Oh, if I had a dagger, I would smite
Thee, and thy father, that so righteous king!
For this, then, hast thou sung those winsome songs,
Taught me to play the lyre, and tricked me out
In these rich garments?
[She suddenly rends her mantle in twain.]
Off with you! Away
With the vile gifts of that accursed jade!
[She turns to JASON.]
See! As I tear this mantle here in twain,
Pressing one part upon my throbbing breast,
And cast the other from me at thy feet,
So do I rend my love, the common tie
That bound us each to each. What follows now
I cast on thee, thou miscreant, who hast spurned
The holy claims of an unhappy wife!—
Give me my children now, and let me go!
KING. The children stay with us.
MEDEA. They may not go
With their own mother?
KING. With a wanton, no!
MEDEA (to JASON).
Is it thy will, too?
MEDEA (hastening to the door).
Come forth, my babes!
Your mother calls you!
MEDEA. ’Tis, then, thy will
That I go forth alone?—’Tis well, so be it!
I say but this, O king: Before the gray
Of evening darken, give me back my babes!
Enough for now!
(Turning to CREUSA.)
But thou, who standest there
In glistering raiment, cloaking thy delight,
In thy false purity disdaining me,
I tell thee, thou wilt wring those soft, white hands
In agony, and envy me my lot,
Hard though it seemeth now!
JASON. How dar’st thou?
MEDEA. I go, but I will come again, to
What is mine own, and bring what ye deserve.
KING. Ha! Wouldst thou threaten us
before our face?
If words will not suffice—
(To his attendants.)
Then teach ye her
How she should bear herself before a king!
MEDEA. Stand back! Who dares to block
Mark well, O king, this hour when I depart.
Trust me, thou never saw’st a blacker one!
Make way! I go,—and take with me revenge!
[She goes out.]
KING. Our punishment, at least, will follow thee!
Nay, tremble not. We’ll keep thee safe from her!
CREUSA. I wonder only, whether what we do
Be right? If so, no power can work us harm!
(The curtain falls.)