Protesilaus. Pluto. Persephone
Pro. Lord, King, our Zeus! and thou, daughter of Demeter! Grant a lover's boon!
Pl. What do you want? who are you?
Pro. Protesilaus, son of Iphiclus, of Phylace, one of the Achaean host, the first that died at Troy. And the boon I ask is release and one day's life.
Pl. Ah, friend, that is the love that all these dead men love, and none shall ever win.
Pro. Nay, dread lord, ’tis not life I love, but the bride that I left new wedded in my chamber that day I sailed away--ah me, to be slain by Hector as my foot touched land! My lord, that yearning gives me no peace. I return content, if she might look on me but for an hour.
Pl. Did you miss your dose of Lethe, man?
Pro. Nay, lord; but this prevailed against it.
Pl. Oh, well, wait a little; she will come to you one day; it is so simple; no need for you to be going up.
Pro. My heart is sick with hope deferred; thou too, O Pluto, hast loved; thou knowest what love is.
Pl. What good will it do you to come to life for a day, and then renew your pains?
Pro. I think to win her to come with me, and bring two dead for one.
Pl. It may not be; it never has been.
Pro. Bethink thee, Pluto. 'Twas for this same cause that ye gave Orpheus his Eurydice; and Heracles had interest enough to be granted Alcestis; she was of my kin.
Pl. Would you like to present that bare ugly skull to your fair bride? will she admit you, when she cannot tell you from another man? I know well enough; she will be frightened and run from you, and you will have gone all that way for nothing.
Per. Husband, doctor that disease yourself: tell Hermes, as soon as Protesilaus reaches the light, to touch him with his wand, and make him young and fair as when he left the bridal chamber.
Pl. Well, I cannot refuse a lady. Hermes, take him up and turn him into a bridegroom. But mind, you sir, a strictly temporary one.