Euripides’ Pelus (E.39)

Peleus son of Aeacus twice shed kindred blood
after the second, involuntary killing
he took refuge with Acastus the king of Iolcus in Thessaly
and was purified by him.

Acastus’ wife tried to seduce him,
was repulsed,
and accused him falsely of seduction to Acastus.

To punish Peleus,
Acastus did not execute the man he had purified,
but took him hunting on Mt. Pelion
contrived to leave him there unarmed at night
in danger from wild beasts
but he was rescued by the centaurs under Chiron.

Peleus’ virtuous rejection of Acastus’ wife eventually won him,
with Chiron’s help,
marriage to the sea goddess Thetis,
they became the parents of Achilles.

The Fragments…

Men have no such darkness,
no house in the earth shut fast,
where the base man might hide his nature
be wise.

***

PELEUS
Without god,
no man has good fortune,
and none is diminished.
I myself dismiss those eager ventures of men that lack the gods’ aid.

***

I judge prosperity
as nothing whatever to men’s advantage;
a god wipes it away
more easily than a painting!

***

Old age, my son,
is wiser, and safer, than younger heads,
and experience overcomes inexperience.

***

MESSENGER
…but what followed,
I could no longer recount without weeping.

***

I am present;
but you did not perceive my presence.

Jackson Pollock, Untitled (copied after Rubens' "The Wedding Feast pf Peleus and Thetis,"), ca. late 1937–39

Jackson Pollock, Untitled (copied after Rubens’ “The Wedding Feast pf Peleus and Thetis,”), ca. late 1937–39

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