Story type: Literature
IN TWO SCENES.
SEMELE, Princess of Thebes.
SCENE–The Palace of Cadmus at Thebes.
JUNO. (Descending from her chariot, enveloped in a cloud.)
Away, ye peacocks, with my winged car!
Upon Cithaeron’s cloud-capped summit wait!
[The chariot and cloud vanish.
Hail, hail, thou house of my undying anger!
A fearful hail to thee, thou hostile roof,
Ye hated walls!–This, this, then, is the place
Where Jupiter pollutes his marriage-bed
Even before the face of modest day!
‘Tis here, then, that a woman, a frail mortal,
A dust-created being, dares to lure
The mighty Thunderer from out mine arms,
And hold him prisoner against her lips!
Juno! Juno! thought of madness!
Thou all lonely and in sadness,
Standest now on heaven’s bright throne!
Though the votive smoke ascendeth,
Though each knee in homage bendeth,
What are they when love has flown?
To humble, alas, each too-haughty emotion
That swelled my proud breast, from the foam of the ocean
Fair Venus arose, to enchant gods and men!
And the Fates my still deeper abasement decreeing,
Her offspring Hermione brought into being,
And the bliss once mine own can ne’er glad me again!
Amongst the gods do I not reign the queen?
Am I not sister of the Thunderer?
Am I not wife of Zeus, the lord of all?
Groans not the mighty axis of the heavens
At my command? Gleams not Olympus’ crown
Upon my head? Ha! now I feel myself!
In my immortal veins is Kronos’ blood,
Right royally now swells my godlike heart.
Shall she unpunished ridicule my might?
Unpunished, discord roll amongst the gods,
Inviting Eris to invade the courts,
The joyous courts of heaven? Vain, thoughtless one!
Perish, and learn upon the Stygian stream
The difference ‘twixt divine and earthly dust!
The giant-armor, may it weigh thee down–
Thy passion for a god to atoms crush thee!
Armed with revenge, as with a coat of mail,
I have descended from Olympus’ heights,
Devising sweet, ensnaring, flattering words;
But in those words, death and destruction lurk.
Hark! ’tis her footstep! she approaches now–
Approaches ruin and a certain death!
Veil thyself, goddess, in a mortal form! [Exit.
SEMELE. (Calling behind the scenes.)
The sun is fast declining! Maidens, haste,
Scatter ambrosial fragrance through the hall,
Strew roses and narcissus flowers around,
Forgetting not the gold-embroidered pillow.
He comes not yet–the sun is fast declining–
JUNO. (hastily entering in the form of an old woman.)
Praised be the deities, my dearest daughter!
Ha! Do I dream? Am I awake? Gods! Beroe!
Is’t possible that Semele can e’er
Forget her nurse?
SEMELE. ‘Tis Beroe! By Zeus!
Oh, let thy daughter clasp thee to her heart!
Thou livest still? What can have brought thee here
From Epidaurus? Tell me all thy tale!
Thou art my mother as of old?
JUNO. Thy mother!
Time was thou call’dst me so.
SEMELE. Thou art so still,
And wilt remain so, till I drink full deep
Of Lethe’s maddening draught.
JUNO. Soon Beroe
Will drink oblivion from the waves of Lethe;
But Cadmus’ daughter ne’er will taste that draught.
How, my good nurse? Thy language ne’er was wont
To be mysterious or of hidden meaning;
The spirit of gray hairs ’tis speaks in thee;
Thou sayest I ne’er shall taste of Lethe’s draught?
I said so, yes! But wherefore ridicule
Gray hairs? ‘Tis true that they, unlike fair tresses,
Have ne’er been able to ensnare a god!
Pardon poor thoughtless me! What cause have I
To ridicule gray hairs? Can I suppose
That mine forever fair will grace my neck?
But what was that I heard thee muttering
Between thy teeth? A god?
JUNO. Said I a god?
The deities in truth dwell everywhere!
‘Tis good for earth’s frail children to implore them.
The gods are found where thou art–Semele!
What wouldst thou ask?
SEMELE. Malicious heart! But say
What brings thee to this spot from Epidaurus?
‘Tis not because the gods delight to dwell
JUNO. By Jupiter, naught else!–
What fire was that which mounted to thy cheeks
When I pronounced the name of Jupiter?
Naught else, my daughter! Fearfully the plague
At Epidaurus rages; every blast
Is deadly poison, every breath destroys;
The son his mother burns, his bride the bridegroom;
The funeral piles rear up their flaming heads,
Converting even midnight to bright day,
While howls of anguish ceaseless rend the air;
Full to overflowing is the cup of woe!–
In anger, Zeus looks down on our poor nation;
In vain the victim’s blood is shed, in vain
Before the altar bows the priest his knee;
Deaf is his ear to all our supplications–
Therefore my sorrow-stricken country now
Has sent me here to Cadmus’ regal daughter,
In hopes that I may move her to avert
His anger from us–“Beroe, the nurse,
Has influence,” thus they said, “with Semele,
And Semele with Zeus”–I know no more,
And understand still less what means the saying,
That Semele such influence has with Zeus.
SEMELE. (Eagerly and thoughtlessly.)
The plague shall cease to-morrow! Tell them so
Zeus loves me! Say so! It shall cease to-day!
JUNO. (Starting up in astonishment.)
Ha! Is it true what fame with thousand tongues
Has spread abroad from Ida to Mount Haemus?
Zeus loves thee? Zeus salutes thee in the glory
Wherein the denizens of heaven regard him,
When in Saturnia’s arms he sinks to rest?
Let, O ye gods, my gray hairs now descend
To Orcus’ shades, for I have lived enough!
In godlike splendor Kronos’ mighty son
Comes down to her,–to her, who on this breast
Once suckled–yes! to her–
SEMELE. Oh, Beroe!
In youthful form he came, in lovelier guise
Than they who from Aurora’s lap arise;
Fairer than Hesper, breathing incense dim,–
In floods of ether steeped appeared each limb;
He moved with graceful and majestic motion,
Like silvery billows heaving o’er the ocean,
Or as Hyperion, whose bright shoulders ever
His bow and arrow bear, and clanging quiver;
His robe of light behind him gracefully
Danced in the breeze, his voice breathed melody,
Like crystal streams with silvery murmur falling,
More ravishing than Orpheus’ strains enthralling.
My daughter! Inspiration spurs thee on,
Raising thy heart to flights of Helicon!
If thus in strains of Delphic ecstasy
Ascends the short-lived blissful memory
Of his bright charms,–Oh, how divine must be
His own sweet voice,–his look how heavenly!
But why of that great attribute
Kronion joys in most, be mute,–
The majesty that hurls the thunder,
And tears the fleeting clouds asunder?
Wilt thou say naught of that alone?
Prometheus and Deucalion
May lend the fairest charms of love,
But none can wield the bolt save Jove!
The thunderbolt it is alone
Which he before thy feet laid down
That proves thy right to beauty’s crown.
What sayest thou? What are thunder-bolts to me?
Ah, Semele! A jest becomes thee well!
Deucalion has no offspring so divine
As is my Zeus–of thunder naught I know.
Mere envy! Fie!
SEMELE. No, Beroe! By Zeus!
SEMELE. By Zeus! by mine own Zeus!
JUNO. (Shrieking.) Thou swearest?
SEMELE. (In alarm.) What meanest thou, Beroe?
Repeat the word that dooms thee to become
the wretchedest of all on earth’s wide face!–
Alas, lost creature! ‘Twas not Zeus!
SEMELE. Not Zeus?
Oh, fearful thought!
JUNO. A cunning traitor ’twas
From Attica, who ‘neath a godlike form,
Robbed thee of honor, shame, and innocence!–
[SEMELE sinks to the ground.
Well mayest thou fall! Ne’er mayest thou rise again!
May endless night enshroud thine eyes in darkness,
May endless silence round thine ears encamp!
Remain forever here a lifeless mass!
Oh, infamy! Enough to hurl chaste day
Back into Hecate’s gloomy arms once more!
Ye gods! And is it thus that Beroe
Finds Cadmus’ daughter, after sixteen years
Of bitter separation! Full of joy
I came from Epidaurus; but with shame
To Epidaurus must retrace my steps.–
Despair I take with me. Alas, my people!
E’en to the second Deluge now the plague
May rage at will, may pile mount Oeta high
With corpses upon corpses, and may turn
All Greece into one mighty charnel-house,
Ere Semele can bend the angry gods.
I, thou, and Greece, and all, have been betrayed!
SEMELE. (Trembling as she rises, and extending an arm towards her.)
JUNO. Take courage, my dear heart!
Perchance ’tis Zeus! although it scarce can be!
Perchance ’tis really Zeus! This we must learn!
He must disclose himself to thee, or thou
Must fly his sight forever, and devote
The monster to the death-revenge of Thebes.
Look up, dear daughter–look upon the face
Of thine own Beroe, who looks on thee
With sympathizing eyes–my Semele,
Were it not well to try him?
SEMELE. No, by heaven!
I should not find him then–
JUNO. What! Wilt thou be
Perchance less wretched, if thou pinest on
In mournful doubt?–and if ’tis really he,–
SEMELE. (Hiding her face in Juno’s lap.)
Ah! ’tis not he!
JUNO. And if he came to thee
Arrayed in all the majesty wherein
Olympus sees him? Semele! What then?
Wouldst thou repent thee then of having tried him?
SEMELE. (Springing up.)
Ha! be it so! He must unveil himself!
Thou must not let him sink into thine arms.
Till he unveils himself–so hearken, child,
To what thy faithful nurse now counsels thee,–
To what affection whispers in mine ear,
And will accomplish!–Say! will he soon come?
Before Hyperion sinks in Thetis’ bed,
He promised to appear.
JUNO. (Forgetting herself hastily.) Is’t so, indeed?
He promised? Ha! To-day? (Recovering herself.) Let him approach,
And when he would attempt, inflamed with love,
To clasp his arms around thee, then do thou,–
Observe me well,–as if by lightning struck,
Start back in haste. Ha! picture his surprise!
Leave him not long in wonderment, my child;
Continue to repulse him with a look
As cold as ice–more wildly, with more ardor
He’ll press thee then–the coyness of the fair
Is but a dam, that for awhile keeps back
The torrent, only to increase the flood
With greater fury. Then begin to weep
‘Gainst giants he might stand,–look calmly on
When Typheus, hundred-armed, in fury hurled
Mount Ossa and Olympus ‘gainst his throne:
But Zeus is soon subdued by beauty’s tears.
Thou smilest?–Be it so! Is, then, the scholar
Wiser, perchance, than she who teaches her?–
Then thou must pray the god one little, little
Most innocent request to grant to thee–
One that may seal his love and godhead too.
He’ll swear by Styx. The Styx he must obey!
That oath he dares not break! Then speak these words:
“Thou shalt not touch this body, till thou comest
To Cadmus’ daughter clothed in all the might
Wherein thou art embraced by Kronos’ daughter!”
Be not thou terrified, my Semele,
If he, in order to escape thy wish,
As bugbears paints the horrors of his presence–
Describes the flames that round about him roar,
The thunder round him rolling when he comes:
These, Semele, are naught but empty fears–
The gods dislike to show to us frail mortals
These the most glorious of their attributes;
Be thou but obstinate in thy request,
And Juno’s self will gaze on thee with envy.
The frightful ox-eyed one! How often he
Complains, in the blest moments of our love,
Of her tormenting him with her black gall–
JUNO. (Aside, furiously, but with embarrassment.)
Ha! creature! Thou shalt die for this contempt!
My Beroe! What art thou murmuring there?
JUNO. (In confusion.)
Nothing, my Semele! Black gall torments
Me also–Yes! a sharp, reproachful look
With lovers often passes as black gall–
Yet ox-eyes, after all, are not so ugly.
Oh, Beroe, for shame! they’re quite the worst
That any head can possibly contain!
And then her cheeks of green and yellow hues,
The obvious penalty of poisonous envy–
Zeus oft complains to me that that same shrew
Each night torments him with her nauseous love,
And with her jealous whims,–enough, I’m sure,
Into Ixion’s wheel to turn all heaven.
JUNO. (Raving up and down in extreme confusion.)
No more of this!
SEMELE. What, Beroe! So angry?
Have I said more than what is true? Said more
Than what is wise?
JUNO. Thou hast said more, young woman,
Than what is true–said more than what is wise!
Deem thyself truly blest, if thy blue eyes
Smile thee not into Charon’s bark too soon!
Saturnia has her altars and her temples,
And wanders amongst mortals–that great goddess
Avenges naught so bitterly as scorn
Here let her wander, and give birth to scorn!
What is’t to me?–My Jupiter protects
My every hair,–what harm can Juno do?
But now, enough of this, my Beroe!
Zeus must appear to-day in all his glory;
And if Saturnia should on that account
Find out the path to Orcus–
JUNO. (Aside.) That same path
Another probably will find before her,
If but Kronion’s lightning hits the mark!–
Yes, Semele, she well may burst with envy
When Cadmus’ daughter, in the sight of Greece,
Ascends in triumph to Olympus’ heights!–
SEMELE. (Smiling gently.)
Thinkest thou they’ll hear in Greece of Cadmus’ daughter?
JUNO. From Sidon to Athens the trumpet of fame
Shall ring with no other but Semele’s name!
The gods from the heavens shall even descend,
And before thee their knees in deep homage shall bend,
While mortals in silent submission abide
The will of the giant-destroyer’s loved bride;
And when distant years shall see
Thy last hour–
SEMELE. (Springing up, and falling on her neck.)
JUNO. Then a tablet white shall bear
This inscription graven there:
Here is worshipped Semele!
Who on earth so fair as she?
She who from Olympus’ throne
Lured the thunder-hurler down!
She who, with her kisses sweet,
Laid him prostrate at her feet!
And when fame on her thousand wings bears it around,
The echo from valley and hill shall resound.
SEMELE. (Beside herself.)
Pythia! Apollo! Hear!
When, oh when will he appear?
JUNO. And on smoking altars they
Rites divine to thee shall pay–
I will harken to their prayer,
And will drive away their care,–
Quench with my tears the lightning of great Jove,
His breast to pity with entreaty move!
Poor thing! that wilt thou ne’er have power to do. (Meditating.)
Ere long will melt . . . yet–yet–she called me ugly!–
No pity only when in Tartarus!
Fly now, my love! Make haste to leave this spot,
That Zeus may not observe thee–Let him wait
Long for thy coming, that he with more fire
May languish for thee–
SEMELE. Beroe! The heavens
Have chosen thee their mouthpiece! Happy I!
The gods from Olympus shall even descend,
And before me their knees in deep homage shall bend,
While mortals in silent submission abide–
But hold!–’tis time for me to haste away!
JUNO. (Looking after her with exultation.)
Weak, proud, and easily-deluded woman!
His tender looks shall be consuming fire–
His kiss, annihilation–his embrace,
A raging tempest to thee! Human frames
Are powerless to endure the dreaded presence
Of him who wields the thunderbolt on high!
(With raving ecstasy.)
Ha! when her waxen mortal body melts
Within the arms of him, the fire-distilling,
As melts the fleecy snow before the heat
Of the bright sun–and when the perjured one
In place of his soft tender bride, embraces
A form of terror–with what ecstasy
Shall I gaze downwards from Cithaeron’s height,
Exclaiming, so that in his hand the bolt
Shall quake: “For shame, Saturnius! Fie, for shame!
What need is there for thee to clasp so roughly?”
The Hall as before.–Sudden brightness.
ZEUS in the shape of a youth.–MERCURY in the distance.
Thou son of Maia!
MERCURY. (Kneeling, with his head bowed reverentially.)
ZEUS. Up! Hasten! Turn
Thy pinions’ flight toward far Scamander’s bank!
A shepherd there is weeping o’er the grave
Of his loved shepherdess. No one shall weep
When Zeus is loving: Call the dead to life!
Let but thy head a nod almighty give,
And in an instant I am there,–am back
In the same instant–
ZEUS. Stay! As I o’er Argos
Was flying, from my temples curling rose
The sacrificial smoke: it gave me joy
That thus the people worship me–so fly
To Ceres, to my sister,–thus speaks Zeus:
“Ten-thousandfold for fifty years to come
Let her reward the Argive husbandmen!”–
With trembling haste I execute thy wrath,–
With joyous speed thy messages of grace,
Father of all! For to the deities
‘Tis bliss to make man happy; to destroy him
Is anguish to the gods. Thy will be done!
Where shall I pour into thine ears their thanks,–
Below in dust, or at thy throne on high?
Here at my throne on earth–within the palace,
Of Semele! Away! [Exit Mercury.
Does she not come,
As is her wont, Olympus’ mighty king
To clasp against her rapture-swelling breast?
Why hastens not my Semele to meet me?
A vacant, deathlike, fearful silence reigns
On every side around the lonely palace,
So wont to ring with wild bacchantic shouts–
No breath is stirring–on Cithaeron’s height
Exulting Juno stands. Will Semele
Never again make haste to meet her Zeus?
(A pause, after which he continues.)
Ha! Can yon impious one perchance have dared
To set her foot in my love’s sanctuary?–
Saturnia–Mount Cithaeron–her rejoicings
Fearful foreboding!–Semele–yet peace!–
Take courage!–I’m thy Zeus! the scattered heavens
Shall learn, my Semele, that I’m thy Zeus!
Where is the breath of air that dares presume
Roughly to blow on her whom Zeus calls His?
I scoff at all her malice.–Where art thou,
O Semele? I long have pined to rest
My world-tormented head upon thy breast,–
To lull my wearied senses to repose
From the wild storm of earthly joys and woes,–
To dream away the emblems of my might,
My reins, my tiller, and my chariot bright,
And live for naught beyond the joys of love!
Oh heavenly inspiration, that can move
Even the Gods divine! What is the blood
Of mighty Uranus–what all the flood
Of nectar and ambrosia–what the throne
Of high Olympus–what the power I own,
The golden sceptre of the starry skies–
What the omnipotence that never dies,
What might eternal, immortality–
What e’en a god, oh love, if reft of thee?
The shepherd who, beside the murmuring brooks,
Leans on his true love’s breast, nor cares to look
After his straying lambs, in that sweet hour
Envies me not my thunderbolt of power!
She comes–she hastens nigh! Pearl of my works,
Woman! the artist who created thee
Should be adored. ‘Twas I–myself I worship
Zeus worships Zeus, for Zeus created thee.
Ha! Who will now, in all the being-realm,
Condemn me? How unseen, yes, how despised
Dwindle away my worlds, my constellations
So ray-diffusing, all my dancing systems,
What wise men call the music of my spheres!–
How dead are all when weighed against a soul!
(Semele approaches, without looking up.)
My pride! my throne on earth! Oh Semele!
(He rushes towards her; she seeks to fly.)
Thou flyest?–art mute?–Ha! Semele! thou flyest?
SEMELE. (Repulsing him.)
ZEUS. (After a pause of astonishment.)
Is Jupiter asleep? Will Nature
Rush to her fall?–Can Semele speak thus?
What, not an answer? Eagerly mine arms
Toward thee are stretched–my bosom never throbbed
Responsive to Agenor’s daughter,–never
Throbbed against Leda’s breast,–my lips ne’er burned
For the sweet kiss of prisoned Danae,
SEMELE. Peace, traitor! Peace!
ZEUS. (With displeasure, but tenderly.) My Semele!
Out of my sight!
ZEUS. (Looking at her with majesty.)
Know, I am Zeus!
SEMELE. Thou Zeus?
Tremble, Salmoneus, for he fearfully
Will soon demand again the stolen charms
That thou hast robbed him of–thou art not Zeus!
ZEUS. (With dignity.)
The mighty universe around me whirls,
And calls me so–
SEMELE. Ha! Fearful blasphemy!
ZEUS. (More gently.)
How, my divine one? Wherefore such a tone?
What reptile dares to steal thine heart from me?
My heart was vowed to him whose ape thou art!
Men ofttimes come beneath a godlike form
To snare a woman. Hence! thou art not Zeus!
Thou doubtest? What! Can Semele still doubt
Would that thou wert Zeus! No son
Of morrow-nothingness shall touch this mouth;
This heart is vowed to Zeus! Would thou wert he!
ZEUS. Thou weepest? Zeus is here,–weeps Semele?
(Falling down before her.)
Speak! But command! and then shall slavish nature
Lie trembling at the feet of Cadmus’ daughter!
Command! and streams shall instantly make halt–
And Helicon, and Caucasus, and Cynthus,
And Athos, Mycale, and Rhodope, and Pindus,
Shall burst their bonds when I order it so,
And kiss the valleys and plains below,
And dance in the breeze like flakes of snow.
Command! and the winds from the east and the north,
And the fierce tornado shall sally forth,
While Poseidon’s trident their power shall own,
When they shake to its base his watery throne;
The billows in angry fury shall rise,
And every sea-mark and dam despise;
The lightning shall gleam through the firmament black
While the poles of earth and of heaven shall crack,
The ocean the heights of Olympus explore,
From thousandfold jaws with wild deafening roar
The thunder shall howl, while with mad jubilee
The hurricane fierce sings in triumph to thee.
SEMELE, I’m but a woman, a frail woman
How can the potter bend before his pot?
How can the artist kneel before his statue?
Pygmalion bowed before his masterpiece–
And Zeus now worships his own Semele!
SEMELE. (Weeping bitterly.)
Arise–arise! Alas for us poor maidens!
Zeus has my heart, gods only can I love,
The gods deride me, Zeus despises me!
ZEUS. Zeus who is now before thy feet–
Zeus reigns on high, above the thunderbolts,
And, clasped in Juno’s arms, a reptile scorns.
Ha! Semele and Juno!–which the reptile!
How blessed beyond all utterance would be
Cadmus’ daughter–wert thou Zeus! Alas!
Thou art not Zeus!
ZEUS. (Arises.) I am!
(He extends his hand, and a rainbow fills the hall; music
accompanies its appearance.)
Knowest thou me now?
Strong is that mortal’s arm whom gods protect,–
Saturnius loves thee–none can I e’er love
ZEUS. What! art thou doubting still
Whether my might is lent me by the gods
And not god-born? The gods, my Semele,
In charity oft lend their strength to man;
Ne’er do the deities their terrors lend–
Death and destruction is the godhead’s seal–
Bearer of death to thee were Zeus unveiled!
(He extends his hand. Thunder, fire, smoke, and earthquake.
Music accompanies the spell here and subsequently.)
Withdraw, withdraw thy hand!–Oh, mercy, mercy,
For the poor nation! Yes, thou art the child
Of great Saturnius–
ZEUS. Ha! thou thoughtless one!
Shall Zeus, to please a woman’s stubbornness,
Bid planets whirl, and bid the suns stand still?
Zeus will do so!–oft has a god’s descendant
Ripped up the fire-impregnate womb of rocks,
And yet his might’s confined to Tellus’ bounds
Zeus only can do this!
(He extends his hand–the sun vanishes, and it becomes
SEMELE. (Falling down before him.)
Couldst thou but love! [Day reappears.
ZEUS. Ha! Cadmus’ daughter asks
Kronion if Kronion e’er can love!
One word and he throws off divinity–
Is flesh and blood, and dies, and is beloved!
Would Zeus do that?
ZEUS. Speak, Semele! What more?
Apollo’s self confesses that ’tis bliss
To be a man ‘mongst men–a sign from thee,
And I’m a man!
SEMELE. (Falling on his neck.)
Oh Jupiter, the Epidaurus women
Thy Semele a foolish maiden call,
Because, though by the Thunderer beloved,
She can obtain naught from him–
ZEUS. (Eagerly.) They shall blush,
Those Epidaurus women! Ask!–but ask!
And by the dreaded Styx–whose boundless might
Binds e’en the gods like slaves–if Zeus deny thee,
Then shall the gods, e’en in that self-same moment,
Hurl me despairing to annihilation!
SEMELE. (Springing up joyfully.)
By this I know that thou’rt my Jupiter!
Thou swearest–and the Styx has heard thine oath!
Let me embrace thee, then, in the same guise
ZEUS. (Shrieking with alarm.)
Unhappy one! Oh stay! oh stay!
ZEUS. (Attempting to stop her mouth.)
Be thou dumb!
SEMELE. Embraces thee.
ZEUS. (Pale, and turning away.)
Too late! The sound escaped!–The Styx!–‘Tis death
Thou, Semele, hast gained!
SEMELE. Ha! Loves Zeus thus?
All heaven I would have given, had I only
Loved thee but less! (Gazing at her with cold
horror.) Thou’rt lost–
SEMELE. Oh, Jupiter!
ZEUS. (Speaking furiously to himself,)
Ah! Now I mark thine exultation, Juno!
Accursed jealousy! This rose must die!
Too fair–alas! too sweet for Acheron!
Methinks thou’rt niggard of thy majesty!
Accursed be my majesty, that now
Has blinded thee! Accursed be my greatness,
That must destroy thee! Cursed be I myself
For having built my bliss on crumbling dust!
These are but empty terrors, Zeus! In truth
I do not dread thy threats!
ZEUS. Deluded child!
Go! take a last farewell forever more
Of all thy friends beloved–naught, naught has power
To save thee, Semele! I am thy Zeus!
Yet that no more–Go–
SEMELE. Jealous one! the Styx!–
Think not that thou’lt be able to escape me. [Exit.]
No! Juno shall not triumph.–She shall tremble–
Aye, and by virtue of the deadly might
That makes the earth and makes the heavens my footstool,
Upon the sharpest rock in Thracia’s land
With adamantine chains I’ll bind her fast.
But, oh, this oath–
[Mercury appears in the distance.
What means thy hasty flight?
I bring the fiery, winged, and weeping thanks
Of those whom thou hast blessed–
ZEUS. Again destroy them!
MERCURY. (In amazement.)
ZEUS. None shall now be blessed! She dies–
[The curtain falls.]