ATHENA

I will not weary of soft words to thee,  That never mayst thou say, Behold me spurned,  An elder by a younger deity,  And from this land rejected and forlorn,  Unhonoured by the men who dwell therein.  But, if Persuasion’s grace be sacred to thee,  Soft in the soothing accents of my tongue,  Tarry, I Dray thee, yet, if go thou wilt.  Not rightfully wilt thou on this my town  Sway down the scale that beareth wrath and teen  Or wasting plague uport this folk. ‘Tis thine,  If so thou wilt, inheritress to be  Of this my land, its utmost grace to win.

LEADER OF THE CHORUS

O queen, what refuge dost thou promise me?

ATHENA

Refuge untouched by bale: take thou my boon.

LEADER

What, if I take it, shall mine honour be?

ATHENA

No house shall prosper without grace of thine.

LEADER

Canst thou achieve and grant such power to me?

ATHENA

Yea, for my hand shall bless thy worshippers.

LEADER

And wilt thou pledge me this for time eterne?

ATHENA

Yea: none can bid me pledge beyond my power.

LEADER

Lo, I desist from wrath, appeased by thee.

ATHENA

Then in the land’s heart shalt thou win thee friends.

LEADER

What chant dost bid me raise, to greet the land?

ATHENA

Such as aspires towards a victory  Unrued by any: chants from breast of earth,  From wave, from sky; and let the wild winds’ breath  Pass with soft sunlight o’er the lap of land,-  Strong wax the fruits of earth, fair teem the kine,  Unfailing, for my town’s prosperity,  And constant be the growth of mortal seed.  But more and more root out the impious,  For as a gardener fosters what he sows,  So foster I this race, whom righteousness  Doth fend from sorrow. Such the proffered boon.  But I, if wars must be, and their loud clash  And carnage, for my town, will ne’er endure  That aught but victory shall crown her fame.

CHORUS chanting

Lo, I accept it; at her very side  Doth Pallas bid me dwell:  I will not wrong the city of her pride,  Which even Almighty Zeus and Ares hold  Heaven’s earthly citadel,  Loved home of Grecian gods, the young, the old,  The sanctuary divine,  The shield of every shrine!  For Athens I say forth a gracious prophecy,-  The glory of the sunlight and the skies  Shall bid from earth arise  Warm wavelets of new life and glad prosperity.

ATUENA chanting

Behold, with gracious heart well pleased  I for my citizens do grant  Fulfilment of this covenant:  And here, their wrath at length appeased,  These mighty deities shall stay.  For theirs it is by right to sway  The lot that rules our mortal day,  And he who hath not inly felt  Their stern decree, ere long on him,  Not knowing why and whence, the grim  Life-crushing blow is dealt.  The father’s sin upon the child  Descends, and sin is silent death,  And leads him on the downward path,  By stealth beguiled,  Unto the Furies: though his state  On earth were high, and loud his boast,  Victim of silent ire and hate  He dwells among the Lost.

CHORUS chanting

To my blessing now give ear.-  Scorching blight nor singed air  Never blast thine olives fair!  Drouth, that wasteth bud and plant,  Keep to thine own place. Avaunt,  Famine fell, and come not hither  Stealthily to waste and wither!  Let the land, in season due,  Twice her waxing fruits renew;  Teem the kine in double measure;  Rich in new god-given treasure;  Here let men the powers adore  For sudden gifts unhoped before!

ATHENA chanting

O hearken, warders of the wall  That guards mine Athens, what a dower  Is unto her ordained and given!  For mighty is the Furies’ power,  And deep-revered in courts of heaven  And realms of hell; and clear to all  They weave thy doom, mortality!  And some in joy and peace shall sing;  But unto other some they bring  Sad life and tear-dimmed eye.

CHORUS chanting

And far away I ban thee and remove,  Untimely death of youths too soon brought low!  And to each maid, O gods, when time is come for love,  Grant ye a warrior’s heart, a wedded life to know.  Ye too, O Fates, children of mother Night,  Whose children too are we, O goddesses  Of just award, of all by sacred right  Queens, who in time and in eternity  Do rule, a present power for righteousness,  Honoured beyond all Gods, hear ye and grant my cry!

ATHENA chanting

And I too, I with joy am fain,  Hearing your voice this gift ordain  Unto my land. High thanks be thine,  Persuasion, who with eyes divine  Into my tongue didst look thy strength,  To bend and to appease at length  Those who would not be comforted.  Zeus, king of parley, doth prevail,  And ye and I will strive nor fail,  That good may stand in evil’s stead,  And lasting bliss for bale.

CHORUS chanting

And nevermore these walls within  Shall echo fierce sedition’s din,  Unslaked with blood and crime;  The thirsty dust shall nevermore  Suck up the darkly streaming gore  Of civic broils, shed out in wrath  And vengeance, crying death for death!  But man with man and state with state  Shall vow The pledge of common hate  And common friendship, that for man  Hath oft made blessing, out of ban,  Be ours unto all time.

ATHENA chanting

Skill they, or not, the path to find  Of favouring speech and presage kind?  Yea, even from these, who, grim and stern,  Glared anger upon you of old,  O citizens, ye now shall earn  A recompense right manifold.  Deck them aright, extol them high,  Be loyal to their loyalty,  And ye shall make your town and land  Sure, propped on justice’ saving hand,  And Fame’s eternity.

CHORUS chanting

Hail ye, all hail! and yet again, all hail,  O Athens, happy in a weal secured!  O ye who sit by Zeus’ right hand, nor fail  Of wisdom set among you and assured,  Loved of the well-loved Goddess-Maid! the King  Of gods doth reverence you, beneath her guarding wing.

ATHENA chanting

All hail unto each honoured guest!  Whom to the chambers of your rest  ‘Tis mine to lead, and to provide  The hallowed torch, the guard and guide.  Pass down, the while these altars glow  With sacred fire, to earth below  And your appointed shrine.  There dwelling, from the land restrain  The force of fate, the breath of bane,  But waft on us the gift and gain  Of Victory divine!  And ye, the men of Cranaos’ seed,  I bid you now with reverence lead  These alien Powers that thus are made  Athenian evermore. To you  Fair be their will henceforth, to do  Whate’er may bless and aid!

CHORUS chanting

Hail to you all! hail yet again,  All who love Athens, gods and men,  Adoring her as Pallas’ home!  And while ye reverence what ye grant-  My sacred shrine and hidden haunt-  Blameless and blissful be your doom!

ATHENA

Once more I praise the promise of your vows,  And now I bid the golden torches’ glow  Pass down before you to the hidden depth  Of earth, by mine own sacred servants borne,  My loyal guards of statue and of shrine.  Come forth, O flower of Attic land,  O glorious band of children and of wives,  And ye, O train of matrons crowned with eld!  Deck you with festal robes of scarlet dye  In honour of this day: O gleaming torch,  Lead onward, that these gracious powers of earth  Henceforth be seen to bless the life of men.

ATHENA leads the procession downwards into the Cave of the FURIES, now Eumenides, under the Areopagus: as they go, the escort of women and children chant aloud

CHANT

With loyalty we lead you; proudly go,  Night’s childless children, to your home below!  O citizens, awhile from words forbear!  To darkness’ deep primeval lair,  Far in Earth’s bosom, downward fare,  Adored with prayer and sacrifice.  O citizens, forbear your cries!  Pass hitherward, ye powers of Dread,  With all your former wrath allayed,  Into the heart of this loved land;  With joy unto your temple wend,  The while upon your steps attend  The flames that feed upon the brand-  Now, now ring out your chant, your joy’s acclaim!  Behind them, as they downward fare,  Let holy hands libations bear,  And torches’ sacred flame.  All-seeing Zeus and Fate come down  To battle fair for Pallas’ town!  Ring out your chant, ring out your joy’s acclaim!

THE END