Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SUPLIANTS: IO. CHORUS, by AESCHYLUS



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THE SUPLIANTS: IO. CHORUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Our steps again are homed
Last Line: He speaks it, -- and the act is done.


OUR steps again are homed
Where once our Mother roamed
The guarded meadow of her flowery feeding;
Hence, from the soil we tread,
The sore-teased Io fled,
Through many a tribe of men so madly speeding;
Then to fulfil her destined fate,
Held for the far shore, sundering the opposed strait.

Through Asia then she flew,
The Phrygian pastures through,
By Teuthras' town among the Mysians lying,
O'er Lydian lowlands wide
And many a mountain-side
Alike Pamphylian and Cilician flying,
Perennial river, golden plain,
And corn-abounding region, Aphrodite's reign.

Still by the winged herd
With sharp goad's pricking spurred,
She won at last that fair divine green isle,
God's pasture fed with snows,
Where met the eternal foes,
Harsh Typho and the pure diseaseless Nile;
There, maddening with despiteful shame
And stings of Hera's malice, all distraught she came.

The folk then dwelling near
Paled with sickly fear,
Trembling amazed before the uncouth sight, --
A creature twinned, half-human,
Part heifer and part woman, --
Monstrous, a thing for marvelling and affright: --
Then who was he that gave her peace
And made the long-tormented Io's pain to cease?

Lord through all time's unending length,
O Zeus, the act was thine!
By force of thine unhurtful strength
And by thy breath divine
Her pain was healed, the spring unsealed
Of sorrowing tears and shameful ruth:
Zeus-laden then in very sooth,
A perfect Son she bare to thee.

A Son throughout all ages blest;
Whence every land doth cry:
'Here is the seed of Zeus confessed,
Life-giving Lord on high:
Those plagues that Hera's wrath designed
Whose power but His had strength to cure?
This was His doing; these, for sure,
The ancient race of Epaphus.'

Where have I cause in equal deed
To call on such another's name?
He with his hand hath sown our seed,
In wisdom hath designed our frame;
Lord Zeus, before whose favouring air
Move all things to an issue fair.

And is there none with prouder might
He waits on in the lower place?
None is there underneath whose right
He bows, abiding soveran grace:
Whate'er his counsel, it may run;
He speaks it, -- and the act is done.





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