Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FROGS: A 'EURIPIDEAN' CHORUS, by ARISTOPHANES



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THE FROGS: A 'EURIPIDEAN' CHORUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Gloom of the night, gloom of the night
Last Line: Show me glyke, hot from sin.
Subject(s): Aeschylus (525-456 B.c.); Euripides (484-406 B.c.)


(With tragical foreboding.)
GLOOM of the night, gloom of the night,
Light that is blackness, darkly bright,
What presage of ill, most horrible,
What Thing of the Mists beyond Surmise
On the windways of dream comes to mine eyes
Upward from gulfs of Hell?
A living Spirit that yet lives not;
A phantom on Night's dark womb begot;
A vision of terror and tremblement
Gowned in darkness of deadman's veils,
With eyes on murder, murder bent
And great big finger-nails!

(Brisker: a call to action.)
Handmaidens, a light! with your pitchers begone,
There's dewy-fresh water to draw from the stream;
I'll wash and be clean, when the kettle's put on,
And banish the taint of this god-driven dream.

(Frenzied.)
Ay me,
God of the Sea,
Truth is out, truth foretold!
Lodgers, wake! Come and behold
Things of wonder, past belief!
My rooster gone! Glyke's a thief!
A raid, a rape, a roost left bare . . .
And Glyke vanished -- into thin air!
O Nymphs in your cradle of hills, give aid!
I cry to the Nymphs . . . and the poultry-maid!
(Sadly, with 'droppings of warm tears'.)
I worked -- ah God! -- at a flaxen skein
Turning a loaded spindle,
A spindle-indle-indle;
On through the dusk, as the dawn-stars wane
I'd take the road, with my flaxen load,
To market on the morrow --
When airily, airily up he flew
And left to me sorrow, sorrow!
O heart of a bird in the wild far blue,
O wing-blades fleet and free . . .
Nothing is here
But tear upon tear,
Drip-drop,
O misery me!

(In the manner of a tragical invocation.)
Sons of Crete, on Ida bred,
Bows in hand your comfort bring;
Lithe and lofty be your tread,
Close the household in a ring.

Artemis, Fair Maiden, come!
Cast, O Huntress, to and fro;
About the house from room to room
Bid your pets, the bitch-pack, go.

Come, O Hekate, I pray,
Child of Zeus, and light me in;
With twin-torch of keenest ray
Show me Glyke, hot from Sin.





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