See how thy mother kneels upon the ground
And, weeping, calls thee! O let not her prayers
Be all in vain! Absyrtus, come to me,
My little son! Come to thy mother!—What?
He tarries where he is! Thou, too? Thou, too?
Give me a dagger, quick, that I may slay
These whelps, and then myself!
[She springs up.]
[Illustration: MEDEA From the Grillparzer Monument at Vienna]
JASON. Nay, thou must thank thyself that
thy wild ways
Have startled them, estranged them, turned their hearts
Unto that mild and gentle maid they love.
They do but echo what the gods decree!—
Depart now; but the babes, they tarry here.
MEDEA. O children, hear me!
JASON. See, they hearken not!
MEDEA. O children, children!
KING (to CREUSA).
Lead them back again
Into the palace! ’Tis not meet they hate
The mother that did bear them.
[CREUSA moves away with the children.]
MEDEA. Woe is me!
They flee! My children flee before my face!
KING (to JASON).
Come we away! To
weep for what must be
MEDEA. O my babes, my little babes!
GORA enters quickly.
GORA. Come, calm thyself, nor grant to
these thy foes
The joy of seeing how they’ve conquered thee!
MEDEA (flinging herself upon the ground).
Conquered I am, at last,
made nothing worth,
Trampled beneath my foes’ triumphant feet!
They flee me, flee me! Mine own children flee me!
GORA (bending over her).
Thou must not die!
MEDEA. Nay, let me die! My babes,
My little babes!
The outer court of CREON’S palace, as in the preceding act. It is twilight. MEDEA lies prone upon the steps that lead to her apartments; GORA is standing before her._
GORA. Up, Medea, speak!
Why liest thou there so silent, staring
Blindly before thee? Rise, and speak!
O, help our sore distress!
MEDEA. My babes! My babes!
GORA. Forth must we flee ere night shall
And already the twilight draweth down.
Up! Rouse thee, and gird thee for flight!
Swiftly they come to slay!
MEDEA. Alas, my children!