EPIMETHEUS.YON snow-white cloud that sails sublime in ether
|Is but the sovereign Zeus, who like a swan|
|Flies to fair-ankled Leda!|
PANDORA. Or perchance
|Ixions cloud, the shadowy shape of Hera,|
|That bore the Centaurs.|
EPIMETHEUS. The divine and human.
CHORUS OF BIRDS. Gently swaying to and fro,
| Rocked by all the winds that blow,|
| Bright with sunshine from above,|
| Dark with shadow from below,|
| Beak to beak and breast to breast|| 10|
| In the cradle of their nest,|
| Lie the fledglings of our love.|
ECHO. Love! love!
EPIMETHEUS.Hark! listen! Hear how sweetly overhead
|The feathered flute-players pipe their songs of love,|
|And Echo answers, love and only love.|| 15|
CHORUS OF BIRDS. Every flutter of the wing,
| Every note of song we sing,|
| Every murmur, every tone,|
| Is of love and love alone.|
ECHO. Love alone!
EPIMETHEUS.Who would not love, if loving she might be
|Changed like Callisto to a star in heaven?|
PANDORA.Ah, who would love, if loving she might be
|Like Semele consumed and burnt to ashes?|
EPIMETHEUS.Whence knowest thou these stories?
PANDORA. Hermes taught me;
|He told me all the history of the Gods.|| 25|
CHORUS OF REEDS. Evermore a sound shall be
| In the reeds of Arcady,|
| Evermore a low lament|
| Of unrest and discontent,|
| As the story is retold|| 30|
| Of the nymph so coy and cold,|
| Who with frightened feet outran|
| The pursuing steps of Pan.|
EPIMETHEUS.The pipe of Pan out of these reeds is made,
|And when he plays upon it to the shepherds|| 35|
|They pity him, so mournful is the sound.|
|Be thou not coy and cold as Syrinx was.|
PANDORA.Nor thou as Pan be rude and mannerless.
PROMETHEUS (without).Ho! Epimetheus!
EPIMETHEUS. T is my brothers voice;
|A sound unwelcome and inopportune|| 40|
|As was the braying of Silenus ass,|
|Once heard in Cybeles garden.|
PANDORA. Let me go.
|I would not be found here. I would not see him.|
She escapes among the trees.
CHORUS OF DRYADES. Haste and hide thee,
| Ere too late,|| 45|
| In these thickets intricate;|
| Lest Prometheus|
| See and chide thee,|
| Lest some hurt|
| Or harm betide thee,|| 50|
| Haste and hide thee!|
PROMETHEUS (entering).Who was it fled from here? I saw a shape
|Flitting among the trees.|
EPIMETHEUS. It was Pandora.
PROMETHEUS.O Epimetheus! Is it then in vain
|That I have warned thee? Let me now implore.|| 55|
|Thou harborest in thy house a dangerous guest.|
EPIMETHEUS.Whom the Gods love they honor with such guests.
PROMETHEUS.Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.
EPIMETHEUS.Shall I refuse the gifts they send to me?
PROMETHEUS.Reject all gifts that come from higher powers.
EPIMETHEUS.Such gifts as this are not to be rejected.
PROMETHEUS.Make not thyself the slave of any woman.
EPIMETHEUS.Make not thyself the judge of any man.
PROMETHEUS.I judge thee not; for thou art more than man;
|Thou art descended from Titanic race,|| 65|
|And hast a Titans strength and faculties|
|That make thee godlike; and thou sittest here|
|Like Heracles spinning Omphales flax,|
|And beaten with her sandals.|
EPIMETHEUS. O my brother!
|Thou drivest me to madness with thy taunts.|| 70|
PROMETHEUS.And me thou drivest to madness with thy follies.
|Come with me to my tower on Caucasus:|
|See there my forges in the roaring caverns,|
|Beneficent to man, and taste the joy|
|That springs from labor. Read with me the stars,|| 75|
|And learn the virtues that lie hidden in plants,|
|And all things that are useful.|
EPIMETHEUS. O my brother!
|I am not as thou art. Thou dost inherit|
|Our fathers strength, and I our mothers weakness:|
|The softness of the Oceanides,|| 80|
|The yielding nature that cannot resist.|
PROMETHEUS.Because thou wilt not.
EPIMETHEUS. Nay; because I cannot.
PROMETHEUS.Assert thyself; rise up to thy full height;
|Shake from thy soul these dreams effeminate,|
|These passions born of indolence and ease.|| 85|
|Resolve, and thou art free. But breathe the air|
|Of mountains, and their unapproachable summits|
|Will lift thee to the level of themselves.|
EPIMETHEUS.The roar of forests and of waterfalls,
|The rushing of a mighty wind, with loud|| 90|
|And undistinguishable voices calling,|
|Are in my ear!|
PROMETHEUS. Oh, listen and obey.
EPIMETHEUS.Thou leadest me as a child. I follow thee.
They go out.
CHORUS OF OREADES. Centuries old are the mountains;
| Their foreheads wrinkled and rifted|| 95|
| Helios crowns by day,|
| Pallid Selene by night;|
| From their bosoms uptossed|
| The snows are driven and drifted,|
| Like Tithonus beard|| 100|
| Streaming dishevelled and white.|
| Thunder and tempest of wind|
| Their trumpets blow in the vastness;|
| Phantoms of mist and rain,|
| Cloud and the shadow of cloud,|| 105|
| Pass and repass by the gates|
| Of their inaccessible fastness;|
| Ever unmoved they stand,|
| Solemn, eternal, and proud.|
VOICES OF THE WATERS. Flooded by rain and snow
| In their inexhaustible sources,|
| Swollen by affluent streams|
| Hurrying onward and hurled|
| Headlong over the crags,|
| The impetuous water-courses|| 115|
| Rush and roar and plunge|
| Down to the nethermost world.|
| Say, have the solid rocks|
| Into streams of silver been melted,|
| Flowing over the plains,|| 120|
| Spreading to lakes in the fields?|
| Or have the mountains, the giants,|
| The ice-helmed, the forest-belted,|
| Scattered their arms abroad;|
| Flung in the meadows their shields?|| 125|
VOICES OF THE WINDS. High on their turreted cliffs
| That bolts of thunder have shattered,|
| Storm-winds muster and blow|
| Trumpets of terrible breath;|
| Then from the gateways rush,|| 130|
| And before them routed and scattered|
| Sullen the cloud-rack flies,|
| Pale with the pallor of death.|
| Onward the hurricane rides,|
| And flee for shelter the shepherds;|| 135|
| White are the frightened leaves,|
| Harvests with terror are white;|
| Panic seizes the herds,|
| And even the lions and leopards,|
| Prowling no longer for prey,|| 140|
| Crouch in their caverns with fright.|
VOICES OF THE FORESTS. Guarding the mountains around
| Majestic the forests are standing,|
| Bright are their crested helms,|
| Dark is their armor of leaves;|| 145|
| Filled with the breath of freedom|
| Each bosom subsiding, expanding,|
| Now like the ocean sinks,|
| Now like the ocean upheaves.|
| Planted firm on the rock,|| 150|
| With foreheads stern and defiant,|
| Loud they shout to the winds,|
| Loud to the tempest they call;|
| Naught but Olympian thunders,|
| That blasted Titan and Giant,|| 155|
| Them can uproot and oerthrow,|
| Shaking the earth with their fall.|
CHORUS OF OREADES. These are the Voices Three
| Of winds and forests and fountains,|
| Voices of earth and of air,|| 160|
| Murmur and rushing of streams,|
| Making together one sound,|
| The mysterious voice of the mountains,|
| Waking the sluggard that sleeps,|
| Waking the dreamer of dreams.|| 165|
| These are the Voices Three,|
| That speak of endless endeavor,|
| Speak of endurance and strength,|
| Triumph and fulness of fame,|
| Sounding about the world,|| 170|
| An inspiration forever,|
| Stirring the hearts of men,|
| Shaping their end and their aim.|