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Euripides - Ion

Bron: The Perseus Catalog

Vertaald door Robert Potter, 1938

Betoog

De oeroude Atheense (half)god Erichthonius was een zoon van de vuurgod Hephaistus en Moeder Aarde of de stervelinge Atthis. Als baby werd hij door de godin Athena met twee slangen die hem moesten beschermen in een korf gelegd, die zij overhandigde aan de dochters van een andere mythische stamvader van de Atheners, Cecrops. Toen die, in strijd met het verbod van Athena, de korf openmaakten, werden zij bij de aanblik van de slangen krankzinnig en stortten zich van de Acropolis, de Atheense citadel.

Erichthonius’ zoon of kleinzoon Erechtheus voerde later, als koning van de stad, de eredienst voor de godin Athena in. Om Athene’s buurstaat Eleusis in de oorlog te kunnen overwinnen offerde hij zijn eigen dochters, behalve de jonge Creüsa. Hij werd door Poseidon gedood toen hij een van diens zonen had omgebracht, en na zijn dood samen met de godin Athena en Poseidon in het Erechtheon op de Acropolis vereerd. Als stamvader van de Atheners werd Erichthonius beschouwd als autochtoon: op of uit de eigen grond geboren. Hij werd, evenals Cecrops, vaak afgebeeld als een mengwezen, half mens en half slang, waarbij de slang het symbool was van de autochtonie.

Erechtheus had geen zonen. Hij werd opgevolgd door de Achaïsche legerleider Xuthus, aan wie Erechtheus’ dochter Creüsa werd uitgehuwelijkt, toen hij met zijn hulptroepen de stad in een oorlog met het eiland Euboea had gered. Xuthus en Creüsa kregen een zoon, Ion. In Athene werd het verhaal verteld dat Ion door een god bij Creüsa was verwekt. Zo werden de Atheners, en de van hen afstammende naar Ion, Ioniërs genoemd

Personages

Hermes, boodschappergod van de goden
Ion, zoon van Creüsa en Apollo
Koor, van Creusa’s bedienden
Creusa, koningin van Athene
Xuthus, koning van Athene
Admetus, de koning van Pherae
Oude man
Bediende van Creusa
Profetes van Apollo
Athena, de godin

Scene

Voor de tempel van Apollo in Delphi. De zon komt bijna op terwijl Hermes op het toneel verschijnt.

01. Proloog; regel 1;1-81

Hermes
Atlas, who wears away heaven, the ancient home of the gods, on his bronze shoulders, was the father of Maia by a goddess; she bore me, Hermes, to great Zeus; and I am the gods' servant. I have come to Delphi, this land where Phoebus from his central throne chants to mortals, always declaring the present and the future. For Hellas has a famous city, which received its name from Pallas of the golden lance; here Apollo forced a union on Creusa, the child of Erechtheus, where the rocks, turned to the north beneath the hill of Pallas' Athenian land, are called Macrai by the lords of Attica. Unknown to her father —such was the pleasure of the god— she bore the weight in her womb. When the time came, Creusa gave birth in the house to a child, and brought the infant to the same cave where the god had bedded her, and there exposed him to die in the round circle of a hollow cradle, observant of the customs of her ancestors, and of Erichthonius, the earth-born. For the daughter of Zeus set beside him two serpents to guard his body, and gave him in charge to the daughters of Aglauros; from which the Erechthidae have a custom to rear their children in gold serpents. Ornaments which the girl had she hung around her son, and left him to die. And Phoebus, as my brother, asked me this: “O brother, go to the native-born people of glorious Athens, for you know the city of the goddess; take the new-born baby from the hollow rock, with his cradle and baby-clothes; bring him to my shrine at Delphi, and place him at the very entrance of my temple; The rest—know that the child is mine—will be my care.” To gratify my brother Apollo I took up the woven basket and brought it here, and placed the boy at the base of this temple, opening up the wreathed cradle, so that the infant might be seen. It happened that, as the sun rose, the priestess entered the god's prophetic shrine; she saw the baby and marvelled that some girl of Delphi had dared to cast her secret child into the house of the god; she was eager to take it away from the shrine; but she let the harsh intent gave way to pity—and the god worked with her, so the child might not be hurled out of his house—she took up the child and raised it. She did not know that Phoebus was the father, nor who the mother was, nor did the child know about his parents. When young he played round the shrine, and was nourished there; but when he grew to manhood, the Delphians made him guardian of the god's treasures, a trusted steward of all; and here in the temple of the god he has lived a holy life. But Creusa, the mother of the child, married Xuthus in these circumstances: a wave of war came over Athens and the Chalcidians, who hold the land of Euboea; he joined their efforts, and with them drove out the enemy by his spear; for this he received the honor of marriage with Creusa; he was no native, but born an Achaean from Aeolus, the son of Zeus. Though married a long time they are childless; so they have come to this oracular shrine of Phoebus, in longing for a child. Apollo is driving fortune on to this point, nor is he forgetful, as he seems. For he will give his child to Xuthus on entering this shrine, and he will say the boy was born from Xuthus, so that Creusa may recognize the child when he comes to her house, and Phoebus' union with her may be kept secret, and the boy have his due. He will cause him, founder of the land of Asia, to be called by the name of Ion throughout Greece. But I will go to this cave of laurels, so that I may learn what is fated for the child; I see this son of Apollo coming out to adorn the gates before the shrine with laurel boughs. I am the first of the gods to give him that name, Ion, which he is about to have.

Hermes verdwijnt. Ion komt op met tempelwachters.

02. Eerste Koorlied; regel 2;82-236

Ion - recitatief
Already this radiant four-horse chariot, the sun, flames over the earth, and at this fire of heaven the stars flee into the sacred night; the untrod Parnassian cliffs, shining, receive the wheel of day for mortals. The smoke of dry myrtle flies to Phoebus' roof. The woman of Delphi sits on the sacred tripod, and sings out to the Hellenes whatever Apollo cries to her. But you Delphian servants of Phoebus, go to the silver whirlpools of Castalia; come to the temple when you have bathed in its pure waters; it is good to keep your mouth holy in speech and give good words from your lips to those who wish to consult the oracle. But I will labor at the task that has been mine from childhood, with laurel boughs and sacred wreaths making pure the entrance to Phoebus' temple, and the ground moist with drops of water; and with my bow I will chase the crowds of birds that harm the holy offerings. For as I was born without a mother and a father, I serve the temple of Phoebus that nurtured me.

De tempelwachters gaan weg. Ion houdt zich bezig voor de tempel terwijl hij doorgaat met zingen.

Ion - zang strofe
Come, new-grown, ministering bough, of loveliest laurel, you who sweep the altar under the temple of Apollo; you are from the immortal gardens, where the secred drops water the holy foliage of myrtle, sending forth an ever-flowing stream. With this laurel I sweep the pavement of the god all day, along with the sun's swift wing, my daily service. O Paean, O Paean, may you be fortunate, child of Leto!

antistrofe
Lovely is the labor, o Phoebus, I carry out for you before your house, honoring your prophetic shrine; glorious my labor, to be a slave for gods, not mortal but immortal; I do not tire of laboring over my auspicious work. Phoebus is a father to me; I praise the one who feeds me; the name of father, beneficial to me, I give to Phoebus who rules this temple. O Paean, O Paean, may you be fortunate, child of Leto!

recitatief
But I will cease from labor with the laurel branch and I wil hurl from golden vases Gaia's fountain, which Castalia's eddies pour out, casting out the moist drops, since I am chaste. May I never cease to serve Phoebus in this manner; or, if I do, may it be with good fortune. Ah, ah! Already the birds of Parnassus have left their nests, and come here. I forbid you to approach the walls and the golden house. I will reach you with my bow, herald of Zeus, though you conquer with your beak the strength of all other birds. Here comes another, a swan, to the rim of the temple. Move your crimson foot elsewhere! Phoebus' lyre, that sings with you, would not protect you from my bow. Alter your wings' course; go to the Delian lake; if you do not obey, you will steep your lovely melody in blood. Ah, ah! what is this new bird that approaches; you will not place under the cornice a straw-built nest for your children, will you? My singing bow will keep you off. Will you not obey? Go away and bring up your offspring by the eddies of Alpheus, or go to the Isthmian grove, so that the offerings, and the temple of Phoebus, are not harmed. . . . and yet I am ashamed to kill you, for to mortals you bear the messages of the gods; but I will be subject to Phoebus in my appointed tasks, and I will never cease my service to those who nourish me.

Het koor van Creusa's bedienden komt op

Koor - zang
Not only in our holy Athens are there halls of the gods with beautiful columns, and worship of Apollo who guards the streets; but also in the house of Apollo, Leto's son, there is a light of two countenances, with lovely eyes. Look! come see, the son of Zeus is killing the Lernean Hydra with a golden sickle; my dear, look at it!

antistrofe
I see it. And another near him, who is raising a fiery torch— is he the one whose story is told when I am at my loom, the warrior Iolaus, who joins with the son of Zeus in bearing his labors? And look at this one sitting on a winged horse; he is killing the mighty fire-breathing creature that has three bodies.

strofe
I am glancing around everywhere. See the battle of the giants, on the stone walls. I am looking at it, my friends. Do you see the one brandishing her gorgon shield against Enceladus? I see Pallas, my own goddess. Now what? the mighty thunderbolt, blazing at both ends, in the far-shooting hands of Zeus? I see it; he is burning the furious Mimas to ashes in the fire. And Bacchus, the roarer, is killing another of the sons of Earth with his ivy staff, unfit for war.

recitatief
You there, I mean the one by the temple; is it lawful to walk into the sanctuary?

Ion
Strangers, it is not lawful.

Koor
May we ask you something?

Ion
What do you want to know?

Koor
Does the temple of Phoebus really hold the center of the earth?

Ion
Yes, adorned with garlands, and gorgons all around.

Koor
So fame reports.

Ion
If you offer the honey cake before the temple, and you wish to ask something of Phoebus, advance to the altar; before the sheep have been sacrificed, do not approach the recesses of the temple.

Koor
I understand; I do not wish to transgress the god's law; what is outside delights my eyes.

Ion
Take a full view of everything that is allowed.

Koor
My masters allowed me to to look at this sanctuary.

Ion
You are the slaves of what house?

Koor
My masters allowed me to to look at it. The temple of Pallas is the house that reared my sovereigns; but the one you ask about is here.

03. Eerste akte; regel 3;237-451

Creusa en haar dienaressen komen op

Ion
There is nobility in you, and you have an appearance that is a witness to your character, lady, whoever you are. For most men at least, you would know from their appearance if they are well-born. Ah! You amaze me, that you closed your eyes and watered your noble cheeks with tears, when you saw the holy oracle of Apollo. Why are you sorrowful, lady? Does that which pleases all others who see the sanctuary of the god bring tears to your eyes here?

Creusa
O stranger, it is not foolish of you to wonder at my tears. When I saw Apollo's halls, I recalled an ancient memory. I suppose that my mind was at home, though I am present here. O unhappy women! O gods, what deeds are yours! What then? To what may we ascribe justice, if we are destroyed by the injustice of those in power?

Ion
What inexplicable thing grieves you, lady?

Creusa
Nothing; I have shot my arrow; now I am silent, do not concern yourself further.

Ion
Who are you? From what land have you come? What country is your fatherland? By what name should we call you?

Creusa
Creusa is my name, Erechtheus my father, the city of Athens my fatherland.

Ion
O you that dwell in a famous city and were brought up by noble parents, how I marvel at you, lady.

Creusa
I am fortunate so far, stranger, and no further.

Ion
By the gods, truly, as the tale goes among mortals—

Creusa
What are you asking about, stranger, that you want to know?

Ion
Your father's ancestor grew from the earth?

Creusa
Yes, Erichthonius; but my family is no benefit to me.

Ion
And did Athena take him up from the earth?

Creusa
Into her virgin hands; she was not his mother.

Ion
And gave him, as paintings usually show—

Creusa
To the daughters of Kekrops to keep, unseen.

Ion
I have heard that the maidens opened the vessel of the goddess.

Creusa
And so they died, making the promontory of the rock bloody.

Ion
I see. Well, what about this? Is it true, or a vain rumor—

Creusa
What are you asking? For I am at leisure.

Ion
Did your father Erechtheus sacrifice your sisters?

Creusa
He dared to kill the maidens, as a sacrifice for their country.

Ion
And you were the only one of your sisters saved?

Creusa
I was a new-born infant in my mother's arms.

Ion
Did a hollow of the earth truly hide your father?

Creusa
The blows of the sea-god's trident destroyed him.

Ion
There is a place there called Makrai?

Creusa
Why do you ask this? How you have reminded me of something!

Ion
Phoebus and the Pythian lightning honor it.

Creusa
. . . Would that I had never seen it!

Ion
Why do you hate the place very dear to the god?

Creusa
No reason; I know of a shameful deed in a cave.

Ion
But what Athenian married you, lady?

Creusa
No citizen, but a foreigner from another land.

Ion
Who? He must be someone of noble birth.

Creusa
Xuthus, born from Aeolus and Zeus.

Ion
And how as a stranger did he have you, a citizen?

Creusa
There is a city, Euboea, which is a neighbor to Athens—

Ion
Divided by a watery boundary, they say.

Creusa
He destroyed it, in common battle with the Athenians.

Ion
He came as an ally? And then he married you?

Creusa
Taking me as the dowry of war and the prize of his spear.

Ion
Have you come to the oracle with your husband, or alone?

Creusa
With him; he turned aside to the shrine of Trophonius.

Ion
To view it, or for the sake of prophecy?

Creusa
He wishes to learn one word from that shrine and from Phoebus'.

Ion
Have you come for the sake of harvests, or for children?

Creusa
We are without children, though married a long time

Ion
You have never borne a child, but you are childless?

Creusa
Phoebus knows about my lack of children.

Ion
Unhappy one, that you are fortunate in all else, but not in this!

Creusa
But who are you? How I call your mother happy!

Ion
I am called the slave of the god, lady.

Creusa
A city's offering, or sold by someone?

Ion
I only know this; I am called Apollo'.

Creusa
Then in turn, stranger, I pity you.

Ion
Because I do not know my mother, or my ancestors.

Creusa
Do you live in this temple, or in a house?

Ion
The whole home of the god is mine, wherever I may sleep.

Creusa
Were you a child when you came to the shrine, or a youth?

Ion
Those who seem to know say that I was an infant.

Creusa
And which Delphian woman nourished you with milk?

Ion
I never knew the breast. The one who brought me up—

Creusa
Who, sorrowful one? I have found an ailment like my own.

Ion
The priestess of Apollo, I consider her my mother.

Creusa
With whose support have you have come to manhood?

Ion
The altars have fed me, and any strangers that come here.

Creusa
Your mother is unhappy; who was she, then?

Ion
Perhaps my birth is some woman's wrong.

Creusa
But you have a livelihood; for you are well dressed.

Ion
I am adorned with these by the god whom I serve.

Creusa
You have not been eager to search for your family?

Ion
I have no token of proof, lady.

Creusa
Alas! Another woman has suffered as your mother did.

Ion
Who? If she could assist my troubles, I would be delighted.

Creusa
One for whose sake I have come here before my husband.

Ion
What do you want? So that I may help you, lady.

Creusa
I want to learn a secret oracle from Pheobus.

Ion
Tell me; I shall be your sponsor for the rest.

Creusa
Then hear the story.—but Shame prevents me.

Ion
Then you will accomplish nothing; that goddess is an idle one.

Creusa
One of my friends says that she had intercourse with Apollo.

Ion
A woman with Apollo? Do not say that, stranger!

Creusa
And she bore a child to the god, without her father's knowledge.

Ion
It is not so; she is ashamed of a man's wrong.

Creusa
She says not; and the wretched woman has suffered.

Ion
What did she do to suffer, if she was coupled with the god?

Creusa
She exposed out of doors the child that she bore.

Ion
Where is the exposed child? Is it alive?

Creusa
No one knows.This is what I am asking the oracle.

Ion
If it is no longer alive, how was it destroyed?

Creusa
She expects that wild animals killed the unfortunate one.

Ion
By what sign did she know this?

Creusa
When she came to the place where she had exposed him, she could no longer find him.

Ion
Was there a drop of blood in the path?

Creusa
She says not. Although she went back and forth over much ground.

Ion
How much time has passed since the child was killed?

Creusa
If he were indeed alive, he would be your age.

Ion
The god has wronged him; the mother is unhappy.

Creusa
She did not bear any other child afterwards.

Ion
What if Phoebus took him and brought him up in secret?

Creusa
He does wrong to enjoy a common pleasure alone.

Ion
Alas! This misfortune is in accord with my sorrow.

Creusa
Stranger, I think an unhappy mother longs for you also.

Ion
Do not draw me to griefs that I have forgotten!

Creusa
I am silent; can you fulfil what I am asking you about?

Ion
Do you know what part of your enquiry is especially ailing?

Creusa
What is not diseased for that wretched woman?

Ion
How shall the god prophesy what he wants to hide?

Creusa
He will, if he is indeed seated on the public tripod of Hellas.

Ion
He is ashamed of the deed; do not convict him.

Creusa
But the one who suffered this misfortune is in pain.

Ion
There is no one who will be your interpreter. If Phoebus appeared evil in his own home, he would rightly do some harm to the one who gave you the oracle. Cease this, lady. There must be no consultation contrary to the god. For we would come to such folly as that, if we shall work on the gods to say what they are not willing to say, either by sacrifice of sheep at the altar or through the flight of birds. For what we violently strive after, when the gods are unwilling, we possess as unwilling goods, lady; whatever they give willingly is a benefit to us.

Koorleidster
There are many misfortunes for many mortals, and their shapes are various. One could scarcely ever find one piece of good fortune in man's life.

Creusa
O Phoebus, you are not just to her either there or here; though she is absent, her words are present.You did not save your child, whom you ought to have saved; nor, though a prophet, will you speak to the mother who is asking you, so that, if he is no more, he may be honored by a tomb, but, if he lives . . . But I must let this go, if I am prevented by the god from learning what I wish. But, stranger, since I see my noble husband Xuthus has left the cave of Trophonius and is near, be silent before him about our conversation, so that I may not be disgraced by my secret ministry and the talk may not go where I have not unfolded it to him. For women have difficulties with their husbands, and we are hated, the good women being mingled with the bad; so unfortunate were we born.

Xuthus en zijn gevolg komen op

Xuthus
First may the god rejoice when he has the first-fruits of my addresses, and then you, lady. You weren't afraid at my long absence, were you?

Creusa
No; you have come upon my anxiety. But tell me, what oracle do you bring from Trophonius about the begetting of children?

Xuthus
He did not think it right to anticipate the answer of the god; but he said one thing, that neither you nor I would go home from the oracle childless.

Creusa
O revered lady, mother of Phoebus, may we have come here auspiciously, and may our former engagements with your son fall out better!

Xuthus
It shall be so. But who is the interpreter of the god?

Ion
I am, outside; within, it belongs to others seated near the tripod, stranger, the best men of Delphi, chosen by lot.

Xuthus
Good; I have everything I need. I will go inside; for, as I hear, the victim has been sacrificed for foreigners in common before the shrine; I want, on this day—for it is propitious—to receive the answer of the god. But you, lady, take these laurel twigs around the altars and pray to the gods for me to bring from Apollo's temple oracles that give hope of children.

Nadat Xuthus de lauriertak aan Creusa heeft gegeven gaat hij de tempel in.

Creusa
It shall be so, it shall. If Phoebus is even now willing to redress his earlier wrong, he would not be wholly dear to me, yet I will accept what he foretells for us, as he is a god.

Creusa vertrekt naar de heiligdommen in het buitengebied van de tempel.

Ion
Why is the stranger always making abusive riddles, in obscure words, against the god? Is it because she loves the one for whom she is consulting the oracle, or is she being silent about something that she must conceal? But what is the daughter of Erechtheus to me? It is not my concern. I will go and pour water from golden pitchers into the sacred vessels. But I must give Apollo some advice; what is he about? Does he betray virgins by forced rape? Does he secretly breed children and leave them to die? Do not do so; but, since you have power, seek after virtue. For if any mortal is bad, the gods punish him. How then is it just for you to write laws for mortals, and yourselves incur a charge of lawlessness? If—for it is not so, but I will handle the subject— you pay the penalty to mortals for rape, you and Poseidon, and Zeus, who rules heaven, you will empty your temples paying for your crimes. For you do wrong to go eagerly after your pleasures without thinking. No longer is it right to speak badly of men, if we imitate what the gods think good, but rather of the ones who taught us these things.

Ion vertrekt

04. Tweede koorlied; regel 4;452-509

Koor strofe
You who were born without the pains of childbirth, my Athena, I beseech you, brought to birth by the Titan Prometheus from the crown of Zeus's head, o blessed Victory, come to the Pythian home, from the golden chambers of Olympus flying to the ways where Phoebus' hearth, in the middle of the earth, fulfils oracles at the tripod celebrated with dances; you and the daughter of Leto, two goddesses, two virgins, the holy sisters of Apollo. Maidens, beseech that the ancient race of Erechtheus may find clear oracles of long-delayed birth of children.

antistrofe
For it is an immoveable security of overpowering happiness for mortals, when the youthful strength of children, who will bear fruit in their turn, shines in the father's halls, and they will have inherited wealth from their fathers in the form of other children. For it brings a cure in ills, pleasure in good fortune, a saving defense with the spear for one's native land. For me the careful nurture of dear children would be beyond wealth and a king's palace. I hate the childless life, and I blame the one to whom it seems good; may I have a life blessed with children and moderate wealth.

nazang
O seats of Pan and rocks that lie near the hollows of Makrai, where the three daughters of Aglauros dance over the green courses before the temples of Pallas, to the quavering wail of pipes, of songs, when you play the pipes in your sunless caves, O Pan, where an unhappy maiden bore a child to Phoebus and exposed it as a feast for birds and a bloody banquet for wild beasts, the outrage of the bitter rape; neither at the loom nor in speeches have I heard that the children born to mortals from gods claim a report of good fortune.

05. Tweede akte; regel 5;510-675

Ion komt weer op

Ion - recitatief
Servant women, that keep your station around this incense-breathing temple's base, and watch for your mistress, has Xuthus already left the sacred tripod and oracle, or is he remaining in the shrine, to ask about his childlessness?

Koorleidster
He is in the temple, stranger; he has not yet left this house. But he is in the passageway, I hear the sound of the doors; and now I can see the master coming out.

Xuthus komt uit de tempel en haast zich om Ion te groeten

Xuthus
My boy, welcome! That is a suitable way to begin speaking!

Ion
I am well; as long as you stay in your right mind, we are both doing well.

Xuthus
Let me kiss your hand, and throw my arms around your body!

Ion
Are you in your right mind, stranger? Or has some damage from a god driven you mad?

Xuthus
I am sane; since I have found my dearest, I long for him not to escape.

Ion
Stop, do not break by your touch the garlands of the god.

Xuthus
I will touch; I am not seizing you as a pledge, but I have found my own.

Ion
Won't you stop, before you get an arrow in your side?

Xuthus
Why do you try to escape from me? When you have met your own dearest—

Ion
I do not like to teach rude and maddened strangers.

Xuthus
Kill me and raise my funeral pyre; but if you kill me, you will be the murderer of your father.

Ion
How are you my father? Isn't this a joke on me?

Xuthus
No; the story as it goes on will make clear my words to you.

Ion
And what will you tell me?

Xuthus
I am your father, and you are my child.

Ion
Who declares this?

Xuthus
Apollo, who nurtured you, although you were mine.

Ion
You are your own witness.

Xuthus
Informed by the oracle of the god.

Ion
You went astray when you heard a riddle.

Xuthus
Then I can't hear properly.

Ion
What were the words of Phoebus?

Xuthus
That the one who met me —

Ion
What meeting?

Xuthus
As I came out of the temple —

Ion
What would be the result?

Xuthus
That he would be my son.

Ion
Born your son, or a gift from some other?

Xuthus
A gift, but born my son.

Ion
And did you first meet me?

Xuthus
No one else, my son.

Ion
However did this happen?

Xuthus
The two of us marvel at the one event.

Ion
Ah! But who is my mother?

Xuthus
That I cannot say.

Ion
Phoebus did not tell you?

Xuthus
I was pleased at this and did not ask him that.

Ion
Then perhaps I was born from mother earth.

Xuthus
The earth bears no children.

Ion
Well, how could I be yours?

Xuthus
I do not know; I refer it to the god.

Ion
Let us touch on some other topic.

Xuthus
This one is better, my child.

Ion
Have you gone to an unlawful bed?

Xuthus
Yes, in the folly of youth.

Ion
Was that before your marriage with the daughter of Erechtheus?

Xuthus
Yes, never afterwards.

Ion
So did you beget me then?

Xuthus
The time agrees.

Ion
Then how did I arrive here—

Xuthus
I cannot account for that.

Ion
Coming a long way?

Xuthus
That perplexes me also.

Ion
Have you come to the Pythian rock before?

Xuthus
To the torch-processions of Bacchus.

Ion
You stayed with one of the public hosts?

Xuthus
He, with the girls of Delphi —

Ion
Brought you into their company, or what are you saying?

Xuthus
The maenads of Bacchus.

Ion
Were you sensible, or under the influence?

Xuthus
In the pleasures of Bacchus.

Ion
It was then that I was conceived.

Xuthus
Fate has discovered you, my son.

Ion
How did I come to the temple, then?

Xuthus
Perhaps you were exposed by the girl.

Ion
I have escaped from slavery.

Xuthus
Now receive your father.

Ion
It is reasonable not to distrust the god, at any rate.

Xuthus
Now you are in your right mind.

Ion
And what else do I want—

Xuthus
Now you are seeing what you ought to see.

Ion
Than to be the son of Zeus' son?

Xuthus
Which is yours.

Ion
Am I really touching the one who gave me birth?

Xuthus
If you trust in the god.

Ion
Welcome, father!

Xuthus
What a sweet word to hear!.

Ion
This present day—

Xuthus
Has made me happy.

Ion
0 my dear mother, when shall I see you also? Now I long to see you, whoever you are, more than before; but perhaps you are dead, and it could never happen.

Koorleidster
We feel the good fortune of the house in common with you; yet I wish that my mistress too, and the race of Erechtheus, were happy in children.

Xuthus
My son, the god has rightly brought about your discovery, and joined you to me; and you in turn have found your closest relationship, which you had not known before. And what you are rightly eager for is also my desire, that you, my boy, may find your mother, and I may find the woman who bore you to me. If we leave it to time, perhaps we may discover it. But abandon the god's precinct and your service of him, and come to Athens in agreement with your father, where his scepter awaits you, and abundant wealth; although you suffer from one of these two conditions, you will not be called ill-born and poor, but well-born and rich. You are silent? Why do you cast your eyes down to the earth? You have gone into deep thought, and your change from joy frightens your father.

Ion
Matters do not have the same appearance from far off as when seen close up. I welcome my fortune, finding my father in you. But hear, father, what I have in mind. It is said that the famous Athenians are natives of the land, not a foreign race, so that I shall burst in on them with two ailments, my father a foreigner, and myself of bastard birth. And with this reproach, if I am insignificant, (I shall be called no one and nothing) If I rush into the highest rank of the city, and seek to be someone, I will be hated by the powerless; those above them are troublesome to them. Those who are good and able to be wise keep silent, and are not eager for public affairs; to them I will seem laughable and foolish if I am not at rest in a city full of fear. If I attain the reputation of those who are . . . and useful in the city, the more I will be guarded against, in the votes. It is likely to be this way, father; those who hold cities and high rank are most hostile to their rivals. And if I come to a strange house as a foreigner, to a childless woman, who shared that misfortune with you before and now has it as her own lot, and will feel it bitterly, how will she not hate me, and with reason, whenever I stand beside you, but she, the childless one, looks bitterly on your darling? And then either you must forsake me, looking to your wife or honor me and throw your house into confusion. How much slaughter and destruction by poisoning have women found out for men! Besides, I pity your wife, father, growing old without a child, for she is not worthy, being of a noble line, to have this misery. The outward face of royalty, falsely praised , is sweet, but there is bitterness in the home; for who is happy or fortunate, who draws out his life in fear and sidelong glances? I would rather live as a fortunate citizen than as a king, for whom it is a pleasure to have wicked friends and hate the virtuous through fear of death. You might say that gold overcomes these things and riches give delight? I do not like to hear the noise of the crowd, while I guard my wealth at hand, nor to have troubles; I would rather have moderation, free of care. Listen to the blessings I have here, father; first, the dearest to mortals, leisure, and moderate trouble; no worthless creature has struck me out of the way; this is not to be borne, to give way and yield to road to the base. In prayers to the gods or . . . of men, I would serve those who rejoiced, not those who lamented. And some I would send away, while others would come as guests, so that I was always a pleasant novelty among the new arrivals. And—what men ought to wish for, even if they are unwilling—custom and my nature made me righteous before the god. With these things in mind, I think it better here than there, father. Let me live here; for the pleasure is equal, to rejoice in greatness or to have delight with little.

Koorleidster
You have spoken well, if those whom I love are fortunate in what you love.

Xuthus
No more of these words; learn how to be successful. I wish to begin where I found you, my son, with a public table, providing a general feast, and to hold the sacrifices which I did not make at your birth. And now I will bring you as a guest at my table and cheer you with the banquet, then lead you to Athens as a pretended visitor, not as my son. For I do not want to grieve my wife, who is childless, while I am fortunate. I will seize the right occasion and induce my wife to let you hold the scepter of the land together with me. Ion I name you, as befits your fortune, since you were the first to meet me as I came out ot the god's shrine. But assemble a full number of your friends, greet them at the sacrifice with pleasure, since you will soon leave the city of Delphi. And you, slaves, I tell you to be silent on these matters, or it will be death for those that tell my wife.

Ion
I will go. But one part of my fortune is lacking; if I do not find my mother, my life will not be endurable, father. If it is right to pray for it, my mother would be an Athenian, so that from her I might have freedom to speak my mind. For one who bursts as a stranger into a city unmixed in race, even if he is called a citizen, must keep a slavish mouth closed, and does not feel free to speak.

06. Derde koorlied; regel 6;676-724

Koor - strofe
I see tears and mournful cries and attacks of groaning when my queen knows that her husband is blessed with a child, while she is childless and deprived of children. What prophecy have you sung, oracular child of Leto? From where did this boy, nourished at your shrine, step forth? What woman is his mother? The oracle does not please me; there may be treachery in it. I fear what is to come from this chance. It is strange, and brings strange events to me, but the boy keeps the rest silent, treachery and fate . . . brought up from another's blood. Who will not agree to this?

antistrofe
My friends, shall we cry out these things clearly to the ears of our mistress? Her husband, with whom she shared all her hopes, unhappy woman . . . Now her fortunes are ruined, while he is successful. She has fallen into a gray old age, but her husband does not honor his friends. Wretched one, who came to her home an outsider, to great prosperity, and did not put her on a level with his fortunes—may he perish, perish!—deceiving my mistress. And may he not succeed when he offers to the gods the brightly burning sacrifice on the fire; but he will know my mind, how friendly I am to my queen. Now the new father and son are approaching the new dinner.

nazang
O ridge of Parnassus, holding the high rock and seat of heaven, where Bacchus with flaming torches leaps lightly with the bacchantes that roam by night— may the boy never come to my city, may he leave his young life and die! For the mourning city would have for excuse a foreign invasion . . . the former king, lord Erechtheus, gathered his forces.

07. Derde akte; regel 7;725-1047

Creusa en een oude man komen op, in de richting van de tempeltrap

Creusa
Old tutor of my father Erechtheus, while he was alive, come up to the oracular seat, so that you may rejoice with me, if lord Apollo has spoken any oracle on begetting of children. For it is sweet to have good fortune in the presence of friends; if things should go badly—may they not—it is pleasant to look in the face of someone kind. Though I am your mistress, I tend you as a father, as once you tended my father.

Oude man
My daughter, you keep customs worthy of your worthy ancesors, and you have not shamed your ancient line, the race native to your land. Draw me to the temple, draw me on and bring me. The oracular shrine is steep; help my limbs, be a healer for my old age.

Creusa
Follow now; be careful where you set your steps.

Oude man
I am; my foot is slow, but my mind is quick.

Creusa
Support with a staff your steps that waver on the ground.

Oude man
That is blind also, whenever my sight is dim.

Creusa
Well said; but do not give way to weariness.

Oude man
I am willing, but I have no power over my absent strength.

Creusa
Women, trusted servants of my loom and shuttle, what fortune did my husband take away concerning children, for which we came here? If good, inform me; you will be doing a favor for masters that can be trusted.

Koorleidster - zang
O fortune!

Oude man
The prelude of your speech is not prosperous.

Koorleidster - zang
O unhappy!

Oude man
But why do oracles given to my masters afflict me?

Koorleidster
Well; what should we do? There is death in these matters.

Creusa
What is this eloquence? What are you afraid of?

Koorleidster
Shall we speak or be silent? or what shall we do?

Creusa
Speak; you have some misfortune for me!

Koorleidster
It shall be spoken, even if I were to die twice. It is not for you, mistress, ever to hold a child in your arms or clasp it to your breast.

Creusa - zang
Alas, I wish I were dead!

Oude man - zang
My daughter!

Creusa - zang
O unhappy in my fate, I have received, I have suffered an unbearable pain, my friends. I am wholly ruined.

Oude man - zang
My child!

Creusa - zang
Alas! A piercing grief has struck me in my heart.

Oude man
Do not groan yet.

Creusa - zang
But the mourning is already here.

Oude man
Until we learn—

Creusa - zang
What message for me?

Oude man
If the master has a share in this same fate, or you alone are unfortunate.

Koorleidster
To him, old man, Apollo has given a son, and he is fortunate by himself, apart from her.

Creusa - zang
You have cried out this evil upon that, the height of grief for me to mourn.

Oude man
Will he have to breed the child you speak of from some other woman, or did the god declare one already born?

Koorleidster
Apollo gave him a youth already full grown; I was present.

Creusa - zang
What are you saying? Your words are amazing to me, unspeakable!

Oude man
And to me. How is this oracle to be fulfilled? Tell me most clearly who the boy is.

Koorleidster
The god gave him as a son the one whom he should first encounter, when he rushed away from the god.

Creusa - zang
Oh, oh! Has he then sung out my childless, childless life? I shall live in a bereaved house, in loneliness.

Oude man
Who was proclaimed? Whom did the husband of this unhappy woman encounter? How and where did he see him?

Koorleidster
Do you, my dear mistress, know the youth that was sweeping this temple? That is the boy.

Creusa - zang
If only I might fly up to the soft sky, far from the land of Hellas, the western stars, such pain have I suffered, my friends!

Oude man
What name did his father give him? Do you know or does it remain unratified, in silence?

Koorleidster
Ion, since he was the first to meet his father.

Oude man
And who was his mother?

Koorleidster
I can not say. Her husband is gone—so that you may know everything from me, old man— to the holy tent to celebrate a feast and birth-rites for his son, in secret from her, and to give a public banquet to his new son.

Oude man
Lady, we are betrayed, for I am afflicted with you, by your husband, and by trickery we are outraged and cast out of the house of Erechtheus. I do not say this in hatred to your husband, but I love you more than him; he married you when he came as a stranger to the city, receiving both the royal home and your full inheritance, and now he is shown to have secretly bred children by some other woman; how secretly, I will tell you. When he saw you had no child, he could not endure to bear a fate like yours; but he bedded a slave in secret union and begot this child, and gave him to some Delphian to bring up abroad. This man educated him, dedicated to the god, in this sacred house, so that he might conceal it. When Xuthus knew that the youth was grown, he persuaded you to come here, for the sake of your childlessness. And the god has not deceived you; your husband deceived you long ago, rearing his son, and wove such plots; if convicted, he might ascribe it to the god . . . he was about to invest him with the rule of your land. And he fashioned this new name at his leisure, Ion—because he met him coming out, indeed!

Koorleidster
Alas, how I always hate wicked men, who put together plans of injustice and then adorn them with tricks. I would rather have as a friend a good man who is ordinary than an evil man who is more clever.

Oude man
And you will be persuaded to the last evil of all: to take into your house as master someone motherless, insignificant, born from a slave woman. The evil would have been a single one, if he had persuaded you by pleading your lack of children and settled in the house a son of a noble mother; or, if that displeased you, he should have sought a wife from the Aeolians. Now indeed you must act a woman's part: with a sword or by some trick or with poison kill your husband and his son, before death comes to you from them. (For if you give up, your life is lost. For when two enemies come together under one roof, either one must fail, or the other.) I wish to help you in this work, and kill the boy, entering the house where he is preparing the feast, and when I have paid back my living to my masters, either to die, or live and see the light. There is one thing in slavery that brings shame, the name; in all other respects a good slave is no worse than the free-born.

Koorleidster
And I, my dear mistress, wish to share your fate, either to die, or live with honor.

Creusa
O my soul, how shall I be silent? But how shall I reveal the hidden bed, and depart from shame? What hindrance is still in my way?Against whom am I set in a contest of virtue? Is not my husband my betrayer, and I am deprived of a house, deprived of children; the hopes are gone which I wished to arrange well but could not, when I was silent on this union, silent on the lamented birth. But, by the starry throne of Zeus, and by the goddess high above my rocks, by the sacred headland of Triton's watery lake, I will no longer conceal this bed, so that I may cast off this load from my breast and be at ease. Tears fall from my eyes, my soul is in pain, victim of plots by men, by gods, whom I will show to be ungrateful betrayers of the beds they forced. O you, who cause a voice to sing from your seven-stringed lyre, a voice that lets lovely-sounding hymns peal forth in the rustic lifeless horn, son of Leto, I will blame you before this light. You came to me, your hair glittering with gold, when I was plucking into the folds of my robe yellow flowers to bloom with golden light; grasping my white hand in yours, you led me to the bed in the cave, hearing me call on my mother, god and consort, shamelessly paying homage to Aphrodite. I, the unhappy one, bore you a son, whom in fear of my mother I placed in that bed of yours, where you joined with me, the miserable, the unfortunate one, in unhappy union. Alas! and now my son and yours, oh cruel one, is gone, torn apart, a feast for birds; but you are singing to the lyre, chanting hymns. Oh! son of Leto, I invoke you, who send forth your holy voice from your golden seat, your central throne, I shall announce it in your ear: O wicked lover, you received no favor from my husband, but you settle a child in the house for him; while my son and yours, unknown, is gone, plundered by birds, and has given up the baby-clothes from his mother. Delos hates you, and so do the laurel shoots beside the palm with delicate leaves, where Leto gave birth to you, a holy birth, in the plants of Zeus.

Koorleidster
Alas, what a mighty treasury of ills is opened; anyone might weep at it!

Oude man
My daughter, I cannot get my fill of looking on your face; I am astonished. For I had just now drained one wave of troubles from my heart, when another one from the stern seizes me at your words, which you have diverted from the present woes, and now you have set forth on a sad road of other sorrows. What are you saying? What charge do you bring against Apollo? What son do you say you have brought forth? and where in the city did you place his body, dear to the wild beasts? Please go through it again.

Creusa
I am ashamed, old man, yet I will speak.

Oude man
I know how to mourn generously with friends.

Creusa
Hear then; you know the cave to the north of the Cecropian rocks, which we call Macrai?

Oude man
Yes, where there is a shrine to Pan and altars near by.

Creusa
There I engaged in a dreadful contest.

Oude man
What contest? How my tears come to meet your words!

Creusa
Unwillingly, I formed an unhappy union with Phoebus.

Oude man
O daughter, was this what I have heard?

Creusa
I don't know; but I would tell you if you speak the truth.

Oude man
You were secretly mourning a hidden disease?

Creusa
This was the grief I am now making clear to you.

Oude man
And then how did you conceal Apollo's rape?

Creusa
I gave birth . . . hear me with patience, old man.

Oude man
Where? Who assisted you at the birth? Or were you in labor alone?

Creusa
Alone, in the cave where I had been joined with him.

Oude man
Where is the child? so that you may no longer be childless.

Creusa
He is dead, old man, exposed to wild beasts.

Oude man
Dead? And the cowardly Apollo did not defend him?

Creusa
He did not; the boy is growing up in the house of Hades.

Oude man
Who exposed him? Surely it wasn't you.

Creusa
I did it, in darkness, wrapping him in robes.

Oude man
And no one shared in your knowledge of the child's exposure?

Creusa
Only the misfortune and the concealment.

Oude man
And how did you dare to leave your son in a cave?

Creusa
How? With many mournful words.

Oude man
Ah! Cruel was your daring, but the god was more cruel than you.

Creusa
If you had seen the child stretch out his hands to me!

Oude man
Seeking the breast, or reaching for your arms?

Creusa
Here, where he suffered wrong from me, being absent from my arms.

Oude man
And what thought induced you to expose your child?

Creusa
That the god would save his own offspring.

Oude man
Alas, how storms have buffeted the prosperity of your house!

Creusa
Why do you cover your head and weep, old man?

Oude man
I see you and your father unfortunate.

Creusa
This is the state of man; nothing stands firm.

Oude man
Let us no longer cling to sorrow, my daughter.

Creusa
What should I do? There is no way out of misfortune.

Oude man
First be avenged on the god that wronged you.

Creusa
And how, being mortal, shall I outrun those who are stronger?

Oude man
Burn the holy oracle of Apollo.

Creusa
I am afraid; I have enough ills even now.

Oude man
Dare what may be done then; kill your husband.

Creusa
I revere our marriage, to which he was faithful once.

Oude man
Then kill the son who has appeared against you.

Creusa
How? If only it could be; how I would wish it!

Oude man
Arm your servants with swords.

Creusa
I will go; but where shall it be done?

Oude man
In the holy tent, where he is now feasting his friends.

Creusa
The murder is evident, and slaves are powerless.

Oude man
Ah, you are being cowardly; come, you form a plan now.

Creusa
Indeed, I have one, treacherous and effective.

Oude man
I would be your servant in both these respects.

Creusa
Listen, then; you know the battle of the giants?

Oude man
Yes, the battle the giants fought against the gods in Phlegra.

Creusa
There the earth brought forth the Gorgon, a dreadful monster.

Oude man
As an ally for her children and trouble for the gods?

Creusa
Yes; and Pallas, the daughter of Zeus, killed it.

Oude man
What fierce shape did it have?

Creusa
A breastplate armed with coils of a viper.

Oude man
Is this the story which I have heard before?

Creusa
That Athena wore the hide on her breast.

Oude man
And they call it the aegis, Pallas' armor?

Creusa
It has this name from when she darted to the gods' battle.

Oude man
But what harm is this to your enemies, daughter?

Creusa
Do you know Erichthonius? But of course you do, old man.

Oude man
The one whom the earth brought forth, first of your race?

Creusa
To him while an infant Pallas gave—

Oude man
What did she give? Your speech has such delays!

Creusa
Two drops of blood from the Gorgon.

Oude man
And what power do they have over mortals?

Creusa
One is deadly, the other heals disease.

Oude man
In what did she hang them around the infant's body?

Creusa
In gold chains; and he gave them to my father.

Oude man
And when he died, they came to you?

Creusa
Yes; I wear them on my wrist.

Oude man
How is this double gift of the goddess accomplished?

Creusa
This one, which dripped from the hollow vein, at the slaughter—

Oude man
What is its use? What can it do?

Creusa
It wards off diseases and nourishes life.

Oude man
The second one you speak of, what does it do?

Creusa
It kills, as it is poison from the Gorgon serpents.

Oude man
Do you wear them mixed together, or separately?

Creusa
Separate; for good does not mix with ill.

Oude man
O dearest child, you have all that you need.

Creusa
With this the boy shall die, and you will be the one to kill him.

Oude man
Where and how? It is for you to say it and for me to dare it.

Creusa
At Athens, when he comes to my home.

Oude man
That was not well said; I say this, for you have found fault with me.

Creusa
How? Do you suspect what has come to me also?

Oude man
You will appear to destroy the child, even if you don't kill him.

Creusa
Rightly; a stepmother is said to hate her stepchildren.

Oude man
Kill him here, so that you can deny the murder.

Creusa
And so I get the pleasure sooner in time.

Oude man
And you will conceal from your husband what he is eager to conceal from you.

Creusa
Do you know what you must do? Take from my hand this golden bracelet from Athena, an ancient work, and go where my husband is secretly preparing the sacrifice; when they finish dinner and are about to pour libations to the gods, with this in your robe, put it in the youth's cup. . . but keep the cup apart, for him alone, not everyone—the one who is going to be the master of my house! And when it has gone down his throat, he will never see glorious Athens, but he will die and remain here.She gives him the bracelet.

Oude man
You go now to your hosts; I will accomplish what I have been ordered to do. Come then, my aged foot, be young in action, even if you cannot be in years. Go with your master against the enemy, and help me kill him and remove him from the house. It is good for the fortunate to honor piety; but whenever someone wants to do harm to enemies, no law stands in the way.

Beiden vertrekken

08. Vierde koorlied; regel 8;1048-1105

Koor - strofe
Daughter of Demeter, goddess of the cross-ways, you who rule over assaults by night and day, guide this cup full of death against the one my queen sends it to—from the drops of the earth-born Gorgon, her throat cut, to the one who is grasping at the house of Erechtheus. May no other rule the city's households than one of the noble race of Erechtheus!

antistrofe
But if death and the eager attempts of my mistress go unfulfilled, and occasion for daring, where there is now hope, is absent, a god will thrust a sharp sword or hang a noose around her neck; by sorrow making an end to sorrow, she will go to other forms of life. For never while she is alive would she endure strangers ruling her home, in the bright rays, she who is born from a noble house.

strofe
I am ashamed before the god of many hymns, if he, the sleepless night watcher, shall see the torch procession on the twentieth day, beside the springs with lovely dances, when the starry sky of Zeus also joins in the dance, and the moon dances, and the fifty daughters of Nereus, in the sea and the swirls of ever-flowing rivers, celebrating in their dance the maiden with golden crown and her revered mother; where this vagabond of Phoebus' hopes to rule, entering upon the labor of others.

antistrofe
You who turn to music and sing in discordant hymns our beds and the lawless, unholy loves of Kypris, see how we surpass in piety the unjust seed of men. Let the song recant and let discordant music go against the beds of men! The descendant of Zeus shows his ingratitude, when he does not breed children for the house in common with my mistress; showing favor to another Aphrodite, he has found a bastard child.

09. Vierde akte; regel 9;1106-1228

Een bediende van Creusa komt op

Bediende
Women of Athens, where may I find our mistress, the daughter of Erechtheus? I have completed a search of the whole city for her, and I cannot find her.

Koorleidster
What is it, my fellow-slave? Why your swiftness of foot? What tidings do you bring?

Bediende
We are being hunted; the rulers of the land seek her, so that she may die by stoning.

Koorleidster
Alas! what are you saying? We have surely not failed to keep secret our plans of murder against the boy?

Bediende
You are right. You will not be among the last to share the punishment.

Koorleidster
How were the hidden contrivances seen?

Bediende
The god, who did not wish to be stained with blood-pollution, exposed that which was wrong and weaker than the right.

Koorleidster
How? As a suppliant, I beg you, tell me about this. For when we know, we would die more pleasantly, whether we die or live.

Bediende
When Creusa's husband left the god's oracular shrine, he took his new son to the feast and the sacrifice he was preparing for the god. Xuthus then went where the flame of Bacchus leaps, so that he might drench both rocks of Dionysos with the slaughter, as a thank-offering for the sight of his son, and he said: “You, my child, stay here and raise a tent, fitted on both sides, by the toil of carpenters. If I should remain a long time in my sacrifice to the gods of birth, set up the banquet for the friends who are there.” He took the calves and left. The youth reverently built the round tent on pillars, without walls, taking good care of the rays of the sun, setting it neither towards the middle beams of heat nor in turn towards the ending ones. He measured a length of 100 feet for a square, having its whole area ten thousand feet, as the wise say, so that he might call all the people of Delphi to the feast. From the treasuries he took sacred tapestries, and shadowed over the tent, a wonder for men to see. First, overhead he spread out wings of cloth, a dedication of the son of Zeus, which Herakles brought from the Amazons as spoils for the god. These pictures were woven in it: Heaven gathering the stars into the circle of the sky. The Sun was driving his horses to the last flare, drawing on the light of Evening. Dark-robed Night was shaking her two-horse chariot by means of the yoked pair, and stars attended her. A Pleiad hastened through the middle sky, with Orion and his sword; above, Arktos turned his golden tail on the pole; the full moon, that divides the months in half, shot forth her beams above, with the Hyades, the clearest sign for sailors, and light-bearing Dawn, pursuing the stars. Ion spread other tapestries over the sides of the tent, foreign ones: well-equipped ships against the Hellenes, and half-human creatures; and the pursuit of deer on horse-back, and hunting of savage lions. At the entrance there was Cecrops, with his daughters, winding in his serpent coils, a dedication from an Athenian. Ion set up golden mixing bowls in the middle of the banquet. The herald, with quick steps, was inviting any native of Delphi who wished to come to the feast. When the tent was filled, they crowned themselves with garlands and ate the rich food to satiety. When they had let go this pleasure—an old man came by and stood in the midst, and he raised a great laugh among the guests by his zealous actions; for he brought water for washing hands from the pitchers, and burned the myrtle incense, and ruled over the the golden cups, assigning this duty to himself. When it was time for music and the public bowl, the old man said: “we must take away the small wine vessels and bring in the big ones, so that they may come to their pleasures more quickly” Then there was the work of bringing gold and silver cups; he took up a chosen one, as if to do a favor for the new master, and gave him the full cup—he had put in the wine a deadly poison which they say his mistress had given him, to kill the new son; and no one knew this. When Xuthus' revealed son was holding a libation among the rest, one of the slaves said a profane word; he, as one brought up within the temple and with expert seers, thought it an omen and required another goblet to be filled afresh. The former libations to the god he cast upon the ground, instructing everyone to pour them out. Silence came over us. We were filling the sacred bowls with water and wine of Byblos. While we were at work, a fluttering troop of doves burst into the tent—for they live in Phoebus' house without fear—and where they had poured out the wine, the birds let down their beaks to it, yearning for the drink, and they drew it into their beautifully-feathered throats. The god's drink-offering was harmless to the other doves; but the one who sat where the new son had poured out his libation and tasted the drink at once shook her body, with its lovely plumes, and whirled around, and cried out with an untelligible sound. The whole crowd of guests was amazed at the bird's torment. She struggled and died, stretching out her scarlet legs. The son given by the prophet held his arms, bare from his robe, over the table, and shouted: “Who intended to kill me? Let us know, old man; for you were being zealous and I received the cup from your hand.” At once he seized his aged arm, and examined him, so that he might catch the old man in the act with the poison. He was seen to have it, and, when tortured, he painfully reported Creusa's daring and the contrivance of the cup. At once, the youth declared by Apollo' oracle collected the guests and rushed outside, and standing in the midst of the Pythian leaders, said: “O holy Earth, the stranger, daughter of Erechtheus, tried to kill me with poison” Then the Delphian lords—and not by one vote only!— decided that my mistress should die, by being cast from the rock, as she would have killed one dedicated to the god, and done murder in the temple. The whole city is searching for her, as she hastens on her unhappy way. She came to Phoebus in desire for children, and has lost her life and her sons at once. De bode vertrekt

10. Vijfde koorlied; regel 10;1229-1249

Koor
There is no means of averting death, there is none for me, the unhappy one. This is now clear, from the libation to Dionysos, the swift viper mingled in death with the drops of the vine. . . the offering to the gods below is clear: misfortune for my life, a death by stoning for my mistress. By what winged flight or under the dark caverns of the earth shall I go, fleeing a death by stoning, stepping on to the swift chariot? or on to the prow of a ship?

Koorleidster
It is not possible to hide, when a god is not willing to snatch us away. What remains, my unhappy mistress, for you to feel in your life? Shall we, who planned to do wrong to another, ourselves be punished, as is right?

11. Vijfde akte; regel 11;1250-1622

Creusa - die snel opkomt
My servants, I am pursued to the death; the Pythian council has decreed it; I am given up.

Koorleidster
Unhappy lady, we know your misfortunes, how your fate stands.

Creusa
Where then shall I fly? I scarcely escaped death when I left the house; I have come here by stealthy flight from my enemies.

Koorleidster
Where else but to the altar?

Creusa
What will that gain me?

Koorleidster
It is not right to kill a suppliant.

Creusa
But by the law I perish.

Koorleidster
If you are caught.

Creusa
And here are my bitter opponents, pressing on with drawn swords.

Koorleidster
Now take your seat at the altar; if you die here, your blood will cry out for vengeance on your murderers; but your fate must be endured.

Creusa zoekt haar toevlucht bij het altaar terwijl Ion en een aantal bewakers van Delphi binnenkomen

Ion
O Cephisus, her ancestor, with a bull's face, what a viper have you bred, or serpent that glares a deadly flame! She has dared all, she is no less than the Gorgon's blood, with which she was about to kill me. Seize her, so that the uplands of Parnassus, from which she will be hurled to make her stony leaps, may comb out those smooth tresses of her hair. I met with a good genius, before I came to the city of Athens, and fell into a stepmother's hands. For in the midst of allies I have taken the measure of your intent, what an unfriendly bane you were to me; if you had encompassed me in your own house, you would have sent me utterly to the house of Hades. But neither the altar nor Apollo's shrine will save you. Pity for you is greater for me and for my mother; although she is absent, yet the name is present. Look at that wicked creature, how she wove craft out of craft; she has fled cowering to the altar of the god, as if she thought she would not pay the penalty for her deeds.

Creusa
I forbid you to kill me, on behalf of myself and the god, at whose altar I stand.

Ion
What is there in common between Phoebus and you?

Creusa
I give my body to the god, a holy suppliant.

Ion
And then you tried to poison the god's servant?

Creusa
You were no longer Apollo's, but your father's.

Ion
I was born from my father; but I am speaking of the essential relationship.

Creusa
Well, then, you were Apollo's once; I am now, you no longer are.

Ion
You are not pious, but my actions were.

Creusa
I tried to kill you because you were an enemy to my house.

Ion
I certainly did not come in arms against your country.

Creusa
Yes, you did; you would have burned the house of Erechtheus.

Ion
With what torches, by what flame?

Creusa
You were going to live in my house, taking it from me by force.

Ion
My father is giving me the land which he possessed.

Creusa
How does the race of Aeolus share with that of Pallas?

Ion
He received it in pledge, by arms, not words.

Creusa
An ally would not be an inhabitant of the land.

Ion
Then you tried to kill me, in fear of what I might intend to do?

Creusa
So that I might not die, if you should not only intend.

Ion
Because you are childless, you are envious that my father found me.

Creusa
Then you will plunder a childless house?

Ion
But do I have no share of my father's goods?

Creusa
As much as his shield and spear; that is your entire property.

Ion
Leave the altar and the seats dedicated to the god.

Creusa
Give advice to your mother, wherever she is.

Ion
Will you not submit to punishment, you who were going to kill me?

Creusa
Yes, if you are willing to slaughter me in this shrine.

Ion
What pleasure is it for you to die among the garlands of the god?

Creusa
I shall give pain to one who has given me pain.

Ion
Ah! It is strange that the god has given to men these laws, not well or with wise thought; the wicked should not sit at the altar, but should be driven from there; nor is it good for a worthless hand to touch the gods; for the righteous—those who have been wronged should sit in sanctuary; the good and bad should not go to the same place and have equal treatment from the gods.

Als Ion en zijn volgers op het punt staan om Creusa van het altaar te rukken komt de priesteres van Apollo uit de tempel

Priesteres
Hold back, my child; for I have left the oracular tripod and crossed the threshold, I the priestess of Phoebus, who keep the ancient law of the tripod, chosen from all the women of Delphi.

Ion
Welcome, you who are a dear mother to me, though not my parent.

Priesteres
Then may I be called so; the name is not bitter to me.

Ion
Have you heard that this woman was trying to kill me with her plots?

Priesteres
I have; but you are going astray in your cruelty.

Ion
Shouldn't I requite those who would kill me?

Priesteres
Wives are always hostile to former offspring.

Ion
But we suffer greatly from stepmothers.

Priesteres
Do not do these things; leaving the shrine and going to your country—

Ion
What must I be advised to do?

Priesteres
Go pure to Athens, with good omens.

Ion
All those that kill their enemies are pure.

Priesteres
Do not do it! Hear what I have to say.

Ion
Speak; whatever you say will be full of good will.

Priesteres
Do you see this vessel in my arms?

Ion
I see an ancient cradle, in garlands.

Priesteres
In this I received you when you were a new-born infant.

Ion
What are you saying? A new story is introduced.

Priesteres
I kept it in silence; now I reveal it.

Ion
How did you hide it, when you received me long ago?

Priesteres
The god wanted to have you as a servant in his house.

Ion
But now he doesn't want it? How must I know this?

Priesteres
He has declared your father, and sends you from this land.

Ion
You kept these things because you were bidden to, or how?

Priesteres
Apollo put it into my mind—

Ion
To do what? Speak, finish what you have to say.

Priesteres
To keep to this time what I found.

Ion
What gain does this have for me, or what harm?

Priesteres
The baby-clothes in which you were wrapped are hidden here.

Ion
You are producing a means to find my mother?

Priesteres
Since the god wishes it; before, he did not.

Ion
O day of blessed discoveries!

Priesteres
Now take them and find your mother.

Ion
I will go over all Asia and the boundaries of Europe.

Priesteres
You yourself will know these things. For the sake of the god, I nurtured you, my son, and I will give you these, which he wished me, unbidden, to keep and save; why he wanted this, I do not understand. No mortal knew that I had these things, or where they were hidden. And now farewell; I take leave of you just as a mother does. Begin where you ought to seek your mother; first, if some Delphian girl gave you birth, and exposed you in this shrine; then, if she was someone of Hellas. You have everything from me, and from Phoebus, who took part in your fate.

Ze gaat de tempel in nadat ze Ion de wieg heeft gegeven

Ion
Ah me! How the tears fall from my eyes, when I think on that time when my mother, after a hidden union, sold me secretly and did not allow me the breast; but in the temple of the god, without a name, I had a slave's life. All from the god is good, but from fortune harsh; for in the time when I should have luxuriated in a mother's arms and had some pleasure in life, I was deprived of a mother's tender care. And she also is unhappy; how she has suffered, losing the delight of a child. But I will take this vessel, and dedicate it to the god, so that I may find nothing that I do not want. For if my mother happens to be a slave, to find her would be worse than to let it be in silence. O Phoebus, in your temple I dedicate this. But what am I doing? Am I making war against the will of the god, who saved for me these tokens of my mother? I must dare, and open these; for I would not transgress what is fated. Hij opnet de wiege O sacred garlands, what have you so long concealed, and bands, that keep these things so dear to me? See how, from some god's device, the cover of this circular vessel is not worn, and mold is absent from the weave. But much intervening time has passed for these treasures.

Creusa
What unexpected sight do I see?

Ion
You be silent; you know that you have said enough to me before—

Creusa
I cannot be silent; do not give me advice. For I see the cradle, in which I once exposed you, my son, when you were still an infant, in the caves of Cecrops and the overhanging rocks of Macrai. I will leave this altar, even if I must die.

Ion
Seize her; for she has been driven mad by the god and has left the wooden images of the altar; bind her hands.

Creusa
Do not hesitate to kill me; I shall lay claim to this vase, and you, and your concealed tokens.

Ion
Isn't this terrible? I am being seized by your talk.

Creusa
No, but you have been found to be dear to your own.

Ion
I am dear to you? And you were trying to kill me secretly?

Creusa
You are my child, if that is most dear to parents.

Ion
Stop weaving your plots; I will certainly catch you out.

Creusa
May I come to what I am aiming at, my child!

Ion
Is this vessel empty, or does it cover something?

Creusa
Yes, your clothes, in which I then exposed you.

Ion
And will you name them to me, before you see them?

Creusa
If I do not say them, I consent to die.

Ion
Speak; your daring has something strange in it.

Creusa
Look; cloth that I wove as a child.

Ion
What sort? Girls weave many things.

Creusa
Not completed, like a practice-work from the loom.

Ion
What appearance does it have? You will not catch me in this way.

Creusa
A Gorgon in the middle threads of the robe.

Ion
O Zeus, what fate hunts me down!

Creusa
And, like an aegis, bordered with serpents.

Ion
Look! That is the robe, as we are finding out the oracle.

Creusa
O long-lost work of my loom when I was a girl!

Ion
Is there anything else besides, or are you lucky in this only?

Creusa
Serpents; an old gift of Athena, in gold; she tells us to rear children, in imitation of Erichthonius of long ago.

Ion
Tells you to do what with the gold, how to use it? Explain it to me.

Creusa
Necklaces for the new-born baby to wear, my child.

Ion
They are here; I long to know the third thing.

Creusa
I put an olive crown around you, from the tree that Athena first brought out of the rock; if it is there, it has not lost its green, but flourishes, born from an immortal olive tree.

Ion
O my dearest mother! I see you with joy, I am held to your joyful face.They embrace.

Creusa
O child, o light dearer to your mother than the sun —the god will forgive me—I hold you in my arms, unexpectedly found, when I thought you lived in the world below, with the dead and Persephone.

Ion
But, my dear mother, in your arms I seem to be both one who has died and one who is not dead.

Creusa
Oh, oh, wide expanse of the bright sky, what shall I say, what shall I cry aloud? From where did this unexpected pleasure come to me? Where have I found this joy?

Ion
There was nothing further from my thoughts than this, mother, to be found your son.

Creusa
I am still trembling with fear.

Ion
Thinking that you do not have me, although you are holding me?

Creusa
Yes, for I had cast these hopes far away. O lady, from whom did you take my child into your arms? What hand brought him to Apollo's shrine?

Ion
It was a god's action; but may the rest of our fortune be happy, as the past was unfortunate.

Creusa
My child, you were brought forth in tears; with laments you were separated from a mother's hands. But now I breathe beside your cheeks, with most blessed delight.

Ion
You are speaking for me, when you speak your thoughts.

Creusa
I am no longer childless; the house is established, the land has a king; Erechtheus has come back; and the house of the earth-born no longer gazes upon night, but looks up into the rays of the sun.

Ion
Mother, let my father, since he is present here, also share the joy which I have given you.

Creusa
O child, what are you saying? How I am convicted!

Ion
What have you said?

Creusa
You were born from another.

Ion
Ah me! You gave birth to me as a virgin's bastard?

Creusa
My wedding rites had no torches or dances, child, when I bore you.

Ion
Alas! I am low-born. Mother, who was my father?

Creusa
May the Gorgon's slayer know—

Ion
Why have you said this?

Creusa
You, who sit on the hill where the olive grows, beside my cliffs—

Ion
What you say is treacherous and not clear to me.

Creusa
By the nightingale's rock, Apollo—

Ion
Why do you speak of Apollo?

Creusa
Led me in secret to his bed.

Ion
Speak on; your words bring some joyful fortune to me.

Creusa
In the tenth month I bore you to Phoebus, with secret pangs.

Ion
What you are saying is very sweet, if you are speaking the truth.

Creusa
I fitted around you these baby-clothes, the work of my flying shuttle, done when I was a girl, in secret from my mother. I did not offer you milk, nor a mother's nourishment from the breast, nor did I wash you; you were cast out on the deserted cave, a victim of the beaks of birds, and a feast for Hades.

Ion
Mother, you dared to do terrible things.

Creusa
Bound down by fear, my son, I cast your life away; unwillingly I killed you.

Ion
And I was about to kill you!

Creusa
Ah! dreadful was my fortune then, dreadful these things also; I am whirled here and there to misery, and back again to joy; but the wind is changing. Let it remain; the past evils are enough; now let there be a favoring breeze, after troubles, my son.

Koorleidster
From what has happened now, let no mortal ever consider anything unexpected.

Ion
O Fortune, you that have already changed the lives of countless mortals, involving them in ills, and raising them to happiness again, to what a point of life had I come, ready to kill my mother and suffer unworthily. Ah! Is it possible to learn all this day by day, in the sun's bright encircling rays? I have made a dear find in you, mother; nor do I see anything to blame in my birth; For the rest, I want to talk to you alone. Come here; for I wish to say this in your ear and draw a dark veil over the matter. Look, mother; isn't it true that you went astray into a secret affair—an affliction that happens to girls; and now you are ascribe the blame to the god and attempt to escape the shame of my birth by saying that you bore me to Phoebus, when your lover was not a god?

Creusa
By Athena Nike, who once raised her shield against the giants, in her chariot beside Zeus, your father is not a mortal, but the one who who brought you up, lord Apollo.

Ion
How then did he give his child to another father and say that I was born the son of Xuthus?

Creusa
Not born, but he gives you, born from himself; for so a friend might give to a friend his son to be master of the house.

Ion
The god is true, or prophecy is in vain—this troubles my heart, mother, and with reason.

Creusa
Hear now what has come to me, my child: Apollo establishes you in a noble house as a kindness to you. but if you were said to be his, you could not ever have a wealthy home or a father's name; how could it be, since I myself concealed the union and tried to kill you secretly? But he gives you to another father, to benefit you.

Ion
My search is not so careless; I will go into Phoebus' house and ask him if I have a mortal father or Apollo. Boven het toneel verschijnt de godin Athena Ah! what god is revealing a countenance as bright as the sun, above the house that breathes incense? Let us try to escape, mother, before we see divinities—if it is not the proper time for us to see them.

Athena
Do not try to escape; for you are fleeing one who is not an enemy, but gracious to you both in Athens and here. I, Pallas, have come from your land, which is named after me, urged on my course by Apollo, for he does not think it fitting to come into your sight, lest blame for what happened before should arise. But he sends me to tell you this: that she bore you, to Apollo, your father, and he makes a gift of you, not to the one who begot you, but so that he may establish you in a most noble house. When this matter was made known and revealed, since he feared that you would die by the plots of your mother and she at your hands, he rescued you by his contrivances. Lord Apollo, keeping silent over these things, was going to make them known at Athens, that she is your mother, and you are born from her and your father, Phoebus. But, to bring the matter to an end, hear the oracles of the god, for which I yoked my chariot. Creusa, take your son and go to the land of Cecrops; set him on the royal throne. For he was born from Erechtheus and is fit to rule my land; and he will be famous throughout Hellas. He will have four sons, from one stock, and they will gave names to the land and the tribes of people who inhabit it. Geleon will be the first; then second . . . Hopletes and Argades, and the Aegicores will have a tribal name from my aegis. Their sons in turn, at the appointed time, will settle in the island cities of the Cyclades, and the lands along the shore, which will give strength to my land; they will colonize the plains of the two mainlands, Asia and Europe, on opposite sides; they will become famous under the name of Ionians, in homage to this boy's name. You and Xuthus will have children together: Dorus, from whom the Dorian state will be celebrated throughout the land of Pelops. The second son, Achaeus, will be king of the shore land near Rhion; and a people called after him will be marked out as having his name. Apollo has done all things well: first, he had you give birth without pain, so that your family would not know about it; when you bore this child and put him in his clothes, he ordered Hermes to take up the baby in his arms and bring him here; he nurtured him, and did not allow him to die. Now do not reveal that he is your son, so that Xuthus may have his belief in content and you too may go forth with your blessings, lady. And now farewell; from this relief from ills I announce a prosperous fortune for you.

Ion
O Pallas, daughter of all-powerful Zeus! not with distrust shall we receive your words; I am convinced that Phoebus is my father and she is my mother.—and that I did not doubt before.

Creusa
Hear now my words also; I praise Phoebus, whom I did not praise before; because he gives back to me the child that he once neglected. These gates are lovely to my eyes, and the oracles of the god, which were hostile before. But now I gladly cling to the handle of the door and address the gates.

Athena
I am glad that you have changed your mind and praise the god; for always the gifts of Heaven are somehow slow, but at the end they are not weak.

Creusa
My son, let us go home.

Athena
Go; I will escort you.

Creusa
A worthy guide for us.

Athena
And friendly to the city.

Creusa
Sit on the ancient throne.

Ion
A worthy possession for me.Ion, Creusa and Athena leave the stage.

Koor
O son of Leto and Zeus, Apollo, hail! The one whose house is striken by misfortune must have courage and honor the gods; for, at the end, the good obtain what they have deserved, but the bad by nature can never fare well.

© 2017 Maarten Hendriksz