Euripides. The Plays of Euripides, Translated into English Prose from the Text of Paley. Vol. I. Coleridge, Edward P., translator. London: George Bell and Sons, 1906.
Let no man ever deem a thing past hoping for, when he turns an eye towards what is happening now.
O Fortune! who ere now hast changed the lot of countless mortals first to grief, and then to joy again, to what a goal my life had come,
even to staining my hands with a mother’s blood and enduring sufferings ill-deserved! Ah well! may we not learn these truths daily in all that the bright sun embraces? O mother, in thee have I made a happy discovery, and from my point of view there is no fault to find with my birth;
but what remains I fain would speak to thee apart. Come hither, for I would say a word in thine ear, and o’er these matters cast the veil of silence. Bethink thee, mother, carefully; didst thou make the fatal slip, that maidens will, as touching secret amours,
and then upon the god wouldst foist the blame, in thy anxiety to escape the shame of my birth asserting that Phoebus is my sire, albeit the god was not the parent.
Nay, by our queen of Victory, Athena, that fought by Zeus, in days gone by, high on his car against the earth-born giants I swear,
no mortal is thy father, my son, but King Loxias himself who brought thee up.
How then is it he gave his own child to another father, declaring that I was begotten of Xuthus?
Begotten he never said, but as a gift he doth bestow thee
his own son on him; for friend might give to friend even his own son to rule his house.
Mother mine, this thought disturbs my breast, as well it may, whether the god speaks truth or gives an idle oracle.
Hear, then, my son, the thought that hath occurred to me;
Loxias out of kindness is establishing thee in a noble family, for hadst thou been called the god’s son, thou hadst never inherited a father’s home and name. How couldst thou, when I strove to hide my marriage with him and would have slain thee privily?
But he for thy interest is handing thee over to another father.
Not thus lightly do I pursue the inquiry; nay, I will enter Apollo’s shrine and question him whether I am the child of a mortal sire or his own son. Ha! who is that hovering o’er the incense-smoking roof,
and showing to our gaze a heavenly face, bright as the sun? Let us fly, mother, that we see not sights divine, unless haply it is right we should.
Fly not! I am no foe ye seek to shun, but alike in Athens and this place your kindly friend.
’Tis I, Pallas, after whom your land is named, that am here, by Apollo sent in headlong haste; for he thought not fit to appear before you twain, lest his coming might provoke reproaches for the past; but me he sends to proclaim to you his words,
how that this is thy mother, and Apollo thy sire; while thyself he doth bestow, as seems him good, not indeed on him that begat thee, nay, but that he may bring thee to a house of high repute. For when this matter was brought to light, he devised a way of deliverance,
fearing that thou wouldst be slain by thy mother’s wiles and she by thine. Now it was King Apollo’s wish to keep this matter secret awhile, and then in Athens to acknowledge this lady as thy mother and thyself as the child of her and Phoebus. But to end the business and discharge his oracles for the god,