GORA. Alas that I, so old and gray, should
Unknowing, such dark deeds! I counseled her
To take revenge: but such revenge—oh, gods!
Where are the babes? ’Twas here I left them late.
Where art thou, O Medea? And thy babes—
Ah, where are they?
[She, too, disappears down the colonnade. Through the windows of the palace in the background the rapidly mounting flames now burst forth.]
Creusa! O Creusa!
KING’S VOICE (from within).
O my daughter!
[GORA bursts out of the palace and falls upon her knees in the middle of the stage, covering her face with her hands.]
GORA. What have I seen?—Oh, horror!
[MEDEA appears at the entrance to the colonnade; in her left hand she brandishes a dagger; she raises her right hand to command silence.]
[The curtain falls.]
The outer court of CREON’S palace, as in the preceding act; the royal apartments in the background lie in blackened ruins whence smoke is still curling up; the court-yard is filled with various palace attendants busied in various ways. The dawn is just breaking.
The_ KING appears, dragging GORA out of the palace; a train of CREUSA’S slave-women follows him.
KING. Away with thee! It was thy
That to my daughter brought those bloody gifts
Which were her doom! My daughter! Oh, Creusa!
My child, my child!
[He turns to the slave-women.]
GORA. Yea, it was I!
I knew not that my hands bore doom of death
Within thy dwelling.
KING. Knew’st not. Never think
To ’scape my wrath on this wise!
GORA. Dost thou think
I shudder at thy wrath? Mine eyes have seen—
Woe’s me!—the children weltering in their blood,
Slain by the hand of her that bore them, ay,
Medea’s very hand! And after that,
All other horrors are to me but jest!
KING. Creusa! Oh, my child, my pure,
Say, did thy hand not shake, thou grisly dame,
When to her side thou broughtest death?
GORA. I shed no tears for her! She
had her due!
Why would she seek to snatch away the last
Possession of my most unhappy mistress?
I weep for these my babes, whom I did love
So tenderly, and whom I saw but now
Butchered—and by their mother! Ah, I would
Ye all were in your graves, and by your side