By: Aeschylus (c. 525/524-456/455 BC)
Whether or not it was actually written by Aeschylus, as is much disputed, "Prometheus Bound" is a powerful statement on behalf of free humanity in the face of what often seem like the impersonal, implacable Forces that rule the Universe. As one of the most compelling rebel manifestos ever composed, it has appealed not only to the expected host of scholars of Greek drama, but also to a fascinatingly free-spirited array of translators, especially since the early 19th century; Percy Bysshe Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (two very different versions), and activist-poet Augusta Webster are among those who have tried their poetic and linguistic powers at rendering it into English. The version recorded here was by Henry David Thoreau, who recommended in "Walden" reading Aeschylus in the bright early morning hours. Thoreau published this translation in Volume Three of the transcendentalist journal "The Dial" in 1843, when he was 26 years old.