Act IV, Scene II

 
     
Cydone’s garden.

Cydone, Iolaus, Perseus.

CYDONE
    Perseus, you did not turn him into stone?

IOLAUS
    You cruelty! Must one go petrifying
    One’s fellows through the world? ‘Twould not be decent.

CYDONE
    He would have been so harmless as a statue!

PERSEUS
    The morning has broken over Syria and the sun
    Mounts royally into his azure kingdom.
    I feel a stir within me as if great things
    Were now in motion and clear-eyed Athene
    Urging me on to high and helpful deeds.
    There is a grandiose tumult in the air,
    A voice of gods and Titans locked in Wrestle.

Diomede enters.

DIOMEDE
    Ah, prince!

She bursts into tears.

IOLAUS
    Diomede, what calamity?

DIOMEDE
    Flee, flee, from Syria, save thyself.

IOLAUS
    From Syria!
    Am I alone in peril? Then I’ll sit
    And wait.

DIOMEDE
    Poseidon’s monsters from the deep
    Arise to tear us for our sin. The people
    In fury, led by Polydaon, march
    Upon the palace, crying, ‘Slay the king.
    Butcher the Queen, and let Andromeda
    And Iolaus die,’ O my sweet playmate
    They swear they’ll bind her naked to the rocks
    Of the sea-beach for the grim monster’s jaws
    To tear and swallow.

IOLAUS
    My sword, my sword, Cydone!

DIOMEDE
    Oh, go not to the fierce and bloody people!
    Praxilla stole me out, hiding my face
    In her grey mantle: I have outrun the wind
    To warn you. Had the wild mob recognized me,
    They would have torn me into countless pieces,
    And will you venture near whose name they join
    With death and cursings? Polydaon leads them.

CYDONE
    Had he been only stone!

IOLAUS
    My sword!
    Cydone gives him the sword.

Perseus goes out to the cottage.

DIOMEDE
    You’ll go?
    What will you do alone against ten thousand?

IOLAUS
    To die is always easy. This canaille
    I do not fear; it is a coward rabble.

DIOMEDE
    But terror gives them fiercencess: they are dangerous.

IOLAUS
    Keep Diomede for your service, love,
    If I am killed; escape hence with your mother
    To Gaza; she has gold: you may begin
    A life as fair there. Sometimes remember me.

CYDONE
    Diomede, will you comfort my dear mother?
    Tell her I am quite safe and will be back
    By nightfall. Hush! This in your ear, diomede.
    Escape with her under the veil of night,
    For I shall not come back. Be you her daughter
    And comfort her sad lonely age, Diomede.

IOLAUS
    What do you mean, Cydone?

CYDONE
    Are you ready?
    Let us be going.

IOLAUS
    Us, sweet lunatic?

CYDONE
    Often you’ve said that you and I are only one,
    I shall know now if you mean it.

IOLAUS
    You shall not give
    To the rude mob’s ferocious violence
    The beautiful body I have kissed so often.
    You’ll not obey me?

CYDONE
    No.

IOLAUS
    Leave this you shall not.

CYDONE
    I do not know how you will stop me.

IOLAUS
    Shrew!
    You shall be stopped by bonds. Here you’ll remain
    Tied to a tree-trunk by your wilful wrists
    Till all is over.

Perseus returns, armed.

CYDONE
    I’ll bring the tree and all and follow you.

IOLAUS
    Oh, will you, Hercules?

PERSEUS
    Forbid her not,
    My Iolaus; no tress of her shall fall.
    I have arisen and all your turbulent Syria
    Shall know me for the son of Zeus.

IOLAUS
    Perseus,
    Art thou indeed a god? What wilt thou do,
    One against a whole people? What way hast thou?

PERSEUS
    This is no hour to speak or plan, but to act.
    A presence sits within my heart that sees
    Each moment’s need and finds the road to meet it.
    Dread nothing; I am here to help and save.

IOLAUS
    I had almost forgotten; the might thou hast shown
    Is a sufficient warrant.

CYDONE
    I shall come back,
    Diomede.

PERSEUS
    My grip is firm on Herpe,
    Athene’s aegis guards my wrist; herself
    The strong, omnipotent and tranquil goddess
    Governs my motions with her awful will.
    Have trust in me. Borne on my bright-winged sandals
    Invisibly I will attend your course
    On the light breezes.

He goes out followed by Iolaus and Cydone.

DIOMEDE
    I am too tired to follow,
    Too daunted with their mad-beast howls. Here let me hide
    Awaiting what event this war of gods
    May bring to me and my sweet-hearted lady.
    O my Andromeda! My little playmate!

She goes out towards the cottage weeping.