This is the third scene of Alcestis, also an early draft. Scene One is here and Scene Two is here. The meter is rather more unruly here; part of it is just the draft stage, but it's also a death scene. This is a tricky scene; and will probably need more revision than the previous ones.
Alcestis and Admetus
The sun is shining bring, and zephyr's breath
Has kissed this so-green grass with joy -
Speak not of joy. The sun? The god,
The god of sybils rules the sun, and I,
Am I so hated by the sun-god's heart
That he will trade your life for mine?
It was the bargain; you in fear were caught,
In search of some fair savior; your fear I knew
And as you are more precious to me than life,
I took this blessing feely on myself -
If this be blessing, may we never know a curse.
Alcestis, ill the gods of done you, ill -
A coward spouse, a death outside your time -
It is no cowardice for man to fear his death;
It is a blessing knowing you have life;
It is a blessing to know such gentle end,
The sun so warm in shine, the breeze so cool,
The scent of grass that floats about on breezes,
The piety of the gods still running through my heart,
Beyond real fear of death, although my heart still fears -
For piety has more might than death. And so does love.
Were it so, my love! But I have no consolation
In knowing you will die, I left alone,
Our children motherless, all for your exchange,
You trade of healthy, blessed age for mine;
And I through terror will now see my gray,
Because in fear I struck you down in youth.
Pious love, my love, is pure and strong,
Caring not for age nor expectation,
Standing ever firm within the flow,
The stable, standing heart, axle for the wheel,
The center of the world, the unmoved point
That turns but is not turned amidst it all;
It is the northern axle-star of heaven,
The one sure guide that turns the mighty dome.
It is true peace. I beg of you, my glory,
To hold it in your heart, or yet if not,
To hold within your heart my own,
And mingle it in every act and word
As wife and man, you and me, are mingled,
Each standing for the other, as is fit;
So if you have no peace, exchange your grief,
At least some drop, for my tranquil heart.
I have cast you to the pit; you gave your life for me,
And now in death's dark hour you give your heart -
You cast me to no deeps; but now the time draws near,
I beg you not to cast me to despair.
One moment, and I am reckoned with the dead;
Let that instant be all love, and without fear -
Most blessed of all women, most fair, most good,
Most true, most chaste, most holy and most wise,
Finest of all mothers, wisest of all wives -
I swear my love will stand; you cannot be replaced,
You who, replacing me, have made me now to live -
The sun is now dark and fatal breath
Has kissed this fading grass with death!