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.
What woe must I suppress, or what declare? What plaintive dirge shall I awake? Ah, woe is me! the anguish I suffer lying here stretched upon this hard pallet!
O my head, my temples, my side! How I long to turn over, and lie now on this, now on that, to rest my back and spine, while ceaselessly my tearful wail ascends.
For even this is music to the wretched, to chant their cheerless dirge of sorrow.
You swift-prowed ships, rowed to sacred Ilium over the deep dark sea,
past the fair havens of Hellas, to the flute’s ill-omened music and the dulcet voice of pipes,
to the bays of Troy, alas! where you tied your hawsers, twisted handiwork from Egypt, in quest of that hateful wife of Menelaus, who brought disgrace on Castor, and on Eurotas foul reproach; who murdered
Priam, the father of fifty children; the cause why I, the unhappy Hecuba, have wrecked my life upon this disastrous strand. Oh that I should sit here, over against the tent of Agamemnon!
As a slave I am led away from my home, an old woman, while from my head the hair is piteously shorn for grief. Ah! unhappy wives of those armored sons of Troy! Ah! poor maidens, luckless brides,
come weep, for Ilium is now a smouldering ruin; and I, like some mother-bird that over her fledgelings screams, will begin the strain; not the same as that
I once sang to the gods, as I leaned on Priam’s staff and beat with my foot in Phrygian time to lead the dance!
O Hecuba! why these cries, these piercing shrieks? What do your words mean? For I heard your piteous wail
echo through the building, and a pang of terror shoots through each captive Trojan’s breast, as within these walls they mourn their slavish lot.
My child, even now at the ships of the Argives—
[*](This part of the line is assigned to Hecuba in the translation and has been moved to align with the Greek.)The rower’s hand is busy?
Ah, woe is me! what is their intent? Will they really carry me away from my country in their fleet?
I do not know, though I guess our doom.
woe to us Trojan women, soon to hear of our troubles: Come out of the house, the Argives are preparing to return.
Oh! please do not bid the
wild Cassandra leave her chamber, the frantic prophetess, for Argives to insult, nor to my griefs add yet another. Woe to you, ill-fated Troy, Troy, your sun is set; and woe to your unhappy children, living and dead alike,