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.

  1. her lord is gone, with furtive step, into the hallowed tent, there to offer on this child’s behalf such gifts and victims as are offered for a birth, and with his new-found son to celebrate the feast.
Old Servant
  1. Mistress mine, we are betrayed by thy husband, fellow-sufferers thou and I; ’tis a deep-laid plot to outrage us
  2. and drive us from Erechtheus’ halls. And this I say not from any hatred of thy lord but because I bear thee more love than him; for he, after coming as a stranger to thy city and thy home, and wedding thee, and of thy heritage taking full possession,
  3. has been detected in a secret marriage with another woman, by whom he hath children. His secret will I now disclose; when he found thee barren, he was not content to share with thee thy hard
    lot, but took to himself a slave to be his stealthy paramour
  4. and thus begat a son, whom he sent abroad, giving him to some Delphian maid to nurse; and, to escape detection, the child was dedicated to the god and reared in his temple. But when he heard his boy was grown to manhood, he persuaded thee to come hither to inquire about thy childless state.
  5. And after this, ’twas not the god that lied, but thy husband, who long had been rearing the child, and he it was that wove this tissue of falsehood, intending, if he were detected, to refer it to the god, whereas if he escaped exposure, to repel all odium, he meant to vest the sovereignty in this son of his.
  6. Likewise he devised anew his name, coined to suit the circumstances, Ion, because, as he asserts, he met him on his way.
  1. Ah! how I ever hate the wicked
  2. who plot unrighteousness and then cunningly trick it out. Far rather would I have a virtuous friend of no great intellect than a knave of subtler wit.
Old Servant
  1. Of all thy wretched fate this will be the crowning sorrow, the bringing to thy house to be its lord some slave-girl’s child, whose mother is unknown, himself of no account. For this evil had been to itself confined,
  2. had he persuaded thee, pleading thy childlessness, to let him establish in the house some high-born mother’s son; or if this had displeased thee, he ought to have sought a daughter of Aeolus in marriage. Wherefore must thou now put thy woman’s wit to work; either take the dagger, or by guile
  3. or
    poison slay thy husband and his son, ere they deal out death to thee; since if thou spare him, thou wilt lose thy own life; for when two foes meet beneath one roof, one or the other must rue it.
  4. Myself too am ready to share this labour with thee, and to help destroy the child when I have made my way into the chamber where he is furnishing the feast, and so repaying my masters for my maintenance I am willing either to die or still behold the light of life. ’Tis but a single thing that brands the slave with shame—
  5. his name; in all else no upright slave is a whit worse than freeborn men.
  1. I too, beloved mistress, am ready to share thy fate, be it death or victory.
  1. Ah! my suffering soul! how am I to keep silence?
  2. Am I to disclose the secrets of my love and lose all claim to modesty? What is there to keep me back any longer? With whom have I to pit myself in virtue’s lists? Hath not my husband proved untrue?
  3. Home and children, both are torn from me; all hope is dead; I have not realized my wish to set the matter straight, by hushing up my former union and saying naught about my son of sorrow.
  4. No! by the starry seat of Zeus, by her whose home is on my rocks, and by the hallowed strand of Triton’s mere with brimming flood, I will no more conceal my love; for if
  5. I can lift that burden from my breast I shall rest easier. With tears my eyes are streaming and my heart is wrung with anguish for the treacherous counsels both of men and gods,—traitors they! as I will show,