|Claws of Ericttho|
In a tissue duet, The Cabiri portrayed the most hated of monsters, the dread witch Erictho, the last of the Thessalian witches.
Deserted tombs her dwelling-place, from which, darling of hell,
She dragged the dead.
Never sun shed his pure light upon that haggard cheek
Pale with the pallor of the shades,
Nor looked upon those locks unkempt that crowned her brow.
In starless nights of tempest crept the hag
And with her breath poisoned the air else pure.
No prayer she breathed nor supplication to the gods for help.
Funeral pyres she loves to light
And snatch the incense from the flaming tomb.
The gods at her first utterance grant her prayer.
Those who lie within a stony cell
Untouched by fire, whose dried and mummified frames
No longer know corruption, limb by limb
Venting her rage, she tears the bloodless eyes
Drags from their cavities,
And with her hands collects the slimy gore which drips upon the limbs.
When rumor brought her name to Sextus,
In the depth of night, he took his way through fields deserted,
Seeking the hag and her asked thus:
“Thou, greatest ornament of Haemon’s daughters,
in whose power it lies or to reveal the fates,
or from its course to turn the future, be it mine to know
by thy sure utterance to what final end Fortune now guides the issue.
Bid my destiny,
Yield to thy power the dark and hidden end,
And let me fall foreknowing.”
And through the redoubled night,
A squalid veil swathing her pallid features,
Erichtho stole among unburied carcasses.
Fast fled the wolves,
As with creeping step she sought her prophet.
At length the witch picks out her victim with pierced throat agape
Fit for her purpose.
Accused by her fell rites, that shall restore the dead man’s life.
Then to her prayer.
First through his gaping bosom blood she pours,
Then his blood grew warm and liquid,
And with softening touch,
Till he throbbed once more the slow returning pulse
And every fibre trembled, as with death
Life was commingled.
Then, not limb by limb,
With toil and strain, but rising at a bound
Leaped from the earth erect the living man.
Fierce glared his eyes uncovered, and the life was dim,
And still upon his face remained the pallid hues
Of hardly parted death.
He spake the prophecy to Sextus,
His task performed,
He stands in mournful guise, with silent look
Asking for death again; yet could not die
With plenteous wood Erichtho builds the funeral pyre
To which the dead man comes…
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||(Claws of Ericttho)
"The gods at her first utterance grant her prayer, For things unlawful, lest they hear again Its fearful accents"
The most feared of witches through time, Ericttho was the last of the thesallian witches.
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