Andromeda, dishevelled, bare-armed and unsandalled, stripped of all but a single light robe, stands on a wide ,low ledge under a rock jutting out from the cliff with the sea washing below her feet. She is chained to a rock behind her by her wrists and ankles, her arms stretched at full length against its side.
Polydaon, Perissus, Damoetes and a number of Syrians stand near on the great rocky platform projecting from the cliff of which the ledge is the extremity.
There meditate affronts to dire Poseidon.
Rescue thyself, thou rescuer of victims!
I am sorry that thy marriage, sweet Andromeda,
So poorly is attended. I could have wished
To have all Syria gazing at thy nuptials
With thy rare Ocean bridegroom! Thy mother most
Should have been here to see lovely princess
So meetly robed for bridal, with these ornaments
Upon her pretty hands and feet. She has
Affairs to pressing. We do some surgery
Upon thy brother Iolaus’ heart
To draw the bad blood out and make it holy,
And she must watch the skilful operation.
Do not weep, fair one. Soon, be confident,
They’ll meet thee in that wide house where all are going
Think of these things until thy lover comes.
Art thou mad, priest Polydaon? How thou grinnest and drawest back thy black lips from thy white teeth in thy rapture! Hast thou gone clean mad, my skilful carver of hearts! Art thou beside thyself, my ancient schoolmate and crony?
To the temple! To the temple!
Let one remain above the cliff,
And watch the monster’s advent and his going.
Till I have news of dead Andromeda
The sacrifice cannot begin. Who stays?
Nor I! Nor I! Nor I!
As well stay here with the girl and be torn with her!
Do you quake, my brave shouters? Must you curl your tails in between your manly legs? I will stay, priest, who fear neither dog nor dragon. I am Perissus, I am the butcher.
I’ll not forget thy service, good Perissus.
Will you then make me butcher-in-chief to your viceroy in Damascus, and shall I cut my joints under the patronage of King Polydaon? To the temple. Syrian heroes! I will go and cross my legs on the cliff-top.
They go. Andromeda is left alone.