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  메인화면 (다빈치!지식놀이터) :: 다빈치! 원문/전문 > 문학 > 세계문학 > 희곡 영문 

◈ Prometheus Unbound (사슬에서 풀린 프로메테우스) ◈

◇ ACT 1. ◇

해설목차  서문  1권 2권  3권  4권  5권  1820년
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목 차   [숨기기]
 1. SCENE: A RAVINE OF ICY ROCKS IN THE INDIAN CAUCASUS. PROMETHEUS IS DISCOVERED BOUND TO THE PRECIPICE. PANTEA AND IONE ARE SEATED AT HIS FEET. TIME, NIGHT. DURING, THE SCENE MORNING SLOWLY BREAKS.

1. SCENE: A RAVINE OF ICY ROCKS IN THE INDIAN CAUCASUS. PROMETHEUS IS DISCOVERED BOUND TO THE PRECIPICE. PANTEA AND IONE ARE SEATED AT HIS FEET. TIME, NIGHT. DURING, THE SCENE MORNING SLOWLY BREAKS.

 
0
PROMETHEUS:
1
Monarch of Gods and DAEmons, and all Spirits
2
But One, who throng those bright and rolling worlds
3
Which Thou and I alone of living things
4
Behold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth
5
Made multitudinous with thy slaves, whom thou
6
Requitest for knee-worship, prayer, and praise,
7
And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts,
8
With fear and self-contempt and barren hope.
9
Whilst me, who am thy foe, eyeless in hate,
10
Hast thou made reign and triumph, to thy scorn,
11
O'er mine own misery and thy vain revenge.
12
Three thousand years of sleep-unsheltered hours,
13
And moments aye divided by keen pangs
14
Till they seemed years, torture and solitude,
15
Scorn and despair,—these are mine empire:—
16
More glorious far than that which thou surveyest
17
From thine unenvied throne, O Mighty God!
18
Almighty, had I deigned to share the shame
19
Of thine ill tyranny, and hung not here
20
Nailed to this wall of eagle-baffling mountain,
21
Black, wintry, dead, unmeasured; without herb,
22
Insect, or beast, or shape or sound of life.
23
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!
 
24
No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
25
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
26
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
27
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
28
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
29
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
30
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!
 
31
The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears
32
Of their moon-freezing crystals; the bright chains
33
Eat with their burning cold into my bones.
34
Heaven's winged hound, polluting from thy lips
35
His beak in poison not his own, tears up
36
My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by,
37
The ghastly people of the realm of dream,
38
Mocking me: and the Earthquake-fiends are charged
39
To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds
40
When the rocks split and close again behind:
41
While from their loud abysses howling throng
42
The genii of the storm, urging the rage
43
Of whirlwind, and afflict me with keen hail.
44
And yet to me welcome is day and night,
45
Whether one breaks the hoar-frost of the morn,
46
Or starry, dim, and slow, the other climbs
47
The leaden-coloured east; for then they lead
48
The wingless, crawling hours, one among whom
49
As some dark Priest hales the reluctant victim
50
Shall drag thee, cruel King, to kiss the blood
51
From these pale feet, which then might trample thee
52
If they disdained not such a prostrate slave.
53
Disdain! Ah, no! I pity thee. What ruin
54
Will hunt thee undefended through wide Heaven!
55
How will thy soul, cloven to its depth with terror,
56
Gape like a hell within! I speak in grief,
57
Not exultation, for I hate no more,
58
As then ere misery made me wise. The curse
59
Once breathed on thee I would recall. Ye Mountains,
60
Whose many-voiced Echoes, through the mist
61
Of cataracts, flung the thunder of that spell!
62
Ye icy Springs, stagnant with wrinkling frost,
63
Which vibrated to hear me, and then crept
64
Shuddering through India! Thou serenest Air,
65
Through which the Sun walks burning without beams!
66
And ye swift Whirlwinds, who on poised wings
67
Hung mute and moveless o'er yon hushed abyss,
68
As thunder, louder than your own, made rock
69
The orbed world! If then my words had power,
70
Though I am changed so that aught evil wish
71
Is dead within; although no memory be
72
Of what is hate, let them not lose it now!
73
What was that curse? for ye all heard me speak.
 
74
FIRST VOICE (FROM THE MOUNTAINS):
75
Thrice three hundred thousand years
76
O'er the Earthquake's couch we stood:
77
Oft, as men convulsed with fears,
78
We trembled in our multitude.
 
79
SECOND VOICE (FROM THE SPRINGS):
80
Thunderbolts had parched our water,
81
We had been stained with bitter blood,
82
And had run mute, 'mid shrieks of slaughter,
83
Thro' a city and a solitude.
 
84
THIRD VOICE (FROM THE AIR):
85
I had clothed, since Earth uprose,
86
Its wastes in colours not their own,
87
And oft had my serene repose
88
Been cloven by many a rending groan.
 
89
FOURTH VOICE (FROM THE WHIRLWINDS):
90
We had soared beneath these mountains
91
Unresting ages; nor had thunder,
92
Nor yon volcano's flaming fountains,
93
Nor any power above or under
94
Ever made us mute with wonder.
 
95
FIRST VOICE:
96
But never bowed our snowy crest
97
As at the voice of thine unrest.
 
98
SECOND VOICE:
99
Never such a sound before
100
To the Indian waves we bore.
101
A pilot asleep on the howling sea
102
Leaped up from the deck in agony,
103
And heard, and cried, 'Ah, woe is me!'
104
And died as mad as the wild waves be.
 
105
THIRD VOICE:
106
By such dread words from Earth to Heaven
107
My still realm was never riven:
108
When its wound was closed, there stood
109
Darkness o'er the day like blood.
 
110
FOURTH VOICE:
111
And we shrank back: for dreams of ruin
112
To frozen caves our flight pursuing
113
Made us keep silencethusand thus
114
Though silence is a hell to us.
 
115
THE EARTH:
116
The tongueless caverns of the craggy hills
117
Cried, 'Misery!' then; the hollow Heaven replied,
118
'Misery!' And the Ocean's purple waves,
119
Climbing the land, howled to the lashing winds,
120
And the pale nations heard it, 'Misery!'
 
121
PROMETHEUS:
122
I hear a sound of voices: not the voice
123
Which I gave forth. Mother, thy sons and thou
124
Scorn him, without whose all-enduring will
125
Beneath the fierce omnipotence of Jove,
126
Both they and thou had vanished, like thin mist
127
Unrolled on the morning wind. Know ye not me,
128
The Titan? He who made his agony
129
The barrier to your else all-conquering foe?
130
Oh, rock-embosomed lawns, and snow-fed streams,
131
Now seen athwart frore vapours, deep below,
132
Through whose o'ershadowing woods I wandered once
133
With Asia, drinking life from her loved eyes;
134
Why scorns the spirit which informs ye, now
135
To commune with me? me alone, who checked,
136
As one who checks a fiend-drawn charioteer,
137
The falsehood and the force of him who reigns
138
Supreme, and with the groans of pining slaves
139
Fills your dim glens and liquid wildernesses:
140
Why answer ye not, still? Brethren!
 
141
THE EARTH:
142
They dare not.
 
143
PROMETHEUS:
144
Who dares? for I would hear that curse again.
145
Ha, what an awful whisper rises up!
146
'Tis scarce like sound: it tingles through the frame
147
As lightning tingles, hovering ere it strike.
148
Speak, Spirit! from thine inorganic voice
149
I only know that thou art moving near
150
And love. How cursed I him?
 
151
THE EARTH:
152
How canst thou hear
153
Who knowest not the language of the dead?
 
154
PROMETHEUS:
155
Thou art a living spirit; speak as they.
 
156
THE EARTH:
157
I dare not speak like life, lest Heaven's fell King
158
Should hear, and link me to some wheel of pain
159
More torturing than the one whereon I roll.
160
Subtle thou art and good; and though the Gods
161
Hear not this voice, yet thou art more than God,
162
Being wise and kind: earnestly hearken now.
 
163
PROMETHEUS:
164
Obscurely through my brain, like shadows dim,
165
Sweep awful thoughts, rapid and thick. I feel
166
Faint, like one mingled in entwining love;
167
Yet 'tis not pleasure.
 
168
THE EARTH:
169
No, thou canst not hear:
170
Thou art immortal, and this tongue is known
171
Only to those who die.
 
172
PROMETHEUS:
173
And what art thou,
174
O, melancholy Voice?
 
175
THE EARTH:
176
I am the Earth,
177
Thy mother; she within whose stony veins,
178
To the last fibre of the loftiest tree
179
Whose thin leaves trembled in the frozen air,
180
Joy ran, as blood within a living frame,
181
When thou didst from her bosom, like a cloud
182
Of glory, arise, a spirit of keen joy!
183
And at thy voice her pining sons uplifted
184
Their prostrate brows from the polluting dust,
185
And our almighty Tyrant with fierce dread
186
Grew pale, until his thunder chained thee here.
187
Then, see those million worlds which burn and roll
188
Around us: their inhabitants beheld
189
My sphered light wane in wide Heaven; the sea
190
Was lifted by strange tempest, and new fire
191
From earthquake-rifted mountains of bright snow
192
Shook its portentous hair beneath Heaven's frown;
193
Lightning and Inundation vexed the plains;
194
Blue thistles bloomed in cities; foodless toads
195
Within voluptuous chambers panting crawled:
196
When Plague had fallen on man, and beast, and worm,
197
And Famine; and black blight on herb and tree;
198
And in the corn, and vines, and meadow-grass,
199
Teemed ineradicable poisonous weeds
200
Draining their growth, for my wan breast was dry
201
With grief; and the thin air, my breath, was stained
202
With the contagion of a mother's hate
203
Breathed on her child's destroyer; ay, I heard
204
Thy curse, the which, if thou rememberest not,
205
Yet my innumerable seas and streams,
206
Mountains, and caves, and winds, and yon wide air,
207
And the inarticulate people of the dead,
208
Preserve, a treasured spell. We meditate
209
In secret joy and hope those dreadful words,
210
But dare not speak them.
 
211
PROMETHEUS:
212
Venerable mother!
213
All else who live and suffer take from thee
214
Some comfort; flowers, and fruits, and happy sounds,
215
And love, though fleeting; these may not be mine.
216
But mine own words, I pray, deny me not.
 
217
THE EARTH:
218
They shall be told. Ere Babylon was dust,
219
The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child,
220
Met his own image walking in the garden.
221
That apparition, sole of men, he saw.
222
For know there are two worlds of life and death:
223
One that which thou beholdest; but the other
224
Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit
225
The shadows of all forms that think and live
226
Till death unite them and they part no more;
227
Dreams and the light imaginings of men,
228
And all that faith creates or love desires,
229
Terrible, strange, sublime and beauteous shapes.
230
There thou art, and dost hang, a writhing shade,
231
'Mid whirlwind-peopled mountains; all the gods
232
Are there, and all the powers of nameless worlds,
233
Vast, sceptred phantoms; heroes, men, and beasts;
234
And Demogorgon, a tremendous gloom;
235
And he, the supreme Tyrant, on his throne
236
Of burning gold. Son, one of these shall utter
237
The curse which all remember. Call at will
238
Thine own ghost, or the ghost of Jupiter,
239
Hades or Typhon, or what mightier Gods
240
From all-prolific Evil, since thy ruin,
241
Have sprung, and trampled on my prostrate sons.
242
Ask, and they must reply: so the revenge
243
Of the Supreme may sweep through vacant shades,
244
As rainy wind through the abandoned gate
245
Of a fallen palace.
 
246
PROMETHEUS:
247
Mother, let not aught
248
Of that which may be evil, pass again
249
My lips, or those of aught resembling me.
250
Phantasm of Jupiter, arise, appear!
 
251
IONE:
252
My wings are folded o'er mine ears:
253
My wings are crossed o'er mine eyes:
254
Yet through their silver shade appears,
255
And through their lulling plumes arise,
256
A Shape, a throng of sounds;
257
May it be no ill to thee
258
O thou of many wounds!
259
Near whom, for our sweet sister's sake,
260
Ever thus we watch and wake.
 
261
PANTHEA:
262
The sound is of whirlwind underground,
263
Earthquake, and fire, and mountains cloven;
264
The shape is awful like the sound,
265
Clothed in dark purple, star-inwoven.
266
A sceptre of pale gold
267
To stay steps proud, o'er the slow cloud
268
His veined hand doth hold.
269
Cruel he looks, but calm and strong,
270
Like one who does, not suffers wrong.
 
271
PHANTASM OF JUPITER:
272
Why have the secret powers of this strange world
273
Driven me, a frail and empty phantom, hither
274
On direst storms? What unaccustomed sounds
275
Are hovering on my lips, unlike the voice
276
With which our pallid race hold ghastly talk
277
In darkness? And, proud sufferer, who art thou?
 
278
PROMETHEUS:
279
Tremendous Image, as thou art must be
280
He whom thou shadowest forth. I am his foe,
281
The Titan. Speak the words which I would hear,
282
Although no thought inform thine empty voice.
 
283
THE EARTH:
284
Listen! And though your echoes must be mute,
285
Grey mountains, and old woods, and haunted springs,
286
Prophetic caves, and isle-surrounding streams,
287
Rejoice to hear what yet ye cannot speak.
 
288
PHANTASM:
289
A spirit seizes me and speaks within:
290
It tears me as fire tears a thunder-cloud.
 
291
PANTHEA:
292
See, how he lifts his mighty looks, the Heaven
293
Darkens above.
 
294
IONE:
295
He speaks! O shelter me!
 
296
PROMETHEUS:
297
I see the curse on gestures proud and cold,
298
And looks of firm defiance, and calm hate,
299
And such despair as mocks itself with smiles,
300
Written as on a scroll: yet speak! Oh, speak!
 
301
PHANTASM:
302
Fiend, I defy thee! with a calm, fixed mind,
303
All that thou canst inflict I bid thee do;
304
Foul Tyrant both of Gods and Humankind,
305
One only being shalt thou not subdue.
306
Rain then thy plagues upon me here,
307
Ghastly disease, and frenzying fear;
308
And let alternate frost and fire
309
Eat into me, and be thine ire
310
Lightning, and cutting hail, and legioned forms
311
Of furies, driving by upon the wounding storms.
 
312
Ay, do thy worst. Thou art omnipotent.
313
O'er all things but thyself I gave thee power,
314
And my own will. Be thy swift mischiefs sent
315
To blast mankind, from yon ethereal tower.
316
Let thy malignant spirit move
317
In darkness over those I love:
318
On me and mine I imprecate
319
The utmost torture of thy hate;
320
And thus devote to sleepless agony,
321
This undeclining head while thou must reign on high.
 
322
But thou, who art the God and Lord: O, thou,
323
Who fillest with thy soul this world of woe,
324
To whom all things of Earth and Heaven do bow
325
In fear and worship: all-prevailing foe!
326
I curse thee! let a sufferer's curse
327
Clasp thee, his torturer, like remorse;
328
Till thine Infinity shall be
329
A robe of envenomed agony;
330
And thine Omnipotence a crown of pain,
331
To cling like burning gold round thy dissolving brain.
 
332
Heap on thy soul, by virtue of this Curse,
333
Ill deeds, then be thou damned, beholding good;
334
Both infinite as is the universe,
335
And thou, and thy self-torturing solitude.
336
An awful image of calm power
337
Though now thou sittest, let the hour
338
Come, when thou must appear to be
339
That which thou art internally;
340
And after many a false and fruitless crime
341
Scorn track thy lagging fall through boundless space and time.
 
342
PROMETHEUS:
343
Were these my words, O Parent?
 
344
THE EARTH:
345
They were thine.
 
346
PROMETHEUS:
347
It doth repent me: words are quick and vain;
348
Grief for awhile is blind, and so was mine.
349
I wish no living thing to suffer pain.
 
350
THE EARTH:
351
Misery, Oh misery to me,
352
That Jove at length should vanquish thee.
353
Wail, howl aloud, Land and Sea,
354
The Earth's rent heart shall answer ye.
355
Howl, Spirits of the living and the dead,
356
Your refuge, your defence, lies fallen and vanquished.
 
357
FIRST ECHO:
358
Lies fallen and vanquished!
 
359
SECOND ECHO:
360
Fallen and vanquished!
 
361
IONE:
362
Fear not: 'tis but some passing spasm,
363
The Titan is unvanquished still.
364
But see, where through the azure chasm
365
Of yon forked and snowy hill
366
Trampling the slant winds on high
367
With golden-sandalled feet, that glow
368
Under plumes of purple dye,
369
Like rose-ensanguined ivory,
370
A Shape comes now,
371
Stretching on high from his right hand
372
A serpent-cinctured wand.
 
373
PANTHEA:
374
'Tis Jove's world-wandering herald, Mercury.
 
375
IONE:
376
And who are those with hydra tresses
377
And iron wings that climb the wind,
378
Whom the frowning God represses
379
Like vapours steaming up behind,
380
Clanging loud, an endless crowd
 
381
PANTHEA:
382
These are Jove's tempest-walking hounds,
383
Whom he gluts with groans and blood,
384
When charioted on sulphurous cloud
385
He bursts Heaven's bounds.
 
386
IONE:
387
Are they now led, from the thin dead
388
On new pangs to be fed?
 
389
PANTHEA:
390
The Titan looks as ever, firm, not proud.
 
391
FIRST FURY:
392
Ha! I scent life!
 
393
SECOND FURY:
394
Let me but look into his eyes!
 
395
THIRD FURY:
396
The hope of torturing him smells like a heap
397
Of corpses, to a death-bird after battle.
 
398
FIRST FURY:
399
Darest thou delay, O Herald! take cheer, Hounds
400
Of Hell: what if the Son of Maia soon
401
Should make us food and sportwho can please long
402
The Omnipotent?
 
403
MERCURY:
404
Back to your towers of iron,
405
And gnash, beside the streams of fire and wail,
406
Your foodless teeth. Geryon, arise! and Gorgon,
407
Chimaera, and thou Sphinx, subtlest of fiends
408
Who ministered to Thebes Heaven's poisoned wine,
409
Unnatural love, and more unnatural hate:
410
These shall perform your task.
 
411
FIRST FURY:
412
Oh, mercy! mercy!
413
We die with our desire: drive us not back!
 
414
MERCURY:
415
Crouch then in silence.
416
Awful Sufferer!
417
To thee unwilling, most unwillingly
418
I come, by the great Father's will driven down,
419
To execute a doom of new revenge.
420
Alas! I pity thee, and hate myself
421
That I can do no more: aye from thy sight
422
Returning, for a season, Heaven seems Hell,
423
So thy worn form pursues me night and day,
424
Smiling reproach. Wise art thou, firm and good,
425
But vainly wouldst stand forth alone in strife
426
Against the Omnipotent; as yon clear lamps
427
That measure and divide the weary years
428
From which there is no refuge, long have taught
429
And long must teach. Even now thy Torturer arms
430
With the strange might of unimagined pains
431
The powers who scheme slow agonies in Hell,
432
And my commission is to lead them here,
433
Or what more subtle, foul, or savage fiends
434
People the abyss, and leave them to their task.
435
Be it not so! there is a secret known
436
To thee, and to none else of living things,
437
Which may transfer the sceptre of wide Heaven,
438
The fear of which perplexes the Supreme:
439
Clothe it in words, and bid it clasp his throne
440
In intercession; bend thy soul in prayer,
441
And like a suppliant in some gorgeous fane,
442
Let the will kneel within thy haughty heart:
443
For benefits and meek submission tame
444
The fiercest and the mightiest.
 
445
PROMETHEUS:
446
Evil minds
447
Change good to their own nature. I gave all
448
He has; and in return he chains me here
449
Years, ages, night and day: whether the Sun
450
Split my parched skin, or in the moony night
451
The crystal-winged snow cling round my hair:
452
Whilst my beloved race is trampled down
453
By his thought-executing ministers.
454
Such is the tyrant's recompense: 'tis just:
455
He who is evil can receive no good;
456
And for a world bestowed, or a friend lost,
457
He can feel hate, fear, shame; not gratitude:
458
He but requites me for his own misdeed.
459
Kindness to such is keen reproach, which breaks
460
With bitter stings the light sleep of Revenge.
461
Submission, thou dost know I cannot try:
462
For what submission but that fatal word,
463
The death-seal of mankind's captivity,
464
Like the Sicilian's hair-suspended sword,
465
Which trembles o'er his crown, would he accept,
466
Or could I yield? Which yet I will not yield.
467
Let others flatter Crime, where it sits throned
468
In brief Omnipotence: secure are they:
469
For Justice, when triumphant, will weep down
470
Pity, not punishment, on her own wrongs,
471
Too much avenged by those who err. I wait,
472
Enduring thus, the retributive hour
473
Which since we spake is even nearer now.
474
But hark, the hell-hounds clamour: fear delay:
475
Behold! Heaven lowers under thy Father's frown.
 
476
MERCURY:
477
Oh, that we might be spared; I to inflict
478
And thou to suffer! Once more answer me:
479
Thou knowest not the period of Jove's power?
 
480
PROMETHEUS:
481
I know but this, that it must come.
 
482
MERCURY:
483
Alas!
484
Thou canst not count thy years to come of pain?
 
485
PROMETHEUS:
486
They last while Jove must reign: nor more, nor less
487
Do I desire or fear.
 
488
MERCURY:
489
Yet pause, and plunge
490
Into Eternity, where recorded time,
491
Even all that we imagine, age on age,
492
Seems but a point, and the reluctant mind
493
Flags wearily in its unending flight,
494
Till it sink, dizzy, blind, lost, shelterless;
495
Perchance it has not numbered the slow years
496
Which thou must spend in torture, unreprieved?
 
497
PROMETHEUS:
498
Perchance no thought can count them, yet they pass.
 
499
MERCURY:
500
If thou might'st dwell among the Gods the while
501
Lapped in voluptuous joy?
 
502
PROMETHEUS:
503
I would not quit
504
This bleak ravine, these unrepentant pains.
 
505
MERCURY:
506
Alas! I wonder at, yet pity thee.
 
507
PROMETHEUS:
508
Pity the self-despising slaves of Heaven,
509
Not me, within whose mind sits peace serene.
510
As light in the sun, throned: how vain is talk!
511
Call up the fiends.
 
512
IONE:
513
O, sister, look! White fire
514
Has cloven to the roots yon huge snow-loaded cedar;
515
How fearfully God's thunder howls behind!
 
516
MERCURY:
517
I must obey his words and thine: alas!
518
Most heavily remorse hangs at my heart!
 
519
PANTHEA:
520
See where the child of Heaven, with winged feet,
521
Runs down the slanted sunlight of the dawn.
 
522
IONE:
523
Dear sister, close thy plumes over thine eyes
524
Lest thou behold and die: they come: they come
525
Blackening the birth of day with countless wings,
526
And hollow underneath, like death.
 
527
FIRST FURY:
528
Prometheus!
 
529
SECOND FURY:
530
Immortal Titan!
 
531
THIRD FURY:
532
Champion of Heaven's slaves!
 
533
PROMETHEUS:
534
He whom some dreadful voice invokes is here,
535
Prometheus, the chained Titan. Horrible forms,
536
What and who are ye? Never yet there came
537
Phantasms so foul through monster-teeming Hell
538
From the all-miscreative brain of Jove;
539
Whilst I behold such execrable shapes,
540
Methinks I grow like what I contemplate,
541
And laugh and stare in loathsome sympathy.
 
542
FIRST FURY:
543
We are the ministers of pain, and fear,
544
And disappointment, and mistrust, and hate,
545
And clinging crime; and as lean dogs pursue
546
Through wood and lake some struck and sobbing fawn,
547
We track all things that weep, and bleed, and live,
548
When the great King betrays them to our will.
 
549
PROMETHEUS:
550
Oh! many fearful natures in one name,
551
I know ye; and these lakes and echoes know
552
The darkness and the clangour of your wings.
553
But why more hideous than your loathed selves
554
Gather ye up in legions from the deep?
 
555
SECOND FURY:
556
We knew not that: Sisters, rejoice, rejoice!
 
557
PROMETHEUS:
558
Can aught exult in its deformity?
 
559
SECOND FURY:
560
The beauty of delight makes lovers glad,
561
Gazing on one another: so are we.
562
As from the rose which the pale priestess kneels
563
To gather for her festal crown of flowers
564
The aereal crimson falls, flushing her cheek,
565
So from our victim's destined agony
566
The shade which is our form invests us round,
567
Else we are shapeless as our mother Night.
 
568
PROMETHEUS:
569
I laugh your power, and his who sent you here,
570
To lowest scorn. Pour forth the cup of pain.
 
571
FIRST FURY:
572
Thou thinkest we will rend thee bone from bone,
573
And nerve from nerve, working like fire within?
 
574
PROMETHEUS:
575
Pain is my element, as hate is thine;
576
Ye rend me now; I care not.
 
577
SECOND FURY:
578
Dost imagine
579
We will but laugh into thy lidless eyes?
 
580
PROMETHEUS:
581
I weigh not what ye do, but what ye suffer,
582
Being evil. Cruel was the power which called
583
You, or aught else so wretched, into light.
 
584
THIRD FURY:
585
Thou think'st we will live through thee, one by one,
586
Like animal life, and though we can obscure not
587
The soul which burns within, that we will dwell
588
Beside it, like a vain loud multitude
589
Vexing the self-content of wisest men:
590
That we will be dread thought beneath thy brain,
591
And foul desire round thine astonished heart,
592
And blood within thy labyrinthine veins
593
Crawling like agony?
 
594
PROMETHEUS:
595
Why, ye are thus now;
596
Yet am I king over myself, and rule
597
The torturing and conflicting throngs within,
598
As Jove rules you when Hell grows mutinous.
 
599
CHORUS OF FURIES:
600
From the ends of the earth, from the ends of the earth,
601
Where the night has its grave and the morning its birth,
602
Come, come, come!
603
Oh, ye who shake hills with the scream of your mirth,
604
When cities sink howling in ruin; and ye
605
Who with wingless footsteps trample the sea,
606
And close upon Shipwreck and Famine's track,
607
Sit chattering with joy on the foodless wreck;
608
Come, come, come!
609
Leave the bed, low, cold, and red,
610
Strewed beneath a nation dead;
611
Leave the hatred, as in ashes
612
Fire is left for future burning:
613
It will burst in bloodier flashes
614
When ye stir it, soon returning:
615
Leave the self-contempt implanted
616
In young spirits, sense-enchanted,
617
Misery's yet unkindled fuel:
618
Leave Hell's secrets half unchanted
619
To the maniac dreamer; cruel
620
More than ye can be with hate
621
Is he with fear.
622
Come, come, come!
623
We are steaming up from Hell's wide gate
624
And we burthen the blast of the atmosphere,
625
But vainly we toil till ye come here.
 
626
IONE:
627
Sister, I hear the thunder of new wings.
 
628
PANTHEA:
629
These solid mountains quiver with the sound
630
Even as the tremulous air: their shadows make
631
The space within my plumes more black than night.
 
632
FIRST FURY:
633
Your call was as a winged car,
634
Driven on whirlwinds fast and far;
635
It rapped us from red gulfs of war.
 
636
SECOND FURY:
637
From wide cities, famine-wasted;
 
638
THIRD FURY:
639
Groans half heard, and blood untasted;
 
640
FOURTH FURY:
641
Kingly conclaves stern and cold,
642
Where blood with gold is bought and sold;
 
643
FIFTH FURY:
644
From the furnace, white and hot,
645
In which
 
646
A FURY:
647
Speak not: whisper not:
648
I know all that ye would tell,
649
But to speak might break the spell
650
Which must bend the Invincible,
651
The stern of thought;
652
He yet defies the deepest power of Hell.
 
653
FURY:
654
Tear the veil!
 
655
ANOTHER FURY:
656
It is torn.
 
657
CHORUS:
658
The pale stars of the morn
659
Shine on a misery, dire to be borne.
660
Dost thou faint, mighty Titan? We laugh thee to scorn.
661
Dost thou boast the clear knowledge thou waken'dst for man?
662
Then was kindled within him a thirst which outran
663
Those perishing waters; a thirst of fierce fever,
664
Hope, love, doubt, desire, which consume him for ever.
665
One came forth of gentle worth
666
Smiling on the sanguine earth;
667
His words outlived him, like swift poison
668
Withering up truth, peace, and pity.
669
Look! where round the wide horizon
670
Many a million-peopled city
671
Vomits smoke in the bright air.
672
Mark that outcry of despair!
673
'Tis his mild and gentle ghost
674
Wailing for the faith he kindled:
675
Look again, the flames almost
676
To a glow-worm's lamp have dwindled:
677
The survivors round the embers
678
Gather in dread.
679
Joy, joy, joy!
680
Past ages crowd on thee, but each one remembers,
681
And the future is dark, and the present is spread
682
Like a pillow of thorns for thy slumberless head.
 
683
SEMICHORUS 1:
684
Drops of bloody agony flow
685
From his white and quivering brow.
686
Grant a little respite now:
687
See a disenchanted nation
688
Springs like day from desolation;
689
To Truth its state is dedicate,
690
And Freedom leads it forth, her mate;
691
A legioned band of linked brothers
692
Whom Love calls children
 
693
SEMICHORUS 2:
694
'Tis another's:
695
See how kindred murder kin:
696
'Tis the vintage-time for death and sin:
697
Blood, like new wine, bubbles within:
698
Till Despair smothers
699
The struggling world, which slaves and tyrants win.
 
700
[ALL THE FURIES VANISH, EXCEPT ONE.]
 
701
IONE:
702
Hark, sister! what a low yet dreadful groan
703
Quite unsuppressed is tearing up the heart
704
Of the good Titan, as storms tear the deep,
705
And beasts hear the sea moan in inland caves.
706
Darest thou observe how the fiends torture him?
 
707
PANTHEA:
708
Alas! I looked forth twice, but will no more.
 
709
IONE:
710
What didst thou see?
 
711
PANTHEA:
712
A woful sight: a youth
713
With patient looks nailed to a crucifix.
 
714
IONE:
715
What next?
 
716
PANTHEA:
717
The heaven around, the earth below
718
Was peopled with thick shapes of human death,
719
All horrible, and wrought by human hands,
720
And some appeared the work of human hearts,
721
For men were slowly killed by frowns and smiles:
722
And other sights too foul to speak and live
723
Were wandering by. Let us not tempt worse fear
724
By looking forth: those groans are grief enough.
 
725
FURY:
726
Behold an emblem: those who do endure
727
Deep wrongs for man, and scorn, and chains, but heap
728
Thousand-fold torment on themselves and him.
 
729
PROMETHEUS:
730
Remit the anguish of that lighted stare;
731
Close those wan lips; let that thorn-wounded brow
732
Stream not with blood; it mingles with thy tears!
733
Fix, fix those tortured orbs in peace and death,
734
So thy sick throes shake not that crucifix,
735
So those pale fingers play not with thy gore.
736
O, horrible! Thy name I will not speak,
737
It hath become a curse. I see, I see
738
The wise, the mild, the lofty, and the just,
739
Whom thy slaves hate for being like to thee,
740
Some hunted by foul lies from their heart's home,
741
An early-chosen, late-lamented home;
742
As hooded ounces cling to the driven hind;
743
Some linked to corpses in unwholesome cells:
744
SomeHear I not the multitude laugh loud?—
745
Impaled in lingering fire: and mighty realms
746
Float by my feet, like sea-uprooted isles,
747
Whose sons are kneaded down in common blood
748
By the red light of their own burning homes.
 
749
FURY:
750
Blood thou canst see, and fire; and canst hear groans;
751
Worse things unheard, unseen, remain behind.
 
752
PROMETHEUS:
753
Worse?
 
754
FURY:
755
In each human heart terror survives
756
The ravin it has gorged: the loftiest fear
757
All that they would disdain to think were true:
758
Hypocrisy and custom make their minds
759
The fanes of many a worship, now outworn.
760
They dare not devise good for man's estate,
761
And yet they know not that they do not dare.
762
The good want power, but to weep barren tears.
763
The powerful goodness want: worse need for them.
764
The wise want love; and those who love want wisdom;
765
And all best things are thus confused to ill.
766
Many are strong and rich, and would be just,
767
But live among their suffering fellow-men
768
As if none felt: they know not what they do.
 
769
PROMETHEUS:
770
Thy words are like a cloud of winged snakes;
771
And yet I pity those they torture not.
 
772
FURY:
773
Thou pitiest them? I speak no more!
774
[VANISHES.]
 
775
PROMETHEUS:
776
Ah woe!
777
Ah woe! Alas! pain, pain ever, for ever!
778
I close my tearless eyes, but see more clear
779
Thy works within my woe-illumed mind,
780
Thou subtle tyrant! Peace is in the grave.
781
The grave hides all things beautiful and good:
782
I am a God and cannot find it there,
783
Nor would I seek it: for, though dread revenge,
784
This is defeat, fierce king, not victory.
785
The sights with which thou torturest gird my soul
786
With new endurance, till the hour arrives
787
When they shall be no types of things which are.
 
788
PANTHEA:
789
Alas! what sawest thou more?
 
790
PROMETHEUS:
791
There are two woes:
792
To speak, and to behold; thou spare me one.
793
Names are there, Nature's sacred watchwords, they
794
Were borne aloft in bright emblazonry;
795
The nations thronged around, and cried aloud,
796
As with one voice, Truth, liberty, and love!
797
Suddenly fierce confusion fell from heaven
798
Among them: there was strife, deceit, and fear:
799
Tyrants rushed in, and did divide the spoil.
800
This was the shadow of the truth I saw.
 
801
THE EARTH:
802
I felt thy torture, son; with such mixed joy
803
As pain and virtue give. To cheer thy state
804
I bid ascend those subtle and fair spirits,
805
Whose homes are the dim caves of human thought,
806
And who inhabit, as birds wing the wind,
807
Its world-surrounding aether: they behold
808
Beyond that twilight realm, as in a glass,
809
The future: may they speak comfort to thee!
 
810
PANTHEA:
811
Look, sister, where a troop of spirits gather,
812
Like flocks of clouds in spring's delightful weather,
813
Thronging in the blue air!
 
814
IONE:
815
And see! more come,
816
Like fountain-vapours when the winds are dumb,
817
That climb up the ravine in scattered lines.
818
And, hark! is it the music of the pines?
819
Is it the lake? Is it the waterfall?
 
820
PANTHEA:
821
'Tis something sadder, sweeter far than all.
 
822
CHORUS OF SPIRITS:
823
From unremembered ages we
824
Gentle guides and guardians be
825
Of heaven-oppressed mortality;
826
And we breathe, and sicken not,
827
The atmosphere of human thought:
828
Be it dim, and dank, and gray,
829
Like a storm-extinguished day,
830
Travelled o'er by dying gleams;
831
Be it bright as all between
832
Cloudless skies and windless streams,
833
Silent, liquid, and serene;
834
As the birds within the wind,
835
As the fish within the wave,
836
As the thoughts of man's own mind
837
Float through all above the grave;
838
We make there our liquid lair,
839
Voyaging cloudlike and unpent
840
Through the boundless element:
841
Thence we bear the prophecy
842
Which begins and ends in thee!
 
843
IONE:
844
More yet come, one by one: the air around them
845
Looks radiant as the air around a star.
 
846
FIRST SPIRIT:
847
On a battle-trumpet's blast
848
I fled hither, fast, fast, fast,
849
'Mid the darkness upward cast.
850
From the dust of creeds outworn,
851
From the tyrant's banner torn,
852
Gathering 'round me, onward borne,
853
There was mingled many a cry
854
Freedom! Hope! Death! Victory!
855
Till they faded through the sky;
856
And one sound, above, around,
857
One sound beneath, around, above,
858
Was moving; 'twas the soul of Love;
859
'Twas the hope, the prophecy,
860
Which begins and ends in thee.
 
861
SECOND SPIRIT:
862
A rainbow's arch stood on the sea,
863
Which rocked beneath, immovably;
864
And the triumphant storm did flee,
865
Like a conqueror, swift and proud,
866
Between, with many a captive cloud,
867
A shapeless, dark and rapid crowd,
868
Each by lightning riven in half:
869
I heard the thunder hoarsely laugh:
870
Mighty fleets were strewn like chaff
871
And spread beneath a hell of death
872
O'er the white waters. I alit
873
On a great ship lightning-split,
874
And speeded hither on the sigh
875
Of one who gave an enemy
876
His plank, then plunged aside to die.
 
877
THIRD SPIRIT:
878
I sate beside a sage's bed,
879
And the lamp was burning red
880
Near the book where he had fed,
881
When a Dream with plumes of flame,
882
To his pillow hovering came,
883
And I knew it was the same
884
Which had kindled long ago
885
Pity, eloquence, and woe;
886
And the world awhile below
887
Wore the shade, its lustre made.
888
It has borne me here as fleet
889
As Desire's lightning feet:
890
I must ride it back ere morrow,
891
Or the sage will wake in sorrow.
 
892
FOURTH SPIRIT:
893
On a poet's lips I slept
894
Dreaming like a love-adept
895
In the sound his breathing kept;
896
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
897
But feeds on the aereal kisses
898
Of shapes that haunt thought's wildernesses.
899
He will watch from dawn to gloom
900
The lake-reflected sun illume
901
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,
902
Nor heed nor see, what things they be;
903
But from these create he can
904
Forms more real than living man,
905
Nurslings of immortality!
906
One of these awakened me,
907
And I sped to succour thee.
 
908
IONE:
909
Behold'st thou not two shapes from the east and west
910
Come, as two doves to one beloved nest,
911
Twin nurslings of the all-sustaining air
912
On swift still wings glide down the atmosphere?
913
And, hark! their sweet sad voices! 'tis despair
914
Mingled with love and then dissolved in sound.
 
915
PANTHEA:
916
Canst thou speak, sister? all my words are drowned.
 
917
IONE:
918
Their beauty gives me voice. See how they float
919
On their sustaining wings of skiey grain,
920
Orange and azure deepening into gold:
921
Their soft smiles light the air like a star's fire.
 
922
CHORUS OF SPIRITS:
923
Hast thou beheld the form of Love?
 
924
FIFTH SPIRIT:
925
As over wide dominions
926
I sped, like some swift cloud that wings the wide air's wildernesses,
927
That planet-crested shape swept by on lightning-braided pinions,
928
Scattering the liquid joy of life from his ambrosial tresses:
929
His footsteps paved the world with light; but as I passed 'twas fading,
930
And hollow Ruin yawned behind: great sages bound in madness,
931
And headless patriots, and pale youths who perished, unupbraiding,
932
Gleamed in the night. I