§ 1 HERMES: Atlas, who with brazen shoulders upholds heaven the ancient abode of the gods, by one of the goddesses begot Maia, who bore me, Hermes, minister of the deities, to all-great Zeus. And I am come to this land of Delphi, where Phoebus occupying the central navel of the earth chants responses to mortals, ever divining of the things that are and are to be. For there is a not obscure city of the Greeks,
§ 10 called the city of Pallas of the golden spear, where Phoebus by force subjected to his embraces Creusa daughter of Erechtheus, at that spot in the land of the Athenians where are the northern rocks below the hill of Pallas which the kings of the Attic territory call the Macrae. And unknown to her father (for so it was well-pleasing to the god) she bore the burden of her womb; and when the time came, having brought forth a boy in the palace, Creusa bore away the babe to the same cavern where she had lain with the god, and exposes him to die in the well-rounded circle of a hollow basket,
§ 20 observing the custom of her forefathers and earth-born Erichthonius: for to him the daughter of Zeus attached two guardian snakes as protectors of his person, when she gave him to the Agraulian maids to take care of. Hence there is there a custom among the Erechthidae to rear their children in snakes of beaten gold. Well: having put what fine raiment the maid had upon the child, about to die, as she supposed, she left him. And Phoebus,
§ 30 being my brother, makes this request of me; My brother, go to the earth-born people of renowned Athens (for thou knowest the city of the goddess), take the new-born babe and bring him out of the hollow rock, with the basket itself and the swaddling-clothes which he has, to my oracle of Delphi, and lay him at the very entrance of my house. And the rest, for (that thou mayst know it) the boy is mine, shall be my care. And I, wishing to do a favour to my brother Loxias, took up the wicker basket and brought it, and place the boy on the steps of the temple here, having opened the woven basket of
§ 40 the cradle, that the boy might be seen. And early as the orb of the sun riding forth the prophetess chances to enter the oracle of the god, and having cast her eyes on the infant boy, wondered that any damsel of the Delphian maids should dare to place her stealthy offspring at the house of the god, and she was minded to eject him beyond the hearth: but for pity she left her cruelty, and the god was an ally to the boy, that he should not be cast out from the edifice. And she takes him and rears him: but
§ 50 she knows not of Phoebus who begat him, nor of the mother of whom he was born, and the boy is ignorant of those who gave him birth. He roved therefore, as long as he was young, sporting about the altars amid which he was reared: but when his form grew to manhood, the Delphians made him treasure-keeper of the god and trusty guardian of all, and in the palace of the god he lives on a holy life to this very day. And Creusa who bore the youth marries Xuthus by such coincidence as this: between Athens
§ 60 and the sons of Chalcodon, who possess the Euboean land, intervened the flood of war, which having toiled through with the Athenians and aided them with his spear in driving back, he received the honour of marriage with Creusa, not being a native of the land, but born an Achaean of Aeolus the son of Zeus: and having entered into late wedlock, he is childless, and Creusa: and for this reason they are come to the oracle here of Apollo through desire of children. But Loxias puts off his good fortunes to this time, and he has not been forgotten by him, as he seems to be. For he will present to Xuthus,
§ 70 when he has entered this oracle, his own son, and will declare that he is his offspring, in order that having come to his mother's abode, he may be made known to Creusa, and both the loves of Loxias may be concealed, and the boy may have his rights. And he will bring it to pass that he be called throughout Greece Ion by name, founder of colonies in the Asiatic land. But I will go into the laurel coverts here, that I may learn what is determined about the youth. For I see the son of Loxias coming out, that he may make the gateway in front of the temple clean with
§ 80 branches of laurel. And I am the first of the gods to call him by the name which he is about to obtain, Ion.
ION: Already the sun is wheeling this his bright chariot of four steeds over the earth, and the stars are flying from the sky before these his fires into sacred night, and the untrodden Parnassian peaks illumined welcome the car of day for mortals. And the smoke
§ 90 of myrrh from desert lands wings its way to the roof of Phoebus, and the Delphic priestess is sitting on the divine tripod, chanting to the Greeks the utterances which Apollo pronounces. But, ye Delphian ministers of Phoebus, go to the Castalian silvery eddies, and having laved yourselves in the pure dews, come to the temple: guard a mouth of good omen and favourable, and utter from your own tongue words
§ 100 favourable to those who desire to consult the god. And I (a labour which I have ever from a boy performed) will make the portals of Phoebus bright with branches of laurel and holy garlands, and the ground moist with sprinkled water, and will put to flight with my bow and arrows the flocks of birds which mar the holy offerings; for as being motherless and fatherless I serve the temple of Phoebus which reared me. Come, thou new- grown implement of fairest laurel, which sweepest the pavement of Phoebus beneath his temple, from immortal groves where sacred dews sending forth
§ 120 their ever-flowing stream lave the sacred foliage of the myrtle, with which the livelong day I sweep the floor of the god, serving him day by day early as the fleet wing of the sun. Paean, Paean, be thou blessed, blessed, O son of Leto. Honourable is the work in which I serve thee, Phoebus,
§ 130 before thine house, revering thy oracular abode: and glorious to me is the work to have hands ministering to the gods, and not to mortals, but immortals: and I faint not to labour in works of praise. Phoebus is to me a sire, a father: for I bless him that nourishes me. And for his benefits to me I call Phoebus who dwells in the temple by the name of father.
§ 140 Paean, Paean, be thou blessed, blessed, son of Leto. But I will cease from my labours with the trailing of the laurel, and from golden vessels will sprinkle on the ground the stream which the
§ 150 eddies of Castalia pour forth, throwing on it moistening water, all holily, as being pure from the love of women. that I may not cease thus to serve Phoebus ever, or may cease with happy destiny. Ha! ha! the winged ones are already on the move and are leaving their nests on Parnassus: I bid them not approach the eaves nor to the gold-decked houses. Once more I will hit thee with my bow and arrows,
§ 160 thou herald of Zeus, surpassing the strength of all other birds with thy beak. Here is a swan too steering his flight towards the hearths. Wilt thou not move thy bright red foot another way? In no way shall the lyre of Phoebus in unison with thy song save thee from my bow: turn aside thy wings: go to the Delian lake. Thou shalt quench in blood thy
§ 170 sweet-voiced songs, if thou wilt not obey. Ha! ha! What fresh bird is this that has come? Is it to a nest of dry twigs beneath the eaves for its young ones? The twanging of the bow shall prevent thee. Wilt thou not obey? Go and breed in the eddies of Alpheus, or to the Isthmian glen, that the offerings and temple of Phoebus be not interfered with.
§ 180 For I am loth to slay you that announce the oracles of the gods to mortals: but I will serve Phoebus in the work to which I am devoted, and will not cease to minister to those who nourish me.
CHORUS: Not in divine Athens only were there dwellings of the gods decked with fair columns, nor there only the service of Agyieus: but in the house of Loxias also the son of Leto is there the fair-eyed light of the twin countenances.
§ 190 CHORUS: Lo! see here; the son of Zeus is slaying the Lernaean hydra with golden scimetar: dear sister, behold this with thine eyes.
CHORUS: I see. And near him another is raising a blazing torch. Who is this? Is it the warrior Iolaus whose story is related to me as I work at my loom,
§ 200 who undertaking a common labour with the son of Zeus is helping him to accomplish it?
CHORUS: And look too at this hero mounted on winged steed: he is slaying the fire-breathing three-formed monster.
CHORUS: Yes, I am directing my eyes all around. Observe the conflict with the giants on the stone walls.
CHORUS: We are looking here, dear sisters, * * *
CHORUS: Seest thou then one brandishing her
§ 210 gorgon shield against Enceladus?
CHORUS: I see Pallas my own deity.
CHORUS: Why, dost thou not see the mighty thunderbolt all- blazing in the far-darting hands of Zeus?
CHORUS: I see: he is burning up the hostile Mimus with the flames.
CHORUS: And Bromius Bacchus is slaying another of the sons of earth with unwarlike ivy -bound staff.
CHORUS: To thee I call who art by the temple,
§ 220 is it lawful to ascend to the shrine, I mean with pure-washed foot * * *?
ION: It is not lawful, stranger-maids.
CHORUS: And might I not enquire a word from thee?
ION: What then wilt thou?
CHORUS: Does the house of Phoebus really occupy the central navel of the earth?
ION: Ay, clad in garlands, and on either hand are Gorgons.
CHORUS: So also rumour declares.
ION: If you have offered a cake before the temple, and ye desire to enquire aught of Phoebus, pass on to the steps: but without sheep sacrificed pass not into the chambers of the house.
§ 230 CHORUS: I understand: and we offer not to transgress the law of the god; but that which is without shall delight our eye.
ION: Survey all with your eyes, everything which it is lawful to behold.
CHORUS: My lord and lady have allowed me to come forth to see this shrine.
ION: And of what house are ye called the handmaids?
CHORUS: The halls that nurtured my lord and lady are the abode of Pallas. And here she is of whom thou questionest me .
ION: High birth hast thou, and this mien of thine indicates thy rank, whoever thou art, lady. For
§ 240 any one may tell for the most part about man or woman, when he has observed their mien, if they are nobly born. But, 0, thou hast made me wonder because thou hast closed thine eyes and bedewed thy high-born cheek with tears, when thou beheldest the holy oracle of Loxias. What grief is this into which thou art come, lady? Where all else rejoice at beholding the shrine of the god, there thine eye sheds tears.
CREUSA. stranger, thou art not unkind to marvel at my tears: but when I saw this temple
§ 250 of Apollo, I retraced certain memories of the past, and somehow while I was here had my thoughts at home. hapless women! daring deeds of the gods! What then shall ice soy? Whither shall we refer our claims for justice, if we are to be outraged by the unjust acts of those that rule the world?
ION: But why art thou secretly sad at heart, lady?
CREUSA: Tis nought, I have shot my bolt; and henceforth I am silent, and do thou no more think of this.
ION: And who art thou? From what part of the land hast thou come? Of what father art thou sprung? By what name must I call thee?
§ 260 CREUSA: My name is Creusa, and I am a daughter of Erechtheus, and my native land is the city of the Athenians.
ION: inhabiting a renowned city, and bred of noble ancestors, how I honour thee, lady.
CREUSA: Thus far I am really fortunate, stranger, but no further.
ION: By the gods I pray thee, did in truth (as he is declared by men)
CREUSA: What it is thou askest, stranger, I would know.
ION: A forefather of thy father spring from the earth?
CREUSA: Yes; Erichthonius did: but my descent avails me nought.
ION: And did Athena take him up from the earth?
§ 270 CREUSA: Yes, though she bore him not, into her virgin hands.
ION: And she entrusts him, as is commonly represented in the picture?
CREUSA: Yes, to the daughters of Cecrops to take care of without being seen by them.
ION: I have heard that the maids opened the chest of the goddess.
OR. For that reason they died and stained the crag of the rock with their blood.
ION: Well. What then of this? is the story a truth or falsely told?
CREUSA: What is it thou askest? for I am not tired of attending to thee.
ION: Did thy father Erechtheus sacrifice thy sisters?
CREUSA: He forced himself to slay the maids as sacrifices for the land.
ION: But how wast thou the only one of thy sisters saved?
§ 280 CREUSA: I was a new-born babe in the arms of my mother.
ION: And does afterwards a yawning of the earth really swallow up thy father?
CREUSA: A blow from the trident of the sea destroyed him.
ION: And the place there is called Macrae?
CREUSA: Why dost thou ask this? How hast thou reminded me of a certain event!
ION: Pythius honours it with his presence, and the bright light of Pythius?
CREUSA: He does honour it with his presence. Honour it indeed! O that I had never seen him there.
ION: But why? Dost thou hate that which the god best loves?
CREUSA: 'Tis no matter: I know of a deed which is the shame of the caves.
ION: And what husband of the Athenians married thee, lady?
§ 290 CREUSA: Not a citizen, but a stranger from another land.
ION: Who? He must be one of noble birth.
CREUSA: Xuthus, sprung from Aeolus and from Zeus.
ION: And how being a foreigner did he wed thee being a native?
CREUSA: Euboea is a neighbouring state to Athens:
ION: Bounded, as they say, by watery bounds.
CREUSA: This he ravaged with spear united to the Cecropida?.
ION: Having come as an ally, and then he weds thy couch?
CREUSA: Yes, receiving me as a dowry of war and reward of his spear.
ION: And art thou come to the oracle with thy husband or alone?
§ 300 CREUSA: With my husband. But he lags behind me at the sekos of Trophonius.
ION: As a spectator, or for the sake of oracles?
CREUSA: Wishing to learn one thing both from him and from Phoebus.
ION: And are ye come about the fruits of the land, or respecting children?
CREUSA: We are childless, though we have had a long wedded life.
ION: And hast thou never yet borne any offspring, but art barren?
CREUSA: Phoebus knows how true it is that I am childless.
ION: unhappy lady, how unfortunate thou art, in all else fortunate!
CREUSA: But who art thou? How blessed in thee have I deemed her who bore thee!
ION: I am called and am the servant of the god, lady.
§ 310 CREUSA: An offering from the city, or having been sold by some one?
ION: I know not, save one thing I am called the servant of Loxias.
CREUSA: I then in turn, O stranger, mutually pity thee.
ION: As not knowing who bore me and of what father I was begotten. .
CREUSA: And dwellest thou in this temple, or at home?
ION: All the abode of the god is mine, wherever sleep may come upon me.
CREUSA: And didst thou come to the temple when thou wast a boy, or a young man?
ION: Those who appear to know say that I came as a babe.
CREUSA: And who of the women of Delphi reared thee with her milk?
ION: Never did I know the breast. But she who reared me was
§ 320 CREUSA: Who, hapless one? How being troubled have I found troubles.
ION: The prophetess of Phoebus; I regard her as a mother.
CREUSA: And possessed of what maintenance, hast thou arrived at manhood?
ION: The altars fed me and the stranger that came from time to time.
CREUSA: To be pitied then was she that bore thee, whoever she was.
ION: I was the fruit perchance of some woman's error.
CREUSA: And thou hast a livelihood? for thou art handsomely decked in robes.
ION: I am arrayed in the garb of the god, whom I serve.
CREUSA: And didst thou not go in search to discover thy parentage?
ION: No, lady, for I have no token of it.
§ 330 CREUSA: Alas! Another woman has suffered the same troubles as thy mother.
ION: Who? I should rejoice, if she would sympathize with my misfortunes.
CREUSA: She for whose sake I came hither before my husband should arrive.
ION: What manner of thing desiring? as I will give thee my services, lady.
CREUSA: Wishing to learn a secret oracle from Phoebus.
ION: Speak: I will arrange for thee all the rest.
CREUSA: Hear then the story. But I am ashamed
ION: Thou wilt accomplish nothing then: the goddess (Aidos) is an inactive deity.
CREUSA: One of my friends declares that she had intercourse with Phoebus.
ION: A woman born, with Phoebus? Say not so, stranger lady.
§ 340 CREUSA: Yes, and bore a son to the god unknown to her father.
ION: Impossible! She is ashamed of seduction by a man.
CREUSA: She herself says that it is not so: and she has suffered sad griefs.
ION: What doing? since she was united with a god.
CREUSA: She carried forth the son which she bore out of the house and exposed him.
ION: And where is the boy which was exposed? does he behold the light?
CREUSA: None knows. This would I learn from the oracle.
ION: But if he is no more, in what manner did he perish?
CREUSA: She supposes that wild beasts killed him, poor boy.
ION: What evidence had she to make her think this?
§ 350 CREUSA: When she went to the place where she had exposed him, she found him no longer there.
ION: And were there any drops of blood in the way?
CREUSA: She says there were not, although she traversed the ground oft.
ION: And how long is it since the child was destroyed?
CREUSA: If he were alive, he would have the same measure of youth as thou.
ION: Did she not then afterwards bear any other child?
CREUSA: The god seduced her: but she has borne no other and is wretched.
ION: But what, if Phoebus has taken him and is rearing him up secretly.
CREUSA: He does not right to rejoice alone in a subject of common rejoicing.
ION: Alas! his fortunes are in harmony with my fate.
§ 360 CREUSA: After thee too, stranger, I ween that a wretched mother yearns.
ION: Yet tempt me not to a grief which I have forgotten.
CREUSA: I am silent. But go on with those matters about which I ask thee.
ION: Knowest thou then what feature of thy story involves most difficulty?
OR. And what is there that does not with her, poor soul, go wrong?
ION: How shall the god declare what he wishes to be concealed?
CREUSA: He will, since he is seated on the common tripod of Greece.
ION: He is ashamed of his deed. Seek not to convict him.
CREUSA: But still she who suffered from it is distressed by her misfortunes.
ION: There is not any who will reveal these
§ 370 things to thee. For Phoebus being made to appear guilty in his own temple would with reason work some ill to him that delivered the oracle to thee: Cease, lady: we must not by oracles enquire into what is adverse to the god. For to such a height of folly should we come, if we shall constrain the gods against their will to declare the things that they would not, either by the sacrifices of sheep before their altars, or through auguries by birds. For the good things which we seek after against the will of the gods and
§ 380 in spite of them, we gain nothing by possessing, lady: but by those which they grant willingly, we are benefited.
CHORUS: Many are the misfortunes of many amongst mortals, and the forms of them differ. But scarcely can one ever find one unvarying course of prosperity in the life of men.
CREUSA: Phoebus, both in that and in this thou art unjust to her who is absent from thee, but whose request is present. Neither hast thou protected thy son, whom thou shouldest have protected, nor being a prophet wilt thou inform his mother when she enquires of thee, in order that, if he is no more, he may be honoured with a tomb, but, if he is alive, he
§ 390 may come to behold his mother at last. But I must investigate this matter by myself, if, I am forbidden by the god to learn what I wish. But, stranger, (for I see my noble spouse Xuthus already near, having quitted the chambers of Trophonius) say nought to my husband of the words which have been spoken, lest I should incur any reproach by undertaking secret missions, and the story may be spread not quite in the way in which I was unfolding it to thee. For the position of women is difficult with respect to men,
§ 400 and we are liable to be hated all alike, the good confounded with the bad: so unfortunate are we.
XUTHUS. First, all hail the god, receiving the prime offerings of my salutations, and thou next, my lady. Have I alarmed thee with fears by the lateness of my coming?
CREUSA: In no wise, but thou hast come as I was beginning to be anxious. However tell me what response thou bringest from Trophonius, how a seed of children shall be obtained by us.
XUTHUS: He thought it not right to anticipate the response of the god: but one thing he said, that I should not go home from the oracle, nor thou, childless.
§ 410 CREUSA: revered mother of Phoebus, may it be with good omen that we have come hither, and may our former votive offerings to thy son change and become more auspicious.
XUTHUS: This will be. But who is interpreter for the god?
ION: I am without, but things within are entrusted to others, who sit near the tripod, stranger, nobles of the Delphians, to whom the lot has fallen.
XUTHUS: ' Tis well: I have learned now all that I wanted. I will go in: for, as I hear, the common victim for the visitors to the oracle has fallen in front
§ 420 of the temple: and I desire this day, for it is a propitious one, to receive the response of the god. And do thou, my lady, take branches of laurel and at the altars pray to the gods that I may bring away from the house of Apollo a response granting children to us.
CREUSA: This shall be done, it shall be. But if Loxias should choose even now to make amends for his former misdeeds, he would not be all favourable to us, but whatever he deigns, for he is a god, will I accept.
ION: What can be the reason why the stranger-lady
§ 430 is constantly speaking by dark hints and throwing out reproaches against the god in secret speeches? Is it either because she loves her on whose behalf she consults the god, or else because she would conceal something which need be concealed? But what care I for the daughter of Erectheus? She is nought to me. Well, I will go and with golden pitchers place water in the lavers. But I must remind Phoebus what he is doing: he deflowers virgins by force and deserts them: he begets children clandestinely and suffers them to die. Do not thou thus: but, since thou art mighty, pursue virtuous
§ 440 deeds. For whoever among mortals is evil, him the gods chastise. How then is it right that ye, having laid down the law for mortals, should yourselves be guilty of breaking the law? But if ye (it will not be so, but I will use the argument) shall make satisfaction to men for your forcible amours, thou and Poseidon and Zeus who rules the sky, you will empty your temples to pay the penalties of your wrong deeds. For ye do wrong by your eagerness for your pleasures in preference to reason: no more is it right to
§ 450 call men evil, since we imitate the evil deeds of the gods, but those who teach them these things.
CHORUS: I beseech thee, my Athena, who didst need no Eilithyia to assist at the pangs of thy birth, brought forth from the crown of Zeus's head by Promethean Titan, thou august Victory, fly from the golden chambers of Olympus
§ 460 to the public ways and come to the Pythian abode, where the Phoebean shrine in the mid-navel of the earth delivers unfailing oracles at the choir-girt tripod, thou and the maid Leto-born, two goddesses, two virgins, revered sisters of Phoebus. And supplicate him, maidens, that the ancient
§ 470 race of Erechtheus may obtain the blessing of offspring, though late, by his holy responses. For it involves surpassing happiness, an undisturbed fund of joy, to mortals to whom youthful scions of children flourish fruitful in their fathers' halls, to keep wealth
§ 480 inherited from their fathers for other children: for it is an aid in troubles, and with good fortune it is a delightful thing, and it brings protecting aid to their native land with the spear. To. me before wealth and royal nuptials be a dear offspring of beloved children. But I abhor childless life, and I blame him for whom it has charms: and, with
§ 490 moderate possessions in life, may I be reckoned blest with children. ye abodes of Pan and thou rock neighbouring to the cavernous Macrae, where the three daughters of Agraulos foot it in the dance o'er the green course before the temple of Pallas, to the varied
§ 500 sound of the strains of thy pipe, when thou pipest, Pan, in thy rustic cave, where a maid, wretched one! having brought forth a babe to Phoebus, exposed it as a banquet to birds and a bloody repast to wild beasts, the offspring of forced embraces bearing bitter fruit. Neither in works of the loom have I seen it, nor in story have I heard the fame that children of mortals by the gods partake of a happy destiny.
§ 510 ION: Ye attendant women, who wait for your master, keeping watch about the steps of this incensed temple, has Xuthus already quitted the sacred tripod and oracle, or is he staying yet in the house enquiring of his childless condition?
CHORUS: He is in the temple, stranger: he comes not forth from this house as yet. But I hear the noise of the doors here, as if he were at the portals, and now thou mayst see my lord coming out.
XUTHUS: All well to thee, my child (for it becomes me to address thee first ).
ION: All's well with me: but be thou in thy sober senses, and two of us will be the better for it.
XUTHUS: Give me to kiss thy hand and to embrace thy body.
§ 520 ION: Art thou in thy sober senses, stranger, or has some curse of the god driven thee mad?
XUTHUS: I am in my senses, since, having found my best beloved, I seek to embrace him.
ION: Hold, touch not the fillets of the god nor break them with thy hand.
XUTHUS: I will touch thee and yet I seek not to tear thee away, but I have found my beloved child.
ION: Wilt thou not let me go, before thou receivest my arrows in thy lungs?
XUTHUS: Why, I pray, wouldst thou fly from me, now that thou hast discovered thy own dearest parent?
ION: I love not to bring rude and crazy strangers to their senses.
XUTHUS: Slay me, burn me: well, if thou slay me, thou wilt be the murderer of thy father.
ION: And how art thou my father? Is not this laughable for me to hear?
XUTHUS: No: My account of the matter will quickly shew thee who I am.
§ 530 ION: And what is it thou wilt tell me?
XUTHUS: I am thy father, and thou art my son.
ION: "Who declares so?
XUTHUS: Loxias who reared thee, being really mine.
ION: Thou to thyself art witness.
XUTHUS: Yes, but after learning the oracle of the god.
ION: Thou didst mistake, having heard some ambiguous response.
XUTHUS: Then my ears deceive me.
ION: What now are Phoebus' words?
XUTHUS: That he who met me
ION: Met thee how?
XUTHUS: As I came out from this temple of the god
ION: What then of him?
XUTHUS: Was my son.
ION: Thine born, or the gift to thee of others?
XUTHUS: A gift, but of me begotten.
ION: And thy footsteps first fall in with me?*
XUTHUS: None else, my child.
ION: Whence can the strange event have come to pass?
XUTHUS: We twain marvel at one strange event alike.
§ 540 ION: Good heavens! But of what mother was I born to thee?
XUTHUS: I cannot tell.
ION: And did not Phoebus say?
XUTHUS: At this rejoiced, I questioned not of that.
ION: I sprung, it seems then, from the earth as my mother.
XUTHUS: The ground brings not forth children.
ION: How then should I be thine?
XUTHUS: I know not, but I refer the conformation of it to the god.
ION: Come, let us take up other discourse.
XUTHUS: 'Twere better to do this, my son.
ION: Didst thou ever approach any illegitimate bed?
XUTHUS: In the folly of youth.
ION: Before thou tookest to wife the daughter of Erechtheus?
XUTHUS: Yes; for never yet have I since approached any.
ION: Didst thou then beget me thus I
XUTHUS: There is a correspondence in time at least.
ION: And then how could I come hither?
XUTHUS: I am at a loss to tell this.
ION: And accomplish so long a journey?
XUTHUS: This confounds me too.
§ 550 ION: And camest thou ever before to the Pythian rock?
XUTHUS: Yes, to the orgies of Bacchus.
ION: And didst thou tarry in the house of any of the public hosts?
XUTHUS: One, who with the Delphian maids
ION: Joined thee in the Bacchic dances? or what meanest thou?
XUTHUS: Yes with the Maenades of Bacchus.
ION: Whilst thou was in thy senses, or drunk with wine?
XUTHUS: In the pleasures of Bacchus.
ION: This is the source whence I was sprung.
XUTHUS: Fate hath found thee, my child.
ION: And how came I to the temple?
XUTHUS: A cast-away perhaps by the hands of the maiden.
ION: I have escaped the fate of servile origin.
XUTHUS: Receive thy father then, my child.
ION: It is not meet indeed to disbelieve the god.
XUTHUS: Then thou art wise.
ION: And what else should I wish
XUTHUS: Now thou seest as thou shouldest see.
ION: Than to be born son of the son of Zeus?
XUTHUS: "Which falls to thy lot.
§ 560 ION: Shall I indeed embrace him that begot me?
XUTHUS: Yes, in obedience to the god.
ION: Hail, father.
XUTHUS: Joyous those accents have I heard.
ION: And hail, thou day now present.
XUTHUS: Yes, happy has it made me.
ION: mother dear, shall I ever see thy form also? Now long I more than ever to behold thee, whoever thou art. But perhaps thou art dead, and I can never behold thee.
CHORUS: Shared by us are the good fortunes of thy house: but still I had wished that our mistress also and the race of Erechtheus were happy in possessing children.
XUTHUS: My son, as to thy recovery the god has duly
§ 570 accomplished the oracle, and he hath both united thee to me, and thou on thy part hast discovered thy dear parent, not knowing him before. But what thou hast rightly with so much eagerness desired, this I too long for that thou, my son, mayst discover thy mother, and her, I of whom thou wast brought forth. And, if we leave it to time, we may perhaps discover this. But quit the temple of the god and thy unsettled life, and yielding thy will to thy father come to Athens, where the prosperous sceptre of thy father awaits thee and abundant wealth; and thou wilt not, though unfortunate
§ 580 in one respect, be called at the same time ignobly born and poor, but high-born and rich in substance. Art thou silent? Why keepest thou thine eye fixed on the ground? And thou art lost in thought, and changed again from thy joyfulness inspirest fears in thy father.
ION: The face of things whilst they are at a distance, and when looked at close, appears not the same. I embrace my fortune in having discovered thee as my father: but hear about what I am thinking
§ 590 on. They say that the famed earth-born Athens is no alien race, and there I shall fall under two disadvantages which I possess, being of an alien father and myself of bastard birth. And having this reproach, I shall be esteemed * * * nought and of mean birth, if destitute of power: but if aiming at the first seat in the vessel of the state, I seek to be something, I shall be hated by the humbler sort: for superiors are obnoxious to them: and amongst all that, being good and enduring to be wise, hold their peace and
§ 600 are not eager to engage in state affairs, I shall incur ridicule and the charge of folly , because I keep not quiet in a city full of censure: and I shall be the more jealously guarded by the votes of those on the other hand who are eloquent and follow politics, if I attain to eminence. For thus, my father, are these things wont to be: those who possess political power and eminence, are most hostile to their rivals. And when I come an intruder to a strange house, and to a childless lady, who, sharing thy misfortune with thee before, but now
§ 610 having ceased to be of equal lot, will bear her fate alone with bitter sorrowing, how shall I fail to be naturally hated by her, when I stand by thee near thy foot, and she, childless as she is, beholds thy beloved one with bitter jealousy, and then either thou abandonest me and hast regard to thy wife, or upholdest me, and embroilest thy house? How many ways of blood-shed and destruction by deadly poisons have women invented for men. And moreover I pity thy wife, my father, growing old still childless: for,
§ 620 born of noble ancestors, she ought not to lack children to continue the race. Of royalty that is falsely praised, the outside indeed is pleasing, but the domestic state is grievous: for who is happy, who is fortunate, that spends his life in fear and in apprehension of violence? And I would choose to live having the good fortune to be a commoner rather than a monarch, to whom it is a pleasure to have bad men for his friends, but he hates good men, fearing to be put to death. Thou wilt say that gold outweighs this, and that it is
§ 630 pleasing to the rich: I love not to hear reproaches because I keep my wealth in my hands, or to incur trouble. Be mine the mean, and no disturbing cares. Now hear from me, my father, what blessings I had here: first, leisure which is very dear to men, and little disturbance: nor did any ruffian ever drive me from the path; for this is unendurable to yield to the baser sort and make way for them. And I was engaged in prayers to the gods or converse with men, attending on those well pleased and not murmuring.
§ 640 And to some visitors I would bid farewell, and others would come, so that I was always cheerful being new to new comers. And (what should be prayed for by men, even though it should be against their will ) duty and natural disposition led me to be faithful to the god. Considering all these things, I deem my life here better than living there, my father. Permit me to live in my own way: for equal is the delight to rejoice in great possessions, or to have a little and be pleased.
CHORUS: Well hast thou said, if those whom I love, shall find happiness in thy words.
§ 650 XUTHUS: Cease from this discourse, and learn to be happy: for I wish to make a beginning, my son, at the very place where I have found you, by joining in the common feast of a common table, and to offer the sacrifices which I offered not before in acknowledgement of thy birth. And for the present, I will take thee as merely a guest at my hearth and entertain thee with banquets; and I will take thee as a supposed visitor come to see the land of the Athenians, as if thou wert not my son. For I wish not to pain my wife, childless as she is, by my own happiness. But in time, taking
§ 660 a proper occasion, I will induce my spouse to let thee hold my sceptre over the land. And I name thee Ion, a name suited to thy destinies, because thou wast the first to present thy footstep to me as I came out from the shrine of the god. But gather together the crew of thy friends, and with feast of slaughtered ox s bid them farewell, before thou quittest the Delphian city. And I bid you, ye handmaids, say nought of these matters, or, if ye tell them to my spouse, I threaten you with death.
ION: I will go: but one thing in my fortune is lacking to me: if I shall not find her who bore me, my
§ 670 father, I cannot endure life: but, if I must utter a prayer, may the woman who gave me birth be of Athens, that freedom of speech may be accorded to me through my mother. For if any alien's lot is cast in a city of pure race, though he be in name a citizen, yet has he his mouth enslaved, and possesses not freedom to speak his thoughts.
CHORUS: Tears,* tears I see, and the woful beginnings of groans besides , when my royal mistress beholds her
§ 680 husband blessed with a son , and she is childless herself and destitute of offspring. What a prophetic strain didst thou utter, presaging son of Leto? whence, from whom of women, did this youth nurtured about thy temple, spring? For the response of the god not pleases me, as I am afraid that it involves some deceit.
§ 690 I fear to what the event will come. For marvellous he reports responses marvellous to me, sounding well perhaps to this young man. The youth bred of some other race has this good fortune by some deceit. Who will not agree with me in this? Dear sister slaves, shall we tell all this distinctly to my lady's ear about her husband, whose hopes and fears, poor soul, she used to share, having all her affections bound up in him? But now she is overwhelmed with calamity, but he is fortunate, she fallen into grey
§ 700 age, but her husband caring nought for his partner. Wretched man! who having come an alien to the house, into great power and wealth, has not preserved consistency with his fortunes. May he perish, may he perish who has deceived my beloved mistress: and may he not find favour when he offers at the fire the cake sending forth its bright flame to the gods: but he
§ 710 shall know me * * * * friend of the royal house.* Already is approaching to the new-spread banquet the son, and the new-found father. ye crags that occupy the peaks and cloud-girt heights of the rock of Parnassus, where uplifting blazing torches, Bacchus nimbly bounds with night-roaming Bacchanals. Never
§ 720 may the youth come to my city, but may he quit his young life and die. For the city would have reason in lamenting the entering in of strangers. But enough, enough for as King Erechtheus that was our prince before.
CREUSA: aged pedagogue of Erechtheus the father that once was mine, when he was still in being, ascend to the oracle of the god, that thou mayest rejoice with me, if King Loxias has spoken any oracle purporting
§ 730 the birth of children; for it is delightful to be prosperous in the company of friends, and if any evil (but may it not so prove) should befall, it is sweet to look upon the face of a man that loves us. But thee I cherish in a father's place, thy mistress though I am, as thou too didst my father once.
PEDAGOGUE: Daughter, thou preservest the worthy manners of worthy parents, and hast not disgraced thy race, ancient as it is, sprung from the soil itself. Pull me on, pull me on and lead me to the temple. The oracle is high up in truth: but do thou, helping my limbs to
§ 740 accomplish the task, be physician of mine old age.
CREUSA: Come along with me then: but be careful where thou settest thy foot.
PED. See. My foot indeed is slow, but my will is quick.
CREUSA: And support thyself, with thy staff as thou goest over the ground.
FED. This too is a blind guide, when I cannot see.
CREUSA: Thou hast well said: but do not give in to the toil.
FED. I will not do so then willingly, but I have no control over what is wanting to me.
CREUSA: Ye women, faithful slaves of my loom and shuttle, inform me what luck my husband who is gone, has met with as to children, for the sake
§ 750 of whom we came: for if ye shall declare good neivs to me, thou wilt not confer joys on a mistress that will be faithless to reward you.
FED. The prelude to your words is not fortunate.
CHORUS: Ah! wretched.
FED. But is there aught should grieve me in the response given to my lord?
CHORUS: Well. What are we to do about a matter about which death is the appointed penalty?
CREUSA: What strain is this, and about what are your fears?
CHORUS: Shall we tell her, or be silent, or what shall we do?
CREUSA: Tell me; as thou knowest some calamity affecting me.
§ 760 CHORUS: Told it shall be, even if I have to die twice over. It is not granted to thee, my mistress, to take children in thine arms, or ever draw them to thy breast.
CREUSA: Ah me! May I die!
CREUSA: Ah poor me for my calamity! I have sustained, I have suffered, dear handmaids, a woe that will not let me live.
PED. We are utterly undone, my daughter.
CREUSA: Alas! alas! grief has stricken me through and through to my heart.
PED. Groan not yet
CREUSA: But cause for wailing is here.
§ 770 PED. Before we learn
CREUSA: What news for me?
PED. If our master fares in like manner and is a sharer in thy calamity, or thou art unhappy alone.
CHORUS: To him, old man, did Loxias grant a child, and he is happy by himself without this lady.
CREUSA: This evil upon evil hast thou uttered, hast thou uttered, a crowning grief for me to mourn.
PED. But is the child whom thou sayest, to be begotten of some woman, or did he speak in the oracle of one already born?
§ 780 CHORUS: Loxias gives him for a son one that is already a grown up young man: and I was present when he received him.
CREUSA: How sayest thou? Thou speakest words too shocking to my ears to be told, too shocking to be told, too sad to utter.
PED. Yes, and to mine also. But tell me more particularly how the oracle is fulfilled, and who the youth is.
CHORUS: Him whom thy husband should meet first after departing from the god, the god gave to him for a son.
CREUSA: Welladay! and I have gotten, have gotten for my portion a life all childless, childless, and
§ 790 in solitude shall inhabit a desolate home.
PED. Who then was it that was spoken of by the oracle? Whom did the husband of the poor lady meet? and how, where did he see him?
CHORUS: Knowest thou, my dear mistress, the young man who was wont to sweep this temple? This is the youth.
CREUSA: that I might fly through the humid air afar from the Hellenic land up to the western stars, such woe, such woe have I suffered, dear handmaids.
§ 800 PED. And knowest thou by what name his father calls him, or does this rest in silence not yet determined?
CHORUS: Ion, as he was the first to meet his father.
PED. And by what mother is he?
CHORUS: I am not able to say. But (that thou mayst know all, old man, so far as I can tell thee s ) the husband of this lady is gone by stealth to the holy house to offer for his son hospitable and natal sacrifices, and to join in a banquet along with his new-found son.
PED. My mistress, we are betrayed (for with thee do I suffer) by thy husband, and of set purpose are we
§ 810 outraged, and cast out from the house of Erechtheus. And I say it, not because I hate thy husband, but because I love thee more than him. For, when he had wed thee, though he came into the city and into thy house a stranger, and had received all thy inheritance, he is proved to have stealthily begotten children by some other woman: and how he stealthily did so, I will tell thee. When he found thee childless, he was not content to be like thee and to bear an equal share of this fate, but taking a servile partner, he lay with
§ 820 her secretly and begot the boy, and sending him out of the country, gives him to one of the Delphians to rear: and he is nurtured holy-free in the abode of the god, that he might remain unknown. But when he knew that he had grown up to be a young man, he persuaded thee to come hither on account of thy being childless. So then it was not the god who spoke falsely, but this thy husband who spoke falsely, having long reared up the boy, and fabricated some such web of deceit as this: if detected, he was ready to lay the blame on the deity, but if he came home with him, wishing that lapse of time also would speak in its own defence, he intended to invest him with the sovereignty of the land.
§ 830 And new is the name, devised for him after a long course of time , Ion, because, I suppose, he met him as he was going.
CHORUS: Ah me! how I always detest wicked men, who contrive acts of injustice, and then cloak them by their devices. I had rather get a dull honest man for my friend than a bad man of quicker wit.
FED. And thou wilt suffer, if he has his will, that which is the crowning evil of all these, introducing into thine house, as its future lord, one who knows no mother, who is of no account, and born of some woman that is a slave. For the evil would have been single
§ 840 in its kind, if pleading thy childlessness, he had persuaded thee, and supplemented his house from a well-born mother: but if this was grievous to thee, he should have sought a union with some descendant of Aeolus . After this thou must now do some deed worthy of a woman: for thou must slay thy husband and his son, either by taking a sword, or by some plot, or by poison, before death befall thee by them: for if thou shalt spare him, thou wilt be deprived of life: for when two enemies come beneath one roof, either the one or the other must suffer.
§ 850 I then am willing both to aid thee in accomplishing the deed, and to go into the house where he is making ready the banquet, and help to slay the youth, and, if I but repay my mistress for my nurture, either to die, or to live and still behold the light. For there is one thing that brings shame upon slaves, the name: but in all else no slave, who is right- minded, is worse than the free.
CHORUS: I too, my beloved mistress, am willing to share this calamity with thee, and either to die, or to live, if it be with honour. CREUSA: my soul, how shall I be silent? yet how
§ 860 shall I reveal my clandestine loves and bid farewell to shame? And yet why should I not? For what obstacle is yet left to hinder me? With whom should I now engage in contests of virtue? Has not my husband been a traitor to me? And I am bereft of home, bereft of children, and gone are the hopes which I cherished to arrange matters happily but failed, by keeping my loves secret, by keeping secret my deeply bewailed
§ 870 child-bearing. But no, by the starry dwelling of Zeus, and by the goddess of my native rocks, and by the hallowed shore of the watery Tritonian pool, no longer will I conceal my loves, as I shall be relieved by unburdening my breast. My eyes drop with tears, and my soul is sick, conspired against both by men, and by immortals,
§ 880 whom I will proclaim ungrateful betrayers of my love. thou that modulatest the voice of the seven-toned harp, which utters forth the sweet melodies of song to shepherds on the dumb sounding-board, to thee, son of Leto, will I proclaim reproach before this light of day. Thou earnest to me, thy locks all glittering with gold, when I was gathering into the bosom of
§ 890 my robe the blooming crocus leaves of golden sheen: and clinging to the white wrists of my hands, thou, a god, leddest me, in spite of my virgin shame, crying out "mother, mother," into the chamber of a grot, to lie with me, doing a pleasure to the Cyprian queen. And I, ill-fated maid, bear to thee a boy, whom from fear of my mother I place in the grotto which thou closest for thy couch, where thou didst embrace
§ 900 hapless me in hapless intercourse, ill-fated maid: (ah me! ah me!) and now to me is lost thy poor boy, carried away as a feast for the birds, but thou makest music with thy lyre, playing songs of joy. Ho! to the son of Leto I speak, to thee who grantest by lot the divine voice of prophecy; before thy
§ 910 golden shrine and dwelling in mid-earth, in thine ears will I utter aloud my speech. Ha! base seducer that thou art, who, having received from him no favours to repay, art bringing a son to dwell in the house of my husband; whilst my child and thine own has perished unnoticed, carried off by birds of prey, stripped of his mother's swathing bands. Hates thee Delos, and the
§ 920 branches of the laurel beside the delicate-leaved palm, where Leto bore thee, her divine offspring, by impregnation of Zeus.
CHORUS: Alas! how great a store of evils is being opened, at which any one might shed the tear.
PED. Daughter, I cannot in truth look long enough on thy face to satisfy myself that this is not a dream, and I am beside my senses. For as I was just getting rid of a wave of troubles in my mind, another in the wake upheaves me, raised by thy words, in which, no sooner hast thou spoken of the troubles immediately before thee, than thou hast gone off to a
§ 930 sad recital of other woes. "What sayest thou? what charge bringest thou against Loxias? what son is this thou sayest thou didst bear? where placedst him in the city, to be entombed as a sweet meal in the bowels of wild beasts? Repeat it to me again.
CREUSA: I feel abashed before thee, old man, but nathless I will tell it.
PED. Ay, for I know how to mourn in generous sympathy with friends.
CREUSA: Hear then: thou knowest the cavern on the north side of the Cecropian rock, which we call the Macrae?
PED. I know it, where there are a shrine and altars of Pan close by.
CREUSA: Here I went through a terrible struggle.
§ 940 PED. What struggle? Say, for my tears rise at thy words.
CREUSA: I contracted a hapless intercourse with Phoebus against my will.
PED. Daughter, was this then what I heard of?
CREUSA: I know not: but if thou art right in what thou speakest of, I will confess it.
PED. When thou wast suffering in secret from some concealed malady?
CREUSA: Then it was that the evil happened which I now plainly declare to thee.
PED. And after how didst thou conceal thy amours with Phoebus?
CREUSA: I bore a child: endure to hear this from me, aged man.
PED. Who delivers thee? and where? Or dost thou go through these sufferings all alone?
CREUSA: Alone, in the very cavern where I was embraced by the god.
§ 950 PED. But where is the child? Say, that no longer childless thou mayest be.
CREUSA: He is dead, old man, having been exposed to the wild beasts.
PED. Dead? And did that base Apollo in no way aid him?
CREUSA: He aided him not, but he is spending his boyhood in Hades.
PED. Why, who exposed him? For surely thou didst not.
CREUSA: I did, in the darkness, swathing him with my robe.
PED. And did none aid thee in exposing the child? CREUSA: None beside my misfortunes and the necessity for concealment.
PED. And how hadst thou the heart to leave thy child in the cavern?
CREUSA: How? / left him after uttering many piteous words from my mouth.
§ 960 PED. Alas! hard-hearted thou for the deed, but more than thou the god.
CREUSA: Yes, hadst thou seen the boy stretching out his hands to me.
PED. Seeking the breast, or to lie in thy arms?
CREUSA: In them, from which it was cruel of me to keep him.
PED. But how came it into thy mind to expose the child?
CREUSA: I thought that the god would preserve his own son.
PED. Ah me! How is the prosperity of thy house destroyed by storms.
CREUSA: Why dost thou hide thy head, old man, and shed tears?
PED. Because I see thee and thy father involved in misfortunes.
CREUSA: Such are human affairs: nothing remains constant.
§ 970 PED. Let us therefore, daughter, no longer go on lamenting.
CREUSA: Why, what must I do? To be in misfortunes is to be helpless.
PED. Requite the god who was the first to do thee wrong.
CREUSA: And how am I, mortal as I am, to overcome mightier beings?
PED. Fire the holy oracle of Loxias.
CREUSA: I am afraid: even now I have woes enough.
PED. Dare then what thou canst do to slay thy husband.
CREUSA: I cannot do it, for the sake of our wedded life in those days when he was faithful.
PED. But do thou at least slay the youth who has appeared as a usurper over thee.
CREUSA: How? that it were possible! For should be glad to do it.
§ 980 PED. By arming thy attendants with swords.
CREUSA: I will go and do so; but where shall this be done?
FED. In the sacred tent, where he is feasting his friends.
CREUSA: The slaying of him thus is an undisguised deed, and my slaves are weak to protect me.
PED. Alas! thou art turning coward. Come, do thou then propose something.
CREUSA: Well, I have a plan to kill him by guile and a plan to act.
FED. In either of these will I be thy helper.
CREUSA: Hear then: thou knowest about the battle of the sons of Earth?
PED. I do, the battle which the Giants waged with the gods at Phlegra.
CREUSA: There Earth brought forth the Gorgon, terrible monster.
§ 990 PED. As an ally to her children and foe of the gods?
CREUSA: Yes: and the daughter of Zeus, the goddess Pallas, slew her.
PED. What sort of savage appearance had she?
CREUSA: She had a breast-plate armed with the coils of a hydra.
PED. Is this the story which I have long ago heard?
CREUSA: That it is her hide which Athena wears on her breast.
PED. What they call the aegis, the accoutrement of Pallas?
CREUSA: It got this name, when she came to the wars of the gods.
PED. What harm, I pray, is this to thy enemies, my daughter?
CREUSA: Knowest thou Erichthonius, or not? But how canst thou fail to know him, old man?
§ 1000 PED. Him, whom the earth produced, the first ancestor of your race?
CREUSA: To him, when new-born, Pallas gives
PED. What? For thou art saying something which excites my expectation.
CREUSA: Two drops from the blood of the Gorgon
PED. And what virtue should it have against the life of a man?
CREUSA: One of them causing death, and the other able to heal diseases.
PED. By what did she attach it to the boy's body?
CREUSA: By a band of gold: and he gives it to my father.
PED. And, when he died, it came to thee?
CREUSA: Yes: and I wear it on the wrist of my hand.
§ 1010 PED. How then is the two-fold gift of the goddess made effectual?
CREUSA: That which dropped from the gore of the hollow vein
PED. For what purpose is this to be used? What virtue does it exert?
CREUSA: It wards off diseases and has the power of supporting life.
PED. But the second which thou speakest of, what does it?
CREUSA: It kills, being the venom of the Gorgon's snakes.
PED. And dost thou bear it mingled in one, or separately?
CREUSA: Separately: for good mixes not with evil.
PED. My dearest daughter, all hast thou which thou needest.
CREUSA: By this the youth shall die: and thou shalt be his slayer.
§ 1020 PED. Where? And what shall I do? 'Tis thine to speak, and mine to dare.
CREUSA: In Athens, when he comes to my house.
PED. This hast thou not well said: forgive my words, for thou too findest fault with my plan.
CREUSA: How not well said? Hast thou suspected that which now occurs to me also?
PED. Thou wilt appear to have slain the boy, even if thou shalt not kill him.
CREUSA: Eight: for they say that stepmothers bear enmity to children.
PED. Kill him therefore here,* that thou mayst be able to deny the murder.
CREUSA: Ay, and I enjoy the pleasure of slaying him so much the earlier.
PED. And thou wilt not be known to thy husband to possess the secret which he is anxious should not be known to thee.
CREUSA: Knowest thou then what thou art to do?
§ 1030 Take from my hand this gold bracelet of Athena's, an antique work, go where my husband by stealth is banqueting on the slain ox, and when they cease from the feast and are about to pour libations to the gods, keeping this concealed in thy robe, drop the contents into the young man's cup (but into his individually, not the cups of all, distinguishing his draught from the rest ) who is about to lord it over my house. And if it once pass his throat, never will he come to renowned Athens, but will die and abide here.
PED. Do thou then depart to the house of our
§ 1040 hosts; and I will perform the task to which I am appointed. Come, aged foot, grow young for work, though it is not natural to thee from long course of time. And go with my mistress against a foe, and help to slay him and to rid her house of him. For it is a fine thing for men in prosperity to hold righteousness in honour, but when any one would work harm to enemies, there is no law laid down to forbid it.
CHORUS: Enodia, daughter of Demeter, who art queen
§ 1050 of nightly visitants, guide also in the light of day the contents of the fatal bowl to them for whom my loved, loved mistress sends it, contents taken from the drops trickling from the wounded throat of earth-born Gorgon, to him who aspires to the house of the Erechthidae. Nor may any other of another house
§ 060 ever reign over the city besides the noble Erechthidae. But if his death shall fail to be accomplished, and the eager schemes of our mistress, and the opportunity for the daring deed shall pass away, by which her hopes are now sustained, either she will take a sharpened sword, or she will fasten a noose to her throat about her neck, and putting an end to her sufferings by sufferings, she will go down to another form of life. For never would she live and endure
§ 1070 in the sight of her brightly beaming eyes others of alien race ruling her house, she that is bom of so noble a line as hers. I feel shame for the god of many hymns, if keeping vigil he shall in the night behold the torch that witnesses the Icades about the springs of Callichorus, when the star-eyed heavens of
§ 1080 Zeus too wont to dance, and dances the Moon, and the fifty daughters of Nereus, who dance over the sea and the eddies of ever flowing-streams, in honour of Kore with the golden crown and the hallowed Mother; where, entering on the possessions
§ 1090 of others, the homeless foster-child of Phoebus hopes to reign. All ye who, following after poesy, sing in reproachful strains our loves and unlawful unholy alliances coming of the Cyprian queen, see how much we surpass in purity the unrighteous race of men. Let the contrary song go forth against men, and the verse reproachful for their amours. For the descendant from the sons of Zeus shews his forgetfulness of her in not begetting for my mistress children who should be a boon common to the house: but instead of this, to please Venus, he has gotten him a bastard son.
ATTENDANT. Stranger women, where shall I find my mistress the daughter of Erechtheus? For I have gone all over the city seeking her, and am not able to find her.
CHORUS: But what is the matter, my fellow-slave? What makes thy feet in such eager haste? and what tidings dost thou bring?
ATT. We are pursued; and the native magistrates of the land are in search of her, that she may be stoned to death.
CHORUS: Alas! What wilt thou say? Surely we have not been discovered in contriving a secret murder against the youth?
ATT. Thou art right: and thou wilt be not amongst the last to share in the evil consequences.
CHORUS: But how was the secret plot discovered?
ATT. The god, not willing to be defiled, found out a way for unrighteousness to be overcome of right.
CHORUS: How? I pray and beseech thee to tell me
§ 1120 this. For we should die more contentedly, when we have learned whether we must die or still behold the light.
ATT. When the husband of Creusa, having left the oracle of the god, and having received his new son, had gone away to the banquet and offerings which he was preparing in honour of the gods, Xuthus himself went where the fire of the god bounds in Bacchic dance, that he might steep the twin rocks in the blood of sacrifices to Dionysus in the place of his son's opteria, first saying to him: Do thou then, my son, stay and rear a spacious tent
§ 1130 by the labours of artificers. But if I stay a long time in sacrificing to the gods presiding over birth, let there be a feast for thy assembled friends. And taking the calves, he went his way. But the young man in due form proceeded to erect the unwalled enclosure of the tent with upright poles, carefully guarding neither towards the mid-day beams of the sun's fires to erect it, nor on the other hand towards his dying rays, and measuring out a plethrum's length square (a space of ground having for the contents of its area a sum of ten thousand feet, as say
§ 1140 those skilled in numbers), with intent to invite all the people of Delphi to the feast. And having gotten sacred hangings from the treasury of the temple, works wondrously beautiful for men to behold, he made with them a covering for the tent. First he spreads over the roof a dependent awning of pepli, the offering of the son of Zeus, which Herakles presented to the god as the spoils of the Amazons. And there was woven in them in pictured forms a design of this kind: Uranus marshalling the heavenly bodies in the circle of the sky. The Sun was urging his horses towards his last fires, ushering in the bright light of Hesperus. And
§ 150 dark-robed Night was whirling her car with a yoke of two steeds: and the stars were bearing the goddess company. The Pleiads were going through the mid sky, and Orion girt with sword: and above, the Bear wheeling round her tail-stars by the revolution of the golden pole. And the orb of the full moon dividing the month in the midst was shooting upward, and the Hyades, most certain token for mariners, and the light-bringing Aurora chasing away the stars. And on the walls he hung other works of barbarian looms,
§ 1160 well-rowed ships opposed to Grecian ships, and wights, half men, half beasts, and their huntings on horses' feet, the chase of stags and fierce lions, and at the entrance, Cecrops beside his daughters coiling himself in folds, the offering of one of the Athenians: and in the midst of the feast he set goblets of gold: and a herald standing on tip-toe proclaimed that any inhabitant of the city who would was to come to the banquet. But when the tent was filled, adorned with garlands they
§ 1170 satisfied their appetite with abundant food. And when they had ceased from the enjoyment of it, an old man came forward and stood in the midst, and caused great laughter to the guests by his zealous activity: for he sent round water from the water-pots to wash their hands, and burned the gum of myrrh, and took charge of the gold vessels of libation, of his own accord setting himself this task. And when they came to the flutes and to the common bowl, the old man said, Ye must take away the small wine-cups, and bring in large ones, that
§ 1180 the guests who are present may more quickly make their hearts merry. Forthwith there was a bustle of attendants bringing silver-wrought paterae and golden: and he, taking a vessel selected from the rest, as if forsooth to do a pleasure to the new lord, offered it to him full, having first put into the wine an active poison which they say our mistress gave him, that the young man might quit the light: and none knew of this: but whilst the new-found son amongst the rest was holding the libation in his hands, one of the
§ 1190 slaves spoke an unlucky word: and he, as being brought up in the temple and amongst holy soothsayers, deemed it an omen, and bade fill a fresh bowl: and the first libation intended for the god he throws to the ground, and tells all to empty their paterae. And silence came over them. And we fill the sacred bowls with liquor and Byblian juice. And in the midst of this act a winged company of doves alights in the tent; for in the house of Loxias they dwell without fear. And when they had poured away the wine, they, in want of drink,
§ 1200 dipped their beaks into it, and drew it into their feathered throats. And to the rest of them the intended libation to the god was harmless: but the one which had settled where the new-found son had poured out his cup, and had tasted the liquor, anon shewed her plumed body convulsed, and became wild as a bacchanal, and screaming uttered sounds unaccountable: and all the company of banqueters marvelled at the sufferings of the bird: and she dies heaving convulsively, stretching out her red claws. But the predicted son dashed forth his bare arms from his robe across the table, and shouts,
§ 1210 Who of men intended to kill me? Shew me, old man: for thine was the officious zeal that served me, and from thy hand I received the draught. And immediately he seizes his aged arm and searches him, that he might catch the old man in the fact in possession of the poison. And he was discovered, and then he was with difficulty compelled to reveal the attempt of Creusa and the plot of the draught of wine. And the youth who had been made known by the oracle of Loxias, rushes out, taking the banqueters with him, and standing before the Pythian
§ 1220 rulers, he says, sacred land! An attempt is made to murder me with poison by the daughter of Erechtheus, a stranger woman. And the princes of Delphi decreed by general vote that my mistress should die by being hurled from a rock, as plotting to kill him that is consecrated, and attempting to enact a murder in the temple. And all the city is seeking her who with wretched fate pursued her wretched journey hither: for having come hither to ask children from Phoebus, she has lost her life along with the hope of offspring.
CHORUS: No way there is, no way for hapless
§ 1230 me there is to escape from death: for discovered now, discovered are these schemes of a libation from the clusters of Bacchus mingled with death by the infusion of the swiftly working drops of the hydra's blood, discovered is the purposed sacrifice to the gods below, a discovery putting an end to my life, and bringing the penalty on my mistress of being stoned to death. Whither shall I flee with wings or under the dark depths of the earth, to escape the calamity
§ 1240 of death by stoning? Shall I mount a chariot with four steeds of fleetest hoof, or the poop of ship p It is not possible to escape detection, when the god desires not to screen us from the penalty of crime. What fate awaits thee, my poor mistress, to suffer bodily? Shall we, before we suffer, determine to do some mischief to others ourselves, as is but just?
CREUSA: My handmaids, I am pursued to be put to death, condemned by the Pythian vote, and I am on the point of being given up to justice.
§ 1250 CHORUS: We know thy misfortunes, wretched lady, in what a sad condition thou art.
CREUSA: Whither then shall I fly? For with difficulty have I avoided death by getting the start of my pursuers in rushing from the house, and it is only by stealth, by eluding my enemies, that I have come here.
CHORUS: And whither else shouldest thou fly but to the altar?
CREUSA: And what will this avail me?
CHORUS: The gods permit not to slay a suppliant.
CREUSA: Yes, but it is by the law that I am to die.
CHORUS: Yes, if thou shouldst be taken and shouldst be in their power.
CREUSA: Ay, and here come on apace towards us my bitter enemies sword in hand.
CHORUS: Sit therefore at the altar. For even if thou shouldst be slain whilst thou art there, thou wilt entail on those who kill thee blood demanding vengeance: but we must bear our lot.
ION: O bull-faced visage of Cephisus her forefather,
§ 1260 what a viper is this that thou hast begotten, or rather dragon with eyes flashing murderous flames of fire, in whom is all daring, nor is she less cruel than the drops of Gorgon's blood, with which she sought to kill me. Seize her, that the summit of Parnassus, whence she shall be hurled by a bound from the rock, may cause those unsullied locks of hers to be torn. But a good fortune was mine, that prevented me from going to the city of Athens and falling under
§ 1270 the power of a step-mother. For amongst those who have befriended me do I reckon thy disposition towards me, in that thou wast a spite and a foe to me: for if thou hadst once entrapped me in thy house, thou wouldst have sent me outright to the mansions of Hades. But neither will the altar nor the temple of Apollo save thee, and any feeling of pity for thee is outweighed by pity for me and for my mother: for though her bodily presence is wanting to me, yet thus far is not the name of a mother wanting. See what scheme after scheme this vile woman has contrived: she has now crouched down at the altar, thinking to escape from the punishment due to her deeds.
§ 1280 CREUSA: I warn thee not to slay me where I have stationed myself, both for my sake and the god's.
ION: And what hast thou to do with Phoebus?
CREUSA: I commit my body as sacred to the keeping of the god.
ION: And yet thou didst try to slay the child of the god with poison.
CREUSA: But thou wast no longer the child of Loxias, but thy own father's.
ION: But I was, I mean in the absence of my father.
CREUSA: Well, thou wast then: but now I am his, and thou art so no longer.
ION: If thou art, thou art impious, but I was pious then.
CREUSA: And I slew thee, because thou wast an enemy to my house.
§ 1290 ION: I never came in arms into thy land.
CREUSA: Yes, most certainly; thou wast going to set the house of Erechtheus in a blaze.
ION: With what torches, or with what flames of fire?
CREUSA: Thou was going to dwell in my home, and take it away in spite of me.
ION: 'Twas because my father offered me the rule of the land which he had won.
CREUSA: But how had the descendants of Aeolus any share in the land of Pallas?
ION: He delivered it by arms, not words.
CREUSA: An ally cannot be an original possessor of the soil.
ION: And so thou didst attempt to slay me from fear of what?
CREUSA: In order that I might not die, the sure alternative, if thou shouldst not.
§ 1300 ION: Art thou envious, because thou art childless, at my father's having discovered me?
CREUSA: Wilt thou then make havoc of the homes of the childless?
ION: Nay, but was I to have no share at least of my father's possessions?
CREUSA: No more than spear and shield: this is thy whole inheritance.
ION: Quit the altar and the divine abode.
CREUSA: Keep thy exhortations for thy mother, wherever she is.
ION: And shalt thou attempt to kill me, and not undergo the penalty of thy crime?
CREUSA: Yes, if thou art willing to slay me in this sanctuary.
ION: What pleasure is it to thee to die grasping the wreaths of the god?
CREUSA: I shall cause grief to one of those by whom grief has been caused to me.
§ 1310 ION: Alas! Tis strange, how unfairly and without wise counsel the god has laid down his laws to mortals: for the wicked should not have been allowed to take refuge at the altar, but it should have been permitted to drive them away from it; for it is not good that evil hand should touch the gods: but the righteous only, any one that was wronged, should have been allowed to take refuge in holy places, and not the man that is good, and the man that is not, to meet together there and have equal protection from the gods.
PYTHIA: Hold, my son: for I have left the divining tripod within this enclosure, and am passing over it with my feet to come to thee, the prophetess
§ 1320 of Phoebus, chosen out of all the Delphian women according to the ancient custom of the tripod.
ION: Hail, mother dear to me, although thou barest me not.
PYTHIA: But at least I was called thy mother; and the name is not unpleasing to me.
ION: Hast thou heard how this woman endeavoured to kill me by a plot?
PYTHIA: I have heard: and yet thou art doing wrong to be so wrathful.
ION: Is it not right that I should in turn destroy those who seek to slay me?
PYTHIA: Wives were ever yet hostile to children born before their marriage.
ION: Yes, and so are we to step-mothers, if we are ill treated.
PYTHIA: Say not so. Leave the temple, and going to thy country
§ 1330 ION: What, I pray, wouldst thou exhort me to do?
PYTHIA: With hands pure from blood-guiltiness proceed to Athens attended by good omens.
ION: Surely the hands of every one are pure who slays his enemies.
PYTHIA: This do not thou: but hear from me the words which I have to tell thee.
ION: Speak: for thou wilt say whatever thou mayest say, in a friendly spirit.
PYTHIA: Seest thou this vessel which I am carrying in my hands?
ION: I see an old basket decked with chaplets.
PYTHIA: In this I found thee once upon a time, a new-born babe.
ION: What sayest thou? New to me is the story that has been related.
PYTHIA: Yes, for I kept it secret, but now I make it known to thee.
§ 1340 ION: How hast thou then concealed it from me so long, if thou didst find me then?
PYTHIA: The God wished to keep thee as a minister in his temple.
ION: And does he not desire to do so now? In what way am I to be assured of this?
PYTHIA: Having revealed thy father, he bids thee depart from this land.
ION: And hast thou preserved this by command, or from what motive?
PYTHIA: Loxias at the time suggested to my mind
ION: To do what? Say, finish thy story.
PYTHIA: To preserve this that I had found, to the present time.
ION: But what good, or what harm does it do to me?
PYTHIA: Herein are laid up the swaddling-clothes in which thou wast.
§ 1350 ION: Thou bringest these things forth as helps to discover my mother.
PYTHIA: Yes, as the god so wills, but did not before.
ION: this day of happy omens to me!
PYTHIA: Take them therefore, and find her that bore thee. And when thou hast visited all Asia and the limits of Europe, thou wilt learn about these matters thyself. For the sake of the god I reared thee, my son, and I now restore to thee these things, which he willed that I should find and keep, though without express command: but wherefore he so willed, I am not able to say. But none of mortal
§ 1360 beings knew that I had these, nor where they were hidden. And now farewell: for I embrace thee with equal affection as though I had given thee birth. But begin where thou oughtest to begin searching for thy mother; first, enquiring if any Delphian maid having born thee, brought thee to this temple and exposed thee, and next, if any Greek woman. And now thou hast learned all from me and from Phoebus, who took part in thy fortunes. lox. Alas! alas! How I shed the moist tear from my eyes, when I turn my thoughts to the time when she who bore me after furtive embraces,
§ 1370 secretly put me away, and gave me not the breast; but I passed the life of a servant in the abode of the god, without a name. The god was good, but my fate was hard: l for at the time that I ought to have been delicately nurtured in the arms of my mother, and to have had some enjoyment of life, I was deprived of my dearest mother's nourishment. And wretched also is she who bore me, since she has shared the same fate in losing the joy of possessing a son. And now I will take this basket and present it an offering to the god, that I may discover nothing that I would not. For if a
§ 1380 slave happens to have given me birth, to discover my mother is a worse thing for me than to say nought about her. Phoebus, I present this to thy temple. Yet what am I doing? I am opposing the good will of the god towards me, who has preserved these tokens of my mother for me. I must open this, and take heart. For never can I escape from what is fated. sacred chaplets, why, I pray, have ye been hidden from me, and ye bands, by which my treasures were guarded? Behold the covering of
§ 1390 the round basket, how it has been saved from growing old by some divine care, and the wicker-work is free from mouldiness: but the interval of time is long indeed for these hoarded relics to have lasted.
CREUSA: What apparition do I behold of things not even hoped for?
ION: Silence: thou wast an enemy to me before,
CREUSA: I cannot be silent c exhort me not. For I see the basket in which I formerly exposed thee, my child, when thou wast yet a helpless babe, taking thee to the grotto of Cecrops and the cavernous Macrae. But I will leave this altar, even if I must die.
§ 1400 ION: Seize this woman; for inspired with a sudden frenzy by the god, she has leaped up and left the sculptured altar; and bind her arms.
CREUSA: Go on to slay me, if ye will; since I will cling both to this and to thee and to what is shut up within it.
ION: Is not this abominable? I am being dragged away on a pretended claim of relationship.
CREUSA: Not so, but thou near and dear to me art found by one near and dear to thee.
ION: I near and dear to thee? And that is the reason why thou wouldst have secretly murdered me?
CREUSA: Yes, thou art my son, if that is nearest and dearest to one who bore thee.
ION: Leave off inventing falsehoods: right surely will I take thee.
CREUSA: May I arrive at this happiness; this, my son, is what I am aiming at.
§ 1410 ION: Is this basket empty, or hides it any contents?
CREUSA: Yes, thy garments, in which I formerly exposed thee.
ION: And wilt thou tell the name of them, before thou seest them?
CREUSA: Yes, and if I tell thee not, I will be bound to die.
ION: Speak; since thy boldness has about it something passing strange.
CREUSA: Look for the work which I wove when I was a girl in days gone by.
ION: What sort of work? Many are the works woven by maidens.
CREUSA: Not a perfect piece of work, but such as a first attempt at the loom might be.
ION: What pattern has it? thou must not try to catch me in this way.
CREUSA: A Gorgon in the central tissue of the robe.
§ 1420 ION: Zeus, what destiny is this that pursues me to the end?
CREUSA: And it is bordered with snakes after the manner of the aegis.
ION: See here! this is the piece of work: sure as an oracle we find it.
CREUSA: work of my maidenhood found at last.
ION: Is there anything besides this? or art thou lucky in guessing at this alone?
CREUSA: An antique thing, some snakes with jaws all gold.
ION: The gift of Athena, who bids Athenians deck their children with these ornaments?"
CREUSA: Yes, in imitation of what she did to Erichthonius of olden time.
ION: Do what, make what use, tell me, of the golden ornament?
CREUSA: As a necklace, for a new-born child to wear, my son.
§ 1430 ION: Here are the snakes* inside. But I want to know what the third thing is.
CREUSA: I put round thy head at the time a chaplet of the olive, which Athena first planted on the rock: which, if it still exists, never leaves its greenness, but flourishes as being produced from the original olive.
ION: mother most dear to me, with gladness beholding thee I kiss thy glad cheeks.
CREUSA: my son, thou light of joy more precious to thy mother than the light o/the sun (for the god will pardon this word), I- hold thee in my arms, a discovery beyond my hopes, who I thought was
§ 1440 dwelling beneath the earth in the depth with the shades and Persephone.
ION: But, my dear mother, in thy arms I seem as he that is dead and yet is not dead.
CREUSA: thou expanse of the bright sky, what words shall I utter, shall I cry aloud? Whence comes it that this unlooked-for delight has happened to me? Whence comes it that I have gotten this joy?
ION: To me it would at one time have seemed likely that anything in the world would happen sooner than this, that I am thy son.
CREUSA: I still tremble with fear.
§ 1450 ION: That thou hast me not, now that thou hast me?
CREUSA: So it seems, for far away my hopes had I cast. lady, from whom, from whom didst thou receive my babe into thy arms? By what hand came he to the house of Loxias?
ION: This was the work of the god: but as to the remainder of our destinies may we be as fortunate as the former part of them was unfortunate.
CREUSA: Not without tears wast thou born, my child, and with sighs wast thou parted from thy mother's arms: but now, against thy cheek, I freely breathe,
§ 1460 having found a joy most blissful.
ION: What thou sayest is true of thee and me alike.
CREUSA: I am no longer childless nor without offspring: our house is established, and the land has a prince: and Erechtheus flourishes again in youthful vigour, and the earth-born race no more looks on darkness, but is again enlightened by the rays of the sun.
ION: My mother, let my father, I pray, come and share the gladness which I have caused thee.
CREUSA: My child, my child, what is it thou sayest? How, how am I put to shame.
§ 1470 ION: How saidst thou?
CREUSA: Thou wast born to another, to another.
ION: Ah me! thy maidenhood brought me forth a spurious son?
CREUSA: Not celebrated by torches nor by dances did my union, bring thee forth, my son.
ION: Alas! I was begotten, my mother, of some ignoble father.
CREUSA: Bear witness the slayer of the Gorgon
ION: What is that thou saidst?
CREUSA: Who amid my native rocks dwells on the olive-planted hill.
§ 1480 ION: This that thou tellest me, this is an attempt to deceive me and no truth.
CREUSA: At the rock haunted by nightingales with Phoebus
ION: What sayest thou of Phoebus?
CREUSA: Was I united in stealthy love.
ION: Say on; for thou art about to tell me somewhat acceptable and fortunate to hear.
CREUSA: And at the tenth revolution of the month, I brought thee forth, a stealthy child, to Phoebus.
ION: thou that hast spoken words of greatest joy, if thou speakest words of truth.
CREUSA: And I put on thee to cover thee these swaddling-clothes the work of thy mother's maidenhood,
§ 1490 the clumsy attempts of my shuttle. And I gave thee not a mother's nurture with milk, nor with the breast, nor bathings with my hands, but in solitary cavern, for beaks of birds a prey and feast, wast thou exposed to die
ION: my mother that couldst endure to commit so terrible a deed.
CREUSA: By fear constrained I cast away thy life, my child; 'twas against my will I slew thee
§ 1500 ION: And thou wast about to die by my hand in an impious way.
CREUSA: Ah! Ah! terrible was our fate then, and terrible are these last events too: we are tossed to and fro by misfortunes and back again by good fortunes, and the gale is ever shifting. Be it constant at last: enough are the troubles of the past; but now there has sprung up a fair wind to bear us forth out of our troubles, my son.
CHORUS: Let none of men ever think that aught is beyond hope, seeing what is happening now.
§ 1510 ION: Fortune that hast in turn caused myriads of mortals ere this both to be unfortunate and to be prosperous again, to what a point in life's career have I arrived in so nearly having killed a mother, and in so nearly having suffered an undeserved death myself. Is it possible for the sun's bright course to witness all these freaks of thine day by day? Well then, I have discovered thee, my mother, a joyful discovery for me, and such an origin in my judgment, is not at all to be despised. But the rest I wish to say to thee alone. Come hither; for I would whisper my words into thine ear, and
§ 1520 cast the veil of secrecy over the facts. Be thou sure, my mother, that thou didst not first fall into the unfortunate error to which maidens are liable with regard to secret attachments, and then art laying the blame to the god, and art endeavouring to avoid the disgrace to me by saying that thou borest me to Phoebus, when thou borest me by no god at all.
CREUSA: By Athena the Victorious, who of old aided Zeus in battle against the giants with her car, 'tis none of mortals that is father to thee, my son, but the same king Loxias that reared thee up.
§ 1530 ION: How then was it that he gave his son to another father, and declares that I was born son of Xuthus?
CREUSA: That thou wast so born, he says not, but though begotten of him, to Xuthus he gives thee: for a friend may give a friend his own son to be master of his house.
ION: Whether the god is true, or divines falsely, is a question, my mother, which not without reason disturbs my mind,
CREUSA: Hear now therefore the thoughts which have occurred to me, my son. It is to benefit thee, that Loxias settles thee in a noble family: but, if thou hadst been called the god's, thou wouldst never
§ 1540 have had a home entitling thee to full rights of citizenship, nor the name of any father. For how couldst thou, when I myself wished to conceal my loves, and was for secretly killing thee? And it is to serve thee that he assigns thee to another father.
ION: I am following them up by no means inattentively: but I will go into the temple and enquire of Phoebus whether I am the son of a mortal sire or of Loxias. Ha! Who of the gods appears from the house fragrant with incense and shows a countenance bright with the rays of the sun? Let us fly,
§ 1550 my mother, lest we should look upon the gods, if it is not meet that we should look upon them at the present time.
ATHENA: Fly not: for I am not an enemy that ye should fly from me, but friendly to you both in Athens and here. For it is I, Pallas, that am come, the deity giving a name to thy land, having in haste sped hither from Apollo, who thought not fit to present himself to you, lest reproaches for the past should interrupt, but he sends me to speak to you the message that this lady bore thee by Apollo for thy father, and he gives thee to whom he gave thee, not as having begotten thee, but that he
§ 1560 (Xuthus) may take thee into a family of most noble birth. And when this purpose was disclosed and revealed to him (Xuthus), fearing that thou wouldst be slain by the plots of thy mother, and that she would be slain by thee, he rescued you both by plans which he devised. And king Apollo intended still to remain silent about these things and to make this lady known to thee as thy mother in Athens, and to her that thou wast born of her and Phoebus as thy sire. But, that I may complete the business for the god, and fully explain his divine will, for the sake of which I yoked my chariot, listen to me. Creusa, take
§ 1570 this youth and go to the Cecropian land, and seat him on the royal throne: for he, being born of the line of Erechtheus, has a right to rule my land. And he shall be famous throughout Hellas: for his sons, four born from one root, shall give their names to the land, and to the people of the country arranged by tribes who inhabit my rock. Teleon shall be the first: then next the Hopletes, and the Argades, and the Aegicores, named from my aegis, shall possess one
§ 1580 tribe each. And the sons born in turn to them in course of time decreed shall occupy the island towns of the Cyclades, and the continent along the coast, which will give strength to my country; and they shall inhabit the plains of two continents, the land of Asia and of Europe, on opposite sides of the strait: and named Ionians for the name's sake of this youth, they shall have renown. But to Xuthus and thee shall be born a common offspring, Dorus, from whom the Dorian state shall arise, and be celebrated in song; and the second, Achaeus, in the land of Pelops,
§ 1590 who shall be lord of the sea-coast near Rhium, and the people shall be distinguished by being called after his name. And well has Apollo brought all to pass. In the first place, he makes thy delivery free from sickness, so that thy friends knew it not: and when thou barest this thy son, and hadst exposed him in swaddling-clothes, he requests Hermes to snatch np the babe in his arms and convey him hither, and he reared him and suffered him not to die. Now therefore keep it secret that this youth is thy son, that
§ 1600 Xuthus may be pleased with the belief that he is his, and that thou, lady, on thy part mayst enjoy thy own blessings. And now fare ye well: for, after this rest from your troubles, I announce to you a happy destiny.
ION: Pallas daughter of Zeus supreme, I will accept thy words with no want of faith: for I believe that I am born of Loxias for my father and of this lady: and even before this was not incredible to me.
CREUSA: Hear me then. I praise Phoebus though I praised him not before, because he restores to me the son whom he once neglected. And of pleasant aspect to me are these gates and this oracle of the
§ 1610 god, though before they were hateful. And now I am pleased to linger with my hand upon the knocker and to seek admission at the gates.
ATHENA: I commend thee, because thou art changed and praisest the god: the aid of the gods was ever wont to be long in coming, 'tis true, but at last 'tis mighty.
CREUSA: My son, let us go home.
ATHENA: Go ye, and I will bring you on your way.
ION: A noble escort have we.
CREUSA: Yes, and one that loves the city.
ATHENA: And take thy place on the ancient throne.
ION: A noble possession is it for me.
CHORUS: Farewell, Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto. He whose house is vexed with calamities, must reverence the gods and be of good courage:
§ 1620 for at last the good obtain their due, but the wicked shall never prosper such as their nature is, such is their lot.