Cydone, Iolaus, Perseus.
Perseus, you did not turn him into stone?
You cruelty! Must one go petrifying
One’s fellows through the world? ‘Twould not be decent.
He would have been so harmless as a statue!
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.
She bursts into tears.
Diomede, what calamity?
Flee, flee, from Syria, save thyself.
Am I alone in peril? Then I’ll sit
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.
My sword, my sword, Cydone!
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.
Had he been only stone!
Cydone gives him the sword.
Perseus goes out to the cottage.
What will you do alone against ten thousand?
To die is always easy. This canaille
I do not fear; it is a coward rabble.
But terror gives them fiercencess: they are dangerous.
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.
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.
What do you mean, Cydone?
Are you ready?
Let us be going.
Us, sweet lunatic?
Often you’ve said that you and I are only one,
I shall know now if you mean it.
You shall not give
To the rude mob’s ferocious violence
The beautiful body I have kissed so often.
You’ll not obey me?
Leave this you shall not.
I do not know how you will stop me.
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.
I’ll bring the tree and all and follow you.
Oh, will you, Hercules?
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.
Art thou indeed a god? What wilt thou do,
One against a whole people? What way hast thou?
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.
I had almost forgotten; the might thou hast shown
Is a sufficient warrant.
I shall come back,
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.
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.