No. To keep death for them that linger late.
THANATOS (still mocking).
’Twould please thee, so?... I owe thee homage great.
Ah, then she may yet ... she may yet grow old?
THANATOS (with a laugh).
No!... I too have my rights, and them I hold.
’Tis but one life thou gainest either-wise.
When young souls die, the richer is my prize.
Old, with great riches they will bury her.
Fie on thee, fie! Thou rich-man’s lawgiver!
How? Is there wit in Death, who seemed so blind?
The rich would buy long life for all their kind.
Thou will not grant me, then, this boon? ’Tis so?
Thou knowest me, what I am: I tell thee, no!
I know gods sicken at thee and men pine.
Begone! Too many things not meant for thine
Thy greed hath conquered; but not all, not all!
I swear, for all thy bitter pride, a fall
Awaits thee. One even now comes conquering
Towards this house, sent by a southland king
To fetch him four wild coursers, of the race
Which rend men’s bodies in the winds of Thrace.
This house shall give him welcome good, and he
Shall wrest this woman from thy worms and thee.
So thou shalt give me all, and thereby win
But hatred, not the grace that might have been.
Talk on, talk on! Thy threats shall win no bride
From me.—This woman, whatsoe’er betide,
Shall lie in Hades’ house. Even at the word
I go to lay upon her hair my sword.
For all whose head this grey sword visiteth
To death are hallowed and the Lords of death.
[THANATOS goes into the house. Presently, as the day grows lighter, the CHORUS enters: it consists of Citizens of Pherae, who speak severally.]
Quiet, quiet, above, beneath!
The house of Admetus holds its breath.
And never a King’s friend near,
To tell us either of tears to shed
For Pelias’ daughter, crowned and dead;
Or joy, that her eyes are clear.
Bravest, truest of wives is she
That I have seen or the world shall see.
DIVERS CITIZENS, conversing.
(The dash — indicates a new speaker.)
—Hear ye no sob, or noise of hands
Beating the breast? No mourners’ cries
For one they cannot save?
—Nothing: and at the door there stands
No handmaid.—Help, O Paian; rise,
O star beyond the wave!
—Dead, and this quiet? No, it cannot
—Dead, dead!—Not gone to burial secretly!