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.
Weeping and lamentation and the beginning of mourning I foresee, when my mistress shall see her lord blest with a son,
while she is childless and forlorn. What was this oracle thou didst vouchsafe, prophetic son of Latona? Whence came this boy, thy foster-child who lingers in thy temple? who was his mother?
I like not thy oracle; I fear there is some treachery. In terror I await the issue of this chance;
for strange are these tidings and strange it is that the god declares them to me. There is guile connected with this waif’s fortune. All must allow that.
Shall we, good friends, throw off disguise and tell our mistress this story about her husband in whom her all was centred and whose hopes, poor lady, she once shared? But now in misery is she plunged, while he enjoys the smiles of fortune;
to hoary eld she drifteth fast, while he, her lord, pays no regard to his loved ones,—the wretch, who came an alien to her house to share great wealth and failed to guard her fortunes! Perdition catch this traitor to my lady!
never may he succeed in offering to the gods upon their blazing altar a hallowed cake with flames that augur well! He shall know to his cost my regard
for my mistress. Now are sire and new-found son bent on the approaching feast.
Ho! ye peaks of Parnassus
that rear your rocky heads to heaven, where Bacchus with uplifted torch of blazing pine bounds nimbly amid his bacchanals, that range by night! Never to my city come this boy!
let him die and leave his young life as it dawns! For should our city fall on evil days, this bringing-in of strangers would supply it with a reason. Enough, enough for us Erechtheus’ line that erst held sway!
Aged retainer of my father Erechtheus while yet he lived and saw the light of day, mount to the god’s prophetic shrine that thou mayst share my gladness, if haply Loxias, great king, vouchsafe an answer touching my hopes of offspring;
for sweet it is to share with friends prosperity, and sweet likewise to see a friendly face if any ill betide,—which God forbid! As thou of yore didst tend my sire, so now, thy mistress though I am, I take his place in tending thee.
Daughter, thy manners bear good witness still to thy noble lineage; thou hast never brought shame upon those ancestors of thine, the children of the soil. A hand, I prithee, to the shrine! a hand to lean upon!’Tis a steep path thither, truly;
but lend thy aid to guide my steps and make me young again.
Come follow then, and look where thou art treading.
Behold! though my steps loiter, my thoughts take wings.
Lean on thy staff as thou climbest this winding path.
Even this staff is a blind guide when I myself can scarcely see.