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PERSONS REPRESENTED.

STRENGTH.
FORCE*
VULCAN.
PROMETHEUS.
CHORUS OF NYMPHS, DAUGHTERS OF
OCEAN.
IO, DAUGHTER OF INACHUS.
MERCURY.

* Two gigantic fiends, in whose figures brute force seems personified. They were children of Styx by the giant Pallas. It was by way of reward for the promptitude with which their mother brought them to the support of Jupiter against the Titans, that she was made the great swearing-stock of Olympus. Cf. Hesiod. Theog. 400.

ARGUMENT..

“ The Chained Prometheus held a middle place between two others, the Fire-bringing and the Freed Prometheus, if we dare reckon the first, which without question was a satirical drama, as part of a trilogy. A considerable fragment of the Freed Prometheus has been preserved to us in the Latin translation of Attius.

“ The Chained Prometheus is the representation of constancy under suffering, and that the never-ending constancy of a god. Exiled to a naked rock on the shore of the encircling ocean, this drama still embraces the world, the Olympus of the gods, and the earth of mortals, all scarcely yet reposing in a secure state above the dread abyss of the dark Titanian powers. The idea of a self-devoting divinity has been mysteriously inculcated in many religions, as a confused foreboding of the true; here, however, it appears in a most alarming contrast with the consolations of Revelation. For Prometheus does not suffer on an understanding with the power by whom the world is governed, but he' atones for his disobedience; and that disobedience consists in nothing but the attempt to give perfection to the human race. It is thus an image of human nature itself; endowed with a miserable foresight and bound down to a narrow existence, without an ally and with nothing to oppose to the combined and inexorable powers of nature, but an unshaken will, and the consciousness of elevated claims. The other poems of the Greek tragedians are single tragedies ; but this may be called tragedy itself: its purest spirit is revealed with all the annihilating and overpowering influence of its first unmitigated austerity.

“ There is little external action in this piece : Prometheus merely suffers and resolves from the beginning to the end ; and his sufferings and resolutions are always the same. But the poet has contrived in a masterly manner to introduce variety and

progress into that which itself was determinately fixed, and given us a scale for the measurement of the matchless power of his sublime Titans in the objects by which he has surrounded them. We have first the silence of Prometheus while he is chained down under the harsh inspection of Strength and Force, whose threats serve only to excite a useless compassion in Vulcan, who carries them into execution; then his solitary complaints, the arrival of the tender Ocean Nymphs, whose kind but disheartening sympathy induces him to give vent to his feelings, to relate the causes of his fall, and to reveal the future, though with prudent reserve he reveals it only in part; the visit of the ancient Oceanus, a kindred god of the race of the Titans, who, under the pretext of a zealous attachment to his cause, advises him to submission towards Jupiter, and who is on that account dismissed with proud contempt; the introduction of the raving lo, driven about from place to place, the victim of the same tyranny from which Prometheus himself suffers ; his prophecy of the wanderings to which she is still doomed, and the fate which at last awaits her, connected in some degree with his own, as from her blood he is to receive a deliverer after the lapse of many ages; the appearance of Mercury as the messenger of the tyrant of the world, who with threats commands him to disclose the secret by which Jupiter may remain on his throne secure from the malice of fate; and lastly, the yawning of the earth before Prometheus has well declared his refusal, amidst thunder and lightning, storms and earthquake, by which he himself and the rock to which he was chained are swallowed up in the abyss of the nether world. The triumph of subjection was never celebrated in more glorious strains; and we have difficulty in conceiving how the poet in the Freed Prometheus could sustain himself on such an elevation.”_Vol. i. p.

112.

.

PROMETHEUS CHAINED.

STRENGTH, FORCE, VULCAN, PROMETHEUS.

STRENGTH.

We are come trulya to the remote plain of earth, into the Scythian tract", an unpeopled desert. And, Vulcan, the mandates which thy sire imposed on thee, must be thy concerno;—that thou shouldst bind this guilty wretch to these lofty and precipitous rocks, in fetters of adamantine bonds which cannot be broken. For he filched and gave to mortals thy glory, the brilliancy of fire, mistress of all arts. For a trespass such as this he verily must needs make atonement to the gods; in order that he may be schooled to acquiesce in the sovereignty of Jupiter, and to break himself of his disposition to be tender to mankind.

a See Matthiæ's Gr. Gr. 5.504. 2.

Dr. Elmsley deemed the use of és by the tragic writers a poetic licence. It occurs only twenty times in the surviving dramas of Sophocles.

b For this construction see Matthiæ's Gr. Gr. §. 429. 4. Wellauer, after Erfurdt and Hermann, (see note on Soph. Ed. Tyr. 712.) defends äßarov, inaccessible ; and this is adopted by professor Scholefield. Porson's authority may be pleaded in behalf of Dr. Blomfield's reading. Cf. Maltby, v. äßporos.

c See Matthiæ's Gr. Gr. $. 326. obs. 2.

VULCAN.

Strength and Force, as far as you are concerned d the mandate of Jupiter has now its consummation, and nothing any longer remains [for you to do]. But I have no spirit to bind perforce a kindred god to this storm-beaten glen. Yet in every way it is necessary for me to assume resolution for this task; for a dreadful thing it is to slight the directions of the sire. High-minded son of Themis unerring in counsel, loath shall I rivet thee loath in indissoluble shackles to this desolate rock, where nor voice nor form of any one of mortals shalt thou seee; but slowly scorched by the bright blaze of the sun thou shalt lose the bloom of thy complexion ; and to thy heart's delight shall night in spangled vestveil the light; and the sun again disperse the hoar-frost of the morn; and evermore shall the burthen of the agony of thy present evil wear thee down : for he that shall deliver thee exists not in nature. Such a meed hast thou reaped from thy disposition to be tender to mankind. For thou, a god, not cowering under the wrath of the gods, hast imparted to mortals honours beyond what was right. In requital whereof thou art to be stationed on this joyless rock here before thee, in an erect position, sleepless, not suffered to sit: and many a bootless lament and groan shalt thou utter; for the heart of Jupiter is hard to be entreated; and every one that has newly acquired power is stern.

STRENGTH.-Go to. Why art thou delaying and ex

See Matthiæ's Gr. Gr. . 388.
e Shakspeare has gone beyond this :

He made me mad
To see him shine so brisk and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman.

First Part K. Henry IV. i. 3. Schutz refers to the representations of Night on gems, etc. This may

be seen in Sandby's Virgil, plate 25.

Compare the closing climax of the tremendous denunciations of the Israelitish legislator. Deuteronomy, xxviii. 67.

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