Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Three Black Robes

from Binding Song of the Eumenides
By Aeschylus

I have chosen overthrow
of houses, where the Battlegod
grown within strikes near and dear
down. So we swoop upon this man
here. He is strong, but we wear him down
for the blood that is still wet on him.

Men's illusions in their pride under the sky melt
down, and are diminished into the ground, gone
before the onset of our black robes, pulsing
of our vindictive feet against them.

For with a long leap from high
above and dead drop of weight
I bring foot's force crashing down
to cut the legs from under even
the runner, and spill him to ruin.

....All holds. For we are strong and skilled;
we have authority; we hold
memory of evil; we are stern
nor can men's pleading bend us. We
drive through our duties, spurned, outcast
from gods...

primeval yet is mine, nor am I without place
though it be underneath the ground
and in no sunlight and in gloom that I must stand.

--Translated by Richmond Lattimore