Put thou all fear away!
In kindness cometh this array
On wings of speed to mountain lone,
Our sire’s consent not lightly won.
But a fresh breeze our convoy brought,
For loud the din of iron raught
Even to our sea-cave’s cold recess,
And scared away the meek-eyed bashfulness.
I tarried not to tic my sandal shoe
But haste, post haste, through air my winged chariot flew.
Ah me! Ah me!
That many-childed Tethys brought to birth,
Fathered of Ocean old
Whose sleepless stream is rolled
Round the vast shores of earth
Look on me! Look upon these chains
Wherein I hang fast held
On rocks high-pinnacled,
My dungeon and my tower of dole,
Where o’er the abyss my soul,
Sad warder, her unwearied watch sustains!
Prometheus, I am gazing on thee now!
With the cold breath of fear upon my brow,
Not without mist of dimming tears,
While to my sight thy giant stature rears
Its bulk forpined upon these savage rocks
In shameful bonds the linked adamant locks.
For now new steersmen take the helm
Olympian; now with little thought
Of right, on strange, new laws Zeus stablisheth his realm,
Bringing the mighty ones of old to naught.
Oh that he had conveyed me
‘Neath earth, ‘neath hell that swalloweth up the dead;
In Tartarus, illimitably vast
With adamantine fetters bound me fast-
There his fierce anger on me visited,
Where never mocking laughter could upbraid me
Of God or aught beside!
But now a wretch enskied,
A far-seen vane,
All they that hate me triumph in my pain.
Who of the Gods is there so pitiless
That he can triumph in thy sore distress?
Who doth not inly groan
With every pang of thine save Zeus alone?
But he is ever wroth, not to be bent
From his resolved intent
The sons of heaven to subjugate;
Nor shall he cease until his heart be satiate,
Or one a way devise
To hurl him from the throne where he doth monarchize.
Yea, of a surety-though he do me wrong,
Loading my limbs with fetters strong-
Of heaven’s high parliament
Shall need me yet to show
What new conspiracy with privy blow
Attempts his sceptre and his kingly seat.
Neither shall words with all persuasion sweet,
Not though his tongue drop honey, cheat
Nor charm my knowledge from me; nor dures
Of menace dire, fear of more grievous pains,
Unseal my lips, till he have loosed these chains,
And granted for these injuries redress.
High is the heart of thee,
Thy will no whit by bitter woes unstrung,
And all too free
The licence of thy bold, unshackled tongue.
But fear hath roused my soul with piercing cry!
And for thy fate my heart misgives me! I
Tremble to know when through the breakers’ roar
Thy keel shall touch again the friendly shore;
For not by prayer to Zeus is access won;
An unpersuadable heart hath Cronos’ son.
I know the heart of Zeus is hard, that he hath tied
Justice to his side;
But he shall be full gentle thus assuaged;
And, the implacable wrath wherewith he raged
Smoothed quite away, nor he nor I
Be loth to seal a bond of peace and amity.
These things are sorrowful for me to speak,
Yet silence too is sorrow: all ways woe!
When first the Blessed Ones were filled with wrath
And there arose division in their midst,
These instant to hurl Cronos from his throne
That Zeus might be their king, and these, adverse,
Contending that he ne’er should rule the Gods,
Then I, wise counsel urging to persuade
The Titans, sons of Ouranos and Chthon,
Prevailed not: but, all indirect essays
Despising, they by the strong hand, effortless,
Yet by main force-supposed that they might seize
Supremacy. But me my mother Themis
And Gaia, one form called by many names,
Not once alone with voice oracular
Had prophesied how power should be disposed-
That not by strength neither by violence
The mighty should be mastered, but by guile.
Which things by me set forth at large, they scorned,
Nor graced my motion with the least regard.
Then, of all ways that offered, I judged best,
Taking my mother with me, to support,
No backward friend, the not less cordial Zeus.
And by my politic counsel Tartarus,
The bottomless and black, old Cronos hides
With his confederates. So helped by me,
The tyrant of the Gods, such service rendered
With ignominious chastisement requites.
But ’tis a common malady of power
Tyrannical never to trust a friend.
And now, what ye inquired, for what arraigned
He shamefully entreats me, ye shall know.
When first upon his high, paternal throne
He took his seat, forthwith to divers Gods
Divers good gifts he gave, and parcelled out
His empire, but of miserable men
Recked not at all; rather it was his wish
To wipe out man and rear another race:
And these designs none contravened but me.
I risked the bord attempt, and saved mankind
From stark destruction and the road to hell.
Therefore with this sore penance am I bowed,
Grievous to suffer, pitiful to see.
But, for compassion shown to man, such fate
I no wise earned; rather in wrath’s despite
Am I to be reformed, and made a show
Of infamy to Zeus.
Yea, to my friends a woeful sight am I.
Hast not more boldly in aught else transgressed?
I took from man expectancy of death.
What medicine found’st thou for this malady?
I planted blind hope in the heart of him.
A mighty boon thou gavest there to man.
Moreover, I conferred the gift of fire.
And have frail mortals now the flame-bright fire?
Yea, and shall master many arts thereby.
And Zeus with such misfeasance charging thee-
Torments me with extremity of woe.
And is no end in prospect of thy pains?
None; save when he shall choose to make an end.
How should he choose? What hope is thine? Dost thou
Not see that thou hast erred? But how thou erredst
Small pleasure were to me to tell; to the
Exceeding sorrow. Let it go then: rather
Seek thou for some deliverance from thy woes.
He who stands free with an untrammelled foot
Is quick to counsel and exhort a friend
In trouble. But all these things I know well.
Of my free will, my own free will, I erred,
And freely do I here acknowledge it.
Freeing mankind myself have durance found.
Natheless, I looked not for sentence so dread,
High on this precipice to droop and pine,
Having no neighbour but the desolate crags.
And now lament no more the ills I suffer,
But come to earth and an attentive ear
Lend to the things that shall befall hereafter.
Harken, oh harken, suffer as I suffer!
Who knows, who knows, but on some scatheless head,
Another’s yet for the like woes reserved,
The wandering doom will presently alight?
Prometheus, we have heard thy call:
Not on deaf ears these awful accents fall.
Lo! lightly leaving at thy words
My flying car
And holy air, the pathway of great birds,
I long to tread this land of peak and scar,
And certify myself by tidings sure
Of all thou hast endured and must endure.
Now have I traversed the unending plain
And unto thee, Prometheus, am I come,
Guiding this winghd monster with no rein,
Nor any bit, but mind’s firm masterdom.
And know that for thy grief my heart is sore;
The bond of kind, methinks, constraineth me;
Nor is there any I would honour more,
Apart from kinship, than I reverence thee.
And thou shalt learn that I speak verity:
Mine is no smooth, false tongue; for do but show
How I can serve thee, grieved and outraged thus,
Thou ne’er shalt say thou hast, come weal, come woe,
A friend more faithful than Oceanus.
How now? Who greets me? What! Art thou too come
To gaze upon my woes? How could’st thou leave
The stream that bears thy name, thine antres arched
With native rock, to visit earth that breeds
The massy iron in her womb? Com’st thou
To be spectator of my evil lot
And fellow sympathizer with my woes?
Behold, a thing indeed to gaze upon
The friend of Zeus, co-stablisher of his rule,
See, by this sentence with what pains I am bowed I