Believe me, all doth now depend on thee.
The irritated temper of the king
Alone condemns these men to bitter death.
The soldiers from the cruel sacrifice
And bloody service long have been disused;
Nay, many, whom their adverse fortunes cast
In foreign regions, there themselves have felt
How godlike to the exil’d wanderer
The friendly countenance of man appears.
Do not deprive us of thy gentle aid!
With ease thou canst thy sacred task fulfil;
For nowhere doth benignity, which comes
In human form from heaven, so quickly gain
An empire o’er the heart, as where a race,
Gloomy and savage, full of life and power,
Without external guidance, and oppress’d
With vague forebodings, bear life’s heavy load.
Shake not my spirit, which thou canst not bend
According to thy will.
While there is time
Nor labor nor persuasion shall be spar’d.
Thy labor but occasions pain to me;
Both are in vain; therefore, I pray, depart.
I summon pain to aid me, ’tis a friend
Who counsels wisely.
Though it shakes my soul,
It doth not banish thence my strong repugnance.
Can then a gentle soul repugnance feel
For benefits bestow’d by one so noble?
[Illustration: IPHIGENIA From the Painting by Max Nonnenbruch]
Yes, when the donor, for those benefits,
Instead of gratitude, demands myself.
Who no affection feels doth never want
Excuses. To the king I will relate
What hath befallen. O that in thy soul
Thou wouldst revolve his noble conduct to thee
Since thy arrival to the present day!
These words at an unseasonable hour
Produce a strong revulsion in my breast;
I am alarm’d!—For as the rushing tide
In rapid currents eddies o’er the rocks
Which lie among the sand upon the shore;
E’en so a stream of joy o’erwhelm’d my soul.
I grasp’d what had appear’d impossible.
It was as though another gentle cloud
Around me lay, to raise me from the earth,
And rock my spirit in the same sweet sleep
Which the kind goddess shed around my brow,
What time her circling arm from danger snatched me.
My brother forcibly engross’d my heart;
I listen’d only to his friend’s advice;
My soul rush’d eagerly to rescue them,
And as the mariner with joy surveys