The gods have not decreed it.
The elder of these men doth bear the guilt
Of kindred murder; on his steps attend
The dread Erinnys. In the inner fane
They seized upon their prey, polluting thus
The holy sanctuary. I hasten now,
Together with my virgin-train, to bathe
The goddess’ image in the sea, and there
With solemn rites its purity restore.
Let none presume our silent march to follow!
This hindrance to the monarch I’ll announce
Commence not thou the rite till he permit.
The priestess interferes alone in this.
An incident so strange the king should know.
Here, nor his counsel nor command avails.
Oft are the great consulted out of form.
Do not insist on what I must refuse.
A needful and a just demand refuse not.
I yield, if thou delay not.
I with speed
Will bear these tidings to the camp, and soon
Acquaint thee, priestess, with the king’s reply.
There is a message I would gladly bear him;
’Twould quickly banish all perplexity
Thou didst not heed thy faithful friend’s advice.
I willingly have done whate’er I could.
E’en now ’tis not too late to change thy purpose.
To do so is, alas, beyond our power.
What thou wouldst shun, thou deem’st impossible.
Thy wish doth make thee deem it possible.
Wilt thou so calmly venture everything?
My fate I have committed to the gods.
The gods are wont to save by human means.
By their appointment everything is done.