Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, Medea (1868)

“Audi, cara soror, patiens me nostra loquentem
arcana et miserae potius succurre sorori!
excrucior, nostris et se novus ossibus ardor
implicat; ardentes carpit mihi flamma medullas,
nec soleo tales poenas talesve calores
ferre. quis hic nostram tantum premit advena mentem!
qua forma, qua virtute est, quo praeditus ille
eloquio! quibus ortis avis! quis splendor ab eius
ore fluit! non divinus decor ille videtur?
non facies digna illa deo, non coniuge dignus
regina Iunone? Iovine simillimus ille?
at certe ille mihi miros incussit amores,
et volui, fateor namque, his obsistere; sed me
concitat ardentem vis maior et undique cogit.
iam mihi dulce nihil possim sperare sine illo,
non requiem, non ullam ausim sperare salutem!
decrevi – et mentem ne quaere refellere nostram –
actutum, soror, Haemonio succurrere regi.
illum ego monstra – bonus quid enim peccavit Iaso? –
artibus infabricata meis superare docebo.
non adeo crudele mihi ingeniumve protervum est,
ut per me Aesonides viridi exstinguatur in aevo!
ille, ubi me certo sociam stabilique ligarit
conubio, patrias secum traducet in oras.
ipsa equidem durum –  sic stat sententia – patrem,
has etiam sedes et regna paterna relinquam;
sed te, oro, huic accinge, soror dilecta, labori:
vade virumque ad me interea, dum nigra silet nox,
duc tempusque aptum furare: ego foedera secum
percutiam firmaque sibi me lege dicabo.”
(Maffeo Vegio, Vellus Aureum 3.126-155)

“Give ear, devoted sister, and allow me to voice my secret. Lend help, I beg you, to your lovesick sister! I am tortured, and a new flame entwines itself amid my bones. The fire grasps at my burning marrow. I am not accustomed to endure such suffering, such hell-fire. Who is this outsider who has so enslaved my mind! With what presence, what nobility, what eloquence is he endowed! From what ancestry he is sprung! What brilliance pours from his features! Does not his grace appear god-like? Are not his features worthy of a god, is het not worthy of queen Juno as wife? Is het not most like Jupiter? He has inspired in me for sure a love to marvel at, and – I admit it to you – it was my desire to stand firm against it. But a mightier force stirs me afire, and drives me this way and that. Already I am incapable of expecting anything sweet without him nor would I dare to hope for any peace of mind, any salvation. I have made my decision – don’t attempt to reverse my thinking – forthwith, sister mine, to lend help to the Haemonian king. I myself will be his teacher – for of what malfeasance is good Jason guilty? – to overcome the monsters wrought by my arts. My nature is neither so cruel nor so fierce as to be the means of annihilating Jason in the prime of youth! When he has bound me as his partner in the sure, enduring alliance of matrimony, he will carry me with him to his paternal shores. I myself – and my decision remains unshaken – will leave behind our hard-hearted father, along with this dwelling and the kingdom of our forefathers. But, I pray you, beloved sister, gird yourself for this effort. Go now and, in night’s dark silence, grasping in stealth the appropriate moment, lead the man to me. I will enter into compact with him and proclaim myself his in the firmness of law.” (tr. Michael C.J. Putnam)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: