Act One: Scene 1 (Opening)
Would the Argo at the Simplegades' jaws
had never journeyed on to Colchis shores,
nor ever trees cut down from Pelion's glen
had made fit oars for heroes, those first men
who sought for Peleas the Golden Fleece.
For then Medea, on her wild caprice,
would not have travelled to Iolcus towers,
nor shown, for love of Jason, those fierce powers
that made the Peleas daughters parricides -
10. from which, in quiet Corinth here, she hides.
Once settled, though, she led a careful life,
was popular with all as Jason's wife.
She gave him sons and counsel and support
and he in turn behaved as husbands ought,
since lives that would be blessed and trouble free
need marriage partners bound in harmony.
Now everything's disrupted. Jason's spurned
his wife —
my mistress —
and their sons, upturned
all principles to take the daughter's hand
20. of Creon, ruler of this Corinth land.
Medea, furious and nothing loath
to raise up Gods, reviles that wedding oath.
She will not eat but wanders round in pain,
retires to weeping, has that grief sustain
a deadly fury at her husband's ways,
though to the ground she turns her vengeful gaze,
as deaf to friends as is the sea-bound stone
except to bend her snowy neck and groan
for father, country and ancestral house
30. she lost eloping here with her false spouse.
How bitterly she's come to understand
the sense in staying in one's native land.
She shows more hate for sons than any should,
and nurtures plans in which there's nothing good.
I know her ways, and that tempestuous heart
will not put up with her low husband's part.
She's much more likely to thrust home the sword
in her own vitals than live on ignored.
Or she will creep up when they sleep alone
40. to strike at Jason, or at Creon's throne,
and kill the princess and her family.
Much, much more she'll do, and no calamity
should make her challenger suppose he's won
before her dangerous enmity is done.
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