From thy ancestral tree springs many a monster forth.
To Orcus hence, away! Seek thou thy kindred there!
Who yonder dwell, in sooth, for thee are far too young.
Tiresias, the hoary, go, make love to him!
Orion’s nurse of old, was thy great-grand-daughter.
Harpies, so I suspect, did rear thee up in filth.
Thy cherished meagreness, whereon dost nourish that?
’Tis not with blood, for which so keenly thou dost thirst.
For corpses dost thou hunger, loathsome corpse thyself!
Within thy shameless jaw the teeth of vampires gleam.
Thine I should stop were I to tell thee who thou art.
First do thou name thyself; the riddle then is solved.
Not wrathful, but in grief, step I between you now,
Forbidding such alternate quarrel’s angry noise;
For to the ruler naught more hurtful can befall,
Than, ’mong his trusty servants, sworn and secret strife;
The echo of his mandate then to him no more
In swift accomplished deed responsively returns;
No, stormful and self-will’d, it rages him around,
The self-bewilder’d one, and chiding still in vain.
Nor this alone; ye have in rude unmanner’d wrath
Unblessed images of dreadful shapes evoked,
Which so encompass me, that whirl’d I feel myself
To Orcus down, despite these my ancestral fields.
Is it remembrance? Was it frenzy seized on me?
Was I all that? and am I? shall I henceforth be
The dread and phantom-shape of those town-wasting ones?
The maidens quail: but thou, the eldest, thou dost stand,
Calm and unmoved; speak, then, to me some word of sense!
Who of long years recalls the fortune manifold,
To him heaven’s highest favor seems at last a dream.
But thou, so highly favored, past all bound or goal,
Saw’st, in thy life-course, none but love-inflamed men,
Kindled by impulse rash to boldest enterprise.
Theseus by passion stirred full early seized on thee,
A man of glorious form, and strong as Heracles.