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Strength. We reach the utmost limit of the earth, The Scythian track, the desert without man, And now, Hephaestus, thou must needs fulfil The mandate of our Father, and with links Indissoluble of adamantine chains, Fasten against this beetling precipice This guilty god. Because he filched away Thine own bright flower, the glory of plastic fire, And gifted mortals with it,-such a sin It doth behove he expiate to the gods, Learning to accept the empery of Zeus And leave off his old trick of loving man.

Hephastus. O Strength and Force,—for you, our Zeus's will

Presents a deed for doing, no more!—but I,

I lack your daring, up this storm-rent chasm
To fix with violent hands a kindred god,—
Howbeit necessity compels me so

That I must dare it--and our Zeus commands
Ho; thou!

With a most inevitable word.

High-thoughted son of Themis who is sage!
Thee loth, I loth must rivet fast in chains
Against this rocky height unclomb by man,
Where never human voice nor face shall find
Out thee who lov'st them, and thy beauty's flower,
Scorched in the sun's clear heat, shall fade away.
Night shall come up with garniture of stars
To comfort thee with shadow, and the sun
Disperse with retrickt beams the morning-frosts.
But through all changes, sense of present woe
Shall vex thee sore, because with none of them
There comes a hand to free. Such fruit is plucked
From love of man!-and in that thou, a god,
Didst brave the wrath of gods and give away
Undue respect to mortals, for that crime
Thou art adjudged to guard this joyless rock,
Erect, unslumbering, bending not the knee,
And many a cry and unavailing moan
To utter on the air. For Zeus is stern,
And new-made kings are cruel.


Be it so.

Why, loiter in vain pity? Why not hate

A god the gods hate ?-one too who betrayed

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Is disobedience to the Father's word

A possible thing? Dost quail not more for that?

Hephaestus. Thou, at least, art a stern one! ever bold.

Strength. Why, if I wept, it were no remedy.

And do not thou spend labour on the air

To bootless uses.


Cursed handicraft!

I curse and hate thee, O my craft!


Thy craft most plainly innocent of all
These pending ills?


Were here to work it!


Why hate

I would some other hand

All work hath its pain,

Except to rule the gods. There is none free

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Make haste and lock the fetters over HIM,

Lest Zeus behold thee lagging?

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Wedge him in deeper,-leave no inch to stir!

He's terrible for finding a way out.

From the irremediable.


Here's an arm, at least,

Grappled past freeing.


Now, then, buckle me

The other securely. Let this wise one learn

He's duller than our Zeus.


Accuse me justly!


Oh, none but he

Now, straight through the chest,

Take him and bite him with the clenching tooth
Of the adamantine wedge, and rivet him.

Hephaestus. Alas, Prometheus, what thou sufferest here

I sorrow over.


Dost thou flinch again,

And breathe groans for the enemies of Zeus?
Beware lest thine own pity find thee out.

Hephaestus. Thou dost behold a spectacle that turns The sight o' the eyes to pity.


I behold

A sinner suffer his sin's penalty.

But lash the thongs about his sides.

So much,

I must do. Urge no farther than I must.

Strength. Ay, but I will urge!—and, with shout

on shout,

Will hound thee at this quarry. Get thee down
And ring amain the iron round his legs.

Hephaestus. That work was not long doing.

Heavily now

Let fall the strokes upon the perforant gyves.
For He who rates the work has a heavy hand.
Hephastus. Thy speech is savage as thy shape.

Gentle and tender! but revile not me

Be thou

For the firm will and the untruckling hate. Hephaestus. Let us go. He is netted round with chains.

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Strength. Here, now, taunt on! and having spoiled the gods

Of honours, crown withal thy mortal men

Who live a whole day out. Why how could they
Draw off from thee one single of thy griefs?
Methinks the Dæmons gave thee a wrong name,
Prometheus, which means Providence,—because
Thou dost thyself need providence to see
Thy roll and ruin from the top of doom.
Prometheus (alone). O holy Æther, and swift
winged Winds.

And River-wells, and laughter innumerous
Of yon sea-waves! Earth, mother of us all,
And all-viewing cyclic Sun, I cry on you,-
Behold me a god, what I endure from gods!
Behold, with throe on throe,
How, wasted by this woe,

I wrestle down the myriad years of time!
Behold, how fast around me,

The new King of the happy ones sublime

Has flung the chain he forged, has shamed and bound me!

Woe, woe! to-day's woe and the coming mor


I cover with one groan. And where is found me A limit to these sorrows?

And yet what word do I say? I have foreknown
Clearly all things that should be; nothing done
Comes sudden to my soul-and I must bear
What is ordained with patience, being aware
Necessity doth front the universe

With an invincible gesture. Yet this curse
Which strikes me now, I find it hard to brave
In silence or in speech. Because I gave

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