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dren are not only detained, but learn to fly from her. Her mind is now wrought to madness; and at this moment there is brought to the king of Corinth, who had been demanding the famous fleece, a chest figured over with strange characters. It had just been dug up by some workmen in preparing the foundation for an altar to the shade of Pelias, and had plainly been recently laid in the earth. She saw it with the wildest emotion; for it contained with the fleece and some precious vessels those magical charms which had once given her so much power, and which, on reaching Corinth, she had solemnly buried, as she meant, forever. Her plan of vengeance is at once taken, and the catastrophe is too well known to be repeated. The tragedy concludes, like Corneille's, with a scene between Jason, again a fugitive, and Medea; but this is the only resemblance. Medea has no chariot, drawn by dragons, to escape with, and Jason's expressions of anguish are, we think, much more tragical than the easy resort of an 'il se tue.'

After this analysis of the plot, we will conclude this article, by giving some specimens from the last play of the author's manner.

Medea, [burying the chest.]

First, then, the wand of the goddess and the veil ;
Rest here, for never will I use you more!

The time of night and magic is gone by,
And what befalls, be it or good or evil,
Befalls me in the open beam of day.

Now for this casket; secret flames it hides,
Quick to consume whoever rashly opes it.
These others filled all with precipitate death,
Away from out the precincts of the living!
Yet many an herb and stone of darkest power,—
To the earth from which ye sprang, I give you up.
So, rest ye there in quiet and for ever!

The last is wanting still, and that the weightiest.—
Let me once more behold thee, fatal present!

Thou witness of my house's overthrow,

Wet with a father's and a brother's blood,
Thou signal of Medea's shame and guilt!

Thus do I snap thy staff, and thrust thee down

To night's black bosom, whence thou cam'st to kill.
Medea to Creusa. [The scene is in the palace of Creon.]
I look upon thee and I look again,

And scarce can satisfy me with the sight.

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Thou soft and virtuous, fair in form and soul,

The heart, like thy white drapery, pure and spotless!
Send but a ray of thine own heavenly nature

Into this sore and grief-distracted breast.

What sorrow, hate, and wrong have written on it
Efface in patience with thy holy hand,

And set, instead, thy own clear traces there.

The strength, which from my youth had been my pride,
Has in the conflict all been feeble shown;

O help me make my weakness strong again.
Low at thy feet shall be my refuge place,
And I'll complain of what they've done to me,
And learn of thee what I should bear and do.
Like one of thine own maidens will I serve thee,
Will teach my hands to labor at the loom,
And all that work, which is with us despised,
And left as servile task to menial fingers,
But here is thought employment fit for queens ;—
Forgetting that my sire was Colchis' king,
Forgetting that my ancestors were gods,
Forgetting all that's past and all that threatens-
-No! that can never be.

Medea, Jason, and Creusa.

Medea, [with a lyre.]

Jason, I know a song.

Jason to Creusa.

And then the tower!

Know'st thou the tower, that stands by the sea-side,
Where thou stood'st with thy father, and did'st weep,
As I embarked for the long, perilous voyage


I had no eye then for those tears of thine,
Since only for exploits my heart was thirsting.
A gust blew off thy veil and wafted it
Into the sea; I plunged into the waves,

And caught and treasured it in memory of thee.

Hast thou it still?



But think how many years

Have passed since then, and borne thy keep-sake with them. The winds have taken it.


I know a song.

Thou calledst to me then: Farewell, my brother!


And now I call to thee; my brother, welcome!

Jason, I know a song.



She knows a song,

Which thou didst sing once; listen, she shall sing it.


O yes! where was I then? This cleaves to me
And mocks me from the visions of my youth,
And many a time I dare to dream and talk

Of things which are not and can never be.
For as the youth lives in futurity,

The man must live in converse with the past;
Who is there learns to live the present wisely?
Then was I an adventurous, honored hero,
And had a fond wife, and success, and wealth,
And some secure place for my children's slumbers.
[To Medea] What wilt thou then?


To sing a song to thee,

Which thou in former days hast sung with us.

And thou sing that?



As well as I may.



Wilt thou with a poor song of other years

Restore to me those years with all their promise? Nay, leave that! we will hold to one another, While it is ordered so, and as we can,

But nothing more of songs, and such soft things!

Yet let her sing it!


She has tasked herself

[blocks in formation]

Seest thou? I told thee it would nought avail;
Her hand is practised to a different measure.
She sang the dragon to his charmed sleep,
And that was other sound than thy pure strains.

Creusa. [prompting.]


O ye gods!

High throned gods!

O ye gods!

High throned, and terrible, and righteous gods!

[The lyre falls from her, and she covers her face with her hands.]

Medea and Jason, after her banishment.


And must I forth? Well, then, so follow me!

Be mutual as the guilt the penalty.

Dost know the ancient vow? Alone shall neither die ;
One house, one flesh, and one destruction!

In the very face of death, we swore this oath,

And now fulfil it, come!


Wilt thou provoke me ?

Away from me, thou bane of all my days,

Who hast despoiled me of my life and fortune !
Away into the wilderness, thy cradle,

To the fierce race which bore thee in its likeness.

But first give back to me what thou hast taken;

Give Jason back to me, thou wicked woman!


Would'st thou have Jason back? Here-Here receive him!

But who will give Medea to herself?

Have I sought thee in thy far distant home?

Have I enticed thee from thy father's care?

Have I on thee e'er forced my love-aye forced it?

Have I torn thee from thine own land away,

And given thee up to strangers' scoffs and scorn?
Thou call'st me wicked woman ?-O, I am so,
But how have I been guilty, and for whom?
Let these pursue me with their poisoned hate,
And banish, slay,-they do it but in justice;
For I am an abhorred and dreaded being,
Even to myself a terror and a gulph;

Let the whole world denounce me,-only thou not!
Medea, sitting by her sleeping children. [In Act IV.]
What would I give, could I but sleep like you!
The night comes on, the stars are shining forth,
Looking to earth with their soft, quiet light;
The same to-night that yesternight they beamed,
As if all else was now as then it was:
Yet measureless fields of air are spread between,
As if to part twixt glory and corruption!

So changeless, like those orbs, all nature is,
So full of change is man with all his fortunes.

Scene the last.

[A wild, solitary country, enclosed with trees and rocks. A cottage
in view.]

How fair the morning rises! Gracious gods!
After the tempests of this dismal night
Your sun lifts up himself with a new beauty.

[Goes into the cottage.]

[Jason comes feebly in, leaning on his sword.]

I can no farther. Wo!-My head's on fire,

My blood boils through its veins, my parched tongue stiffens.
Is no one there? Must I thus die alone!

Here is the hut, which used to give me shelter,

When once, a wealthy man, a wealthy father,

I hither came, full of new wakened hopes. [Knocks.]
Only one draught! only a place to die in!

Peasant, [coming out.]

Who knocks? Poor man, who art thou? Faint to death!


Only one cup of water! I am Jason,

The hero of the fleece! a chief, a king,

The Argonautic leader, Jason I!


And art thou Jason? Then away with thee!
Pollute my house not with thy hateful tread.
Hast thou not slain the daughter of my king?
Then ask not help before his subjects' doors.


[Returns into the hut.]

He goes, and leaves me in the open way,
In the dust, for travellers to tread upon.

Death, I invoke thee, bear me to my children. [Sinks down.]

[Advancing from behind a rock, and standing before him, with the fleece like a mantle thrown over her shoulders.]


Jason, [half raising himself.]

Who calls? Ha! see I right? Thou there!
Monster! Must I still have thee in my sight?—
My sword! my sword!-O wo is me! my limbs
Refuse their office now, spent, spent, and useless.


Forbear, thou harm'st me not! I am an offering
To bleed before another hand than thine.

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