SCENE I.ANTIOCHUS; JASON.O ANTIOCH, my Antioch, my city!
|Queen of the East! my solace, my delight!|
|The dowry of my sister Cleopatra|
|When she was wed to Ptolemy, and now|
|Won back and made more wonderful by me!|| 5|
|I love thee, and I long to be once more|
|Among the players and the dancing women|
|Within thy gates, and bathe in the Orontes,|
|Thy river and mine. O Jason, my High-Priest,|
|For I have made thee so, and thou art mine,|| 10|
|Hast thou seen Antioch the Beautiful?|
JASON.Never, my Lord.
ANTIOCHUS. Then hast thou never seen
|The wonder of the world. This city of David|
|Compared with Antioch is but a village,|
|And its inhabitants compared with Greeks|| 15|
|Are mannerless boors.|
JASON. They are barbarians,
ANTIOCHUS. They must be civilized.
|They must be made to have more gods than one;|
|And goddesses besides.|
JASON. They shall have more.
ANTIOCHUS.They must have hippodromes, and games, and baths,
|Stage-plays and festivals, and most of all|
JASON. They shall have them all.
ANTIOCHUS.By Heracles! but I should like to see
|These Hebrews crowned with ivy, and arrayed|
|In skins of fawns, with drums and flutes and thyrsi,|| 25|
|Revel and riot through the solemn streets|
|Of their old town. Ha, ha! It makes me merry|
|Only to think of it!Thou dost not laugh.|
JASON.Yea, I laugh inwardly.
ANTIOCHUS. The new Greek leaven
|Works slowly in this Israelitish dough!|| 30|
|Have I not sacked the Temple, and on the altar|
|Set up the statue of Olympian Zeus|
|To Hellenize it?|
JASON. Thou hast done all this.
ANTIOCHUS.As thou wast Joshua once and now art Jason,
|And from a Hebrew hast become a Greek,|| 35|
|So shall this Hebrew nation be translated,|
|Their very natures and their names be changed,|
|And all be Hellenized.|
JASON. It shall be done.
ANTIOCHUS.Their manners and their laws and way of living
|Shall all be Greek. They shall unlearn their language,|| 40|
|And learn the lovely speech of Antioch.|
|Where hast thou been to-day? Thou comest late.|
JASON.Playing at discus with the other priests
|In the Gymnasium.|
ANTIOCHUS. Thou hast done well.
|There s nothing better for you lazy priests|| 45|
|Than discus-playing with the common people.|
|Now tell me, Jason, what these Hebrews call me|
|When they converse together at their games.|
JASON.Antiochus Epiphanes, my Lord;
|Antiochus the Illustrious.|
ANTIOCHUS. Oh, not that;
|That is the public cry; I mean the name|
|They give me when they talk among themselves,|
|And think that no one listens; what is that?|
JASON.Antiochus Epimanes, my Lord!
ANTIOCHUS.Antiochus the Mad! Ay, that is it.
|And who hath said it? Who hath set in motion|
|That sorry jest?|
JASON. The Seven Sons insane
|Of a weird woman, like themselves insane.|
ANTIOCHUS.I like their courage, but it shall not save them.
|They shall be made to eat the flesh of swine|| 60|
|Or they shall die. Where are they?|
JASON. In the dungeons
|Beneath this tower.|
ANTIOCHUS. There let them stay and starve,
|Till I am ready to make Greeks of them,|
|After my fashion.|
JASON. They shall stay and starve.
|My Lord, the Ambassadors of Samaria|| 65|
|Await thy pleasure.|
ANTIOCHUS. Why not my displeasure?
|Ambassadors are tedious. They are men|
|Who work for their own ends, and not for mine|
|There is no furtherance in them. Let them go|
|To Apollonius, my governor|| 70|
|There in Samaria, and not trouble me.|
|What do they want?|
JASON. Only the royal sanction
|To give a name unto a nameless temple|
|Upon Mount Gerizim.|
ANTIOCHUS. Then bid them enter.
|This pleases me, and furthers my designs.|| 75|
|The occasion is auspicious. Bid them enter.|
|SCENE II.ANTIOCHUS; JASON; the SAMARITAN AMBASSADORS.|
ANTIOCHUS.Approach. Come forward; stand not at the door
|Wagging your long beards, but demean yourselves|
|As doth become Ambassadors. What seek ye?|
AN AMBASSADOR.An audience from the King.
ANTIOCHUS. Speak, and be brief.
|Waste not the time in useless rhetoric.|
|Words are not things.|
AMBASSADOR (reading). To King Antiochus,
|The God, Epiphanes; a Memorial|
|From the Sidonians, who live at Sichem.|
AMBASSADOR. Ay, my Lord.
ANTIOCHUS. Go on, go on!
|And do not tire thyself and me with bowing!|
AMBASSADOR (reading). We are a colony of Medes and Persians.
ANTIOCHUS.No, ye are Jews from one of the Ten Tribes;
|Whether Sidonians or Samaritans|
|Or Jews of Jewry, matters not to me;|| 90|
|Ye are all Israelites, ye are all Jews.|
|When the Jews prosper, ye claim kindred with them;|
|When the Jews suffer, ye are Medes and Persians;|
|I know that in the days of Alexander|
|Ye claimed exemption from the annual tribute|| 95|
|In the Sabbatic Year, because, ye said,|
|Your fields had not been planted in that year.|
AMBASSADOR (reading). Our fathers, upon certain frequent plagues,
|And following an ancient superstition,|
|Were long accustomed to observe that day|| 100|
|Which by the Israelites is called the Sabbath,|
|And in a temple on Mount Gerizim|
|Without a name, they offered sacrifice.|
|Now we, who are Sidonians, beseech thee,|
|Who art our benefactor and our savior,|| 105|
|Not to confound us with these wicked Jews,|
|But to give royal order and injunction|
|To Apollonius in Samaria,|
|Thy governor, and likewise to Nicanor,|
|Thy procurator, no more to molest us;|| 110|
|And let our nameless temple now be named|
|The Temple of Jupiter Hellenius.|
ANTIOCHUS.This shall be done. Full well it pleaseth me
|Ye are not Jews, or are no longer Jews,|
|But Greeks; if not by birth, yet Greeks by custom.|| 115|
|Your nameless temple shall receive the name|
|Of Jupiter Hellenius. Ye may go!|
|SCENE III.ANTIOCHUS; JASON.|
ANTIOCHUS.My task is easier than I dreamed. These people
|Meet me half-way. Jason, didst thou take note|
|How these Samaritans of Sichem said|| 120|
|They were not Jews? that they were Medes and Persians,|
|They were Sidonians, anything but Jews?|
|T is of good augury. The rest will follow|
|Till the whole land is Hellenized.|
JASON. My Lord,
|These are Samaritans. The tribe of Judah|| 125|
|Is of a different temper, and the task|
|Will be more difficult.|
ANTIOCHUS. Dost thou gainsay me?
JASON.I know the stubborn nature of the Jew.
|Yesterday, Eleazer, an old man,|
|Being fourscore years and ten, chose rather death|| 130|
|By torture than to eat the flesh of swine.|
ANTIOCHUS.The life is in the blood, and the whole nation
|Shall bleed to death, or it shall change its faith!|
JASON.Hundreds have fled already to the mountains
|Of Ephraim, where Judas Maccabæus|| 135|
|Hath raised the standard of revolt against thee.|
ANTIOCHUS.I will burn down their city, and will make it
|Waste as a wilderness. Its thoroughfares|
|Shall be but furrows in a field of ashes.|
|It shall be sown with salt as Sodom is!|| 140|
|This hundred and fifty-third Olympiad|
|Shall have a broad and blood-red seal upon it,|
|Stamped with the awful letters of my name,|
|Antiochus the God, Epiphanes!|
|Where are those Seven Sons?|
JASON. My Lord, they wait
|Thy royal pleasure.|
ANTIOCHUS. They shall wait no longer!