at the gates of Thebes: you see
How they with suppliant branches on all sides
Encompass me.

THESEUS.
But who is he who groans

So piteously, stretcht forth before the gate?

ÆTHRA.

Adrastus, they inform me, king of Argos.

THESEUS.

Are they who stand around, those (3) Matrons' Sons ?

ÆTHRA,

Not theirs; they are the children of the slain.

THESEUS.

Why with those suppliant tokens in their hands Come they to us?

ÆTHRA.

I know: but it behoves.
Them, O my Son, their errand to unfold.

THESEUS.
To thee who in a fleecy cloak art wrapp'd,
My questions I address : thy head unveil,
Cease to lament, and speak; for while thy tongue,
Utters no accent, nought canst thou obtain.

ADRASTUS.

O king of the Athenian land, renown'd
For your victorious arms, to you, O Theseus.
And to your city, I a suppliant come.

THESEUS.

What's thy pursuit, and what is it thou need'st?

ADRASTUS.
Know you not how ill-fated was the host
I led ?

THESEUS.
Thou didst not pass thro' Greece in silence.

ADRASTUS.
The noblest youths of Argos there I lost.

THESEUS.
Such dire effects from luckless war arise.

(3) Finding by Dr. Musgrave's note, that there is the authority of a manuscript for reading terwy instead of Tytu, I gladly avail myself of it, as an amendment of the text which Minerya's apostrophe at the close of this play to Ægialeus son of Adrastus strongly supports.

ADRASTUS.
From Thebes I claim'd the bodies of the slain.

THESEUS.
Did'st thou rely on Heralds to procure
Leave to inter the dead?

ADRASTUS.

But they who slew then Deny this favour.

THESEUS.

What can they allege
'Gainst a request which justice must approve ?

ADRASTUS.
Ask not the reason : they are now elate
With a success they know not how to bear.

THESEUS.
Art thou come hither to consult me then,
Or on what errand ?

ADRASTUS.

'Tis my wish, O Theseus,
That
you the Sons of Argos would redeem.

THESEUS,
But where is Argos now i were all her boasts
Of no effect?

ADRASTUS.

We by this one defeat
Are ruin'd, and to you for succour come.

THESEUS.
This on thy private judgement, or the voice
Of the whole city?

ADRASTUS,

All the race of Danaus Implore you to inter the slain.

THESEUS.

Why led'st thou 'Gainst Thebes seven squadrons?

ADRASTUS.

To confer a favour Qo my two Sons in law.

THESEUS.

To what brave chiefs
Of Argos didst thou give thy Daughters' hands!

ADRASTUS.
My family in wedlock I with those
Oi our own nation join'd not.

THESEUS.

Didst thou yield Those Argive damsels to some foreign bridegrooms

ADRASTUS.
To Tydeus; and to Polynices sprung
From Theban sires.

THESEUS.

What dotage could induce thee To form alliances like these?

ADRASTUS.

Dark riddles
Phæbus propounded, which my judgement sway'd.

THESEUS.
Such union for the virgins to prescribe,
What said Apollo?

ADRASTUS.

That I must bestow
My Daughters on the lion and the boar.

THESEUS.
But how didst thou interpret this response
Of the prophetic God?

ADRASTUS.

By night two exiles Came to my door.

THESEUS.

Say, who and who: thou speak'st Of both at once.

ADRASTUS.

Together Tydeus fought And Polynices.

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