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Excerpt 3

[Once the stage is empty, CHORUS
leaves his seat in the auditorium,
dons his mask, walks to the stage
and again addresses the audience.]


Of all the fortuitous ornaments that surround us —
our children,
positions of honor,
a noble name,
a beautiful wife,
a multitude of friends —
Each is dependent on the uncertain and capricious whims of Chance and Fate.

We and our beloved possessions are no more than borrowed furniture.
Nothing has been given to us in perpetuity.
Our stage has been furnished with rented properties
to be promptly returned when suddenly recalled.
And when we hand these playthings back,
it should be done with grace and no complaint.
For no one has a guarantee of immortality — or even longevity.

Whatever gifts of Fortune we may relish,
we enjoy them by permission of the goddess from whom they came.
Let us then embrace the gaiety of our children,
and the company of our friends while we can,
And in return…
give them the pleasure of our society.

Drain every source of happiness while it lasts… without delay.
This night is not to be depended upon. No! That is too great an assumption.
This hour is not to be depended upon.
This fragile life must someday end.

Take heed!
We are pursued by those no longer living,
entreating us to join them.

[He removes his mask, and returns to
his seat in the audience.]