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NURSE I wish that the ship Argo had never flown Through the dark, Clashing rocks to the land of Colchis,
That in the forest glens of Mt. Pelion the pine Had never been cut for her, had never been made Into oars for the hands of excellent sailors who hunted 5
The Golden Fleece for Pelias. My lady,
Medea, would never have sailed to Iolkos’ towers,
Her spirit struck senseless with love of Jason.
She wouldn’t have persuaded Pelias’ daughters to kill Their father; she wouldn’t have settled here in Corinth, 10
With her husband and children. She tried to please The people to whose land she had come, an exile,
And for her part to fit in with Jason in everything.
This, to my mind, is a woman’s greatest safety:
Not to take the opposite side from her husband. 15
But now—everything’s hateful, her love is sick.
Jason betrayed his children and my mistress For the marriage-bed of a royal bride; he’s married The daughter of Creon, the ruler of the country.
And Medea – poor woman! – treated with dishonor, 20
Shouts “Where are the oaths? Your right hand given In trust?” She calls upon the gods to witness What kind of return she has received from Jason.
She doesn’t eat, surrenders to her sorrows;
Her life has been turned into a river of tears 25
Since realizing the wrong her husband does her;
She keeps her gaze fixed on the ground, never Looking up. She listens to friends’ advice No more than a rock or wave of the sea.
Oh, sometimes she’ll turn her white cheek away 30
To herself, and let out a wail for her dear father,
Her country, her home, which she betrayed to come With her husband, who has now so dishonored her.
She understands, poor woman, from what has happened How important it is not to leave one’s homeland. 35
She hates her children, does not enjoy seeing them.
I’m afraid she may be planning something rash.
Her mind is dangerous. She will not endure Mistreatment. I know this woman and fear her; 39
She’s a frightening woman: not easily will someone 44
Engage with her in hatred and win the prize. 45
(Medea’s two young sons rush in, accompanied by their “tutor,” or attendant slave.)
But here come the boys who have just finished Their running. They’re not thinking about their mother’s Troubles. For young minds aren’t used to suffering.