[ADMETUS looks and stands amazed.]
Go, and forget in bliss
O ye Gods! What meaneth this?
A marvel beyond dreams! The face ... ’tis she;
Mine, verily mine! Or doth God mock at me
And blast my vision with some mad surmise?
Not so. This is thy wife before thine eyes.
ADMETUS (who has recoiled in his amazement).
Beware! The dead have phantoms that they send...
Nay; no ghost-raiser hast thou made thy friend.
My wife ... she whom I buried?
Thee not; nor wonder thou canst scarce believe.
And dare I touch her, greet her, as mine own
Greet her. Thy desire is won.
ADMETUS (approaching with awe),
Beloved eyes; beloved form; O thou
Gone beyond hope, I have thee, I hold thee now?
Thou hast her: may no god begrudge your joy.
ADMETUS (turning to HERACLES).
O lordly conqueror, Child of Zeus on high,
Be blessed! And may He, thy sire above,
Save thee, as thou alone hast saved my love!
[He kneels to HERACLES, who raises him.]
But how ... how didst thou win her to the light?
I fought for life with Him I needs must fight.
With Death thou hast fought! But where?
Among his dead
I lay, and sprang and gripped him as he fled.
ADMETUS (in an awed whisper, looking towards
Why standeth she so still? No sound, no word!
She hath dwelt with Death. Her voice may not be heard
Ere to the Lords of Them Below she pay
Due cleansing, and awake on the third day.
(To the Attendants) So; guide her home.
[They lead ALCESTIS to the doorway.]
And thou, King, for
Of time, be true; be righteous to thy guest,
As he would have thee be. But now farewell!
My task yet lies before me, and the spell
That binds me to my master; forth I fare.
Stay with us this one day! Stay but to share
The feast upon our hearth!
The feasting day
Shall surely come; now I must needs away.
Farewell! All victory attend thy name
And safe home-coming!
Lo, I make proclaim
To the Four Nations and all Thessaly;
A wondrous happiness hath come to be:
Therefore pray, dance, give offerings and make full
Your altars with the life-blood of the Bull!
For me ... my heart is changed; my life shall mend
Henceforth. For surely Fortune is a friend.