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.
who are leaving you behind!
With trembling step, alas! I leave this tent of Agamemnon to learn of you, my royal mistress, whether the Argives have resolved to take my wretched life, or
whether the sailors at the prow are making ready to ply their oars.
My child, your wakeful heart!
I have come, stricken with terror. Has a herald from the Danaids already arrived?
To whom am I, poor captive, given as a slave?
You are not far from being allotted now.
Alas! What man of Argos or Phthia will bear me in sorrow far from Troy, to his home, or to some island fastness?
Ah! ah! Whose slave shall I become in my old age? in what land? a poor old drone, the wretched copy of a corpse, alas! set to keep the gate
or tend their children, I who once held royal rank in Troy.
Alas, alas! What piteous dirge will you devise to mourn the outrage done you? No more through Ida’s looms
shall I ply the shuttle to and fro. I look my last on my children’s bodies, my last; I shall endure surpassing misery, it may be as the unwilling bride of some Hellene (perish the night and fortune that brings me to this!);
it may be as a wretched slave from Peirene’s sacred fount I shall draw their store of water. Oh! may it be ours to come to Theseus’ famous realm, a land of joy.
Never, never let me see Eurotas’ swirling tide, hateful home of Helen, there to meet and be the slave of Menelaus, whose hand laid Troy waste!
That holy land by Peneus fed,
nestling in all its beauty at Olympus’ foot, is said, so have I heard, to be a very granary of wealth and teeming fruitfulness; next to the sacred soil of Theseus, I could wish to reach that land.
They tell me too Hephaestus’ home, beneath the shadow of Aetna, fronting Phoenicia, the mother of Sicilian hills, is famous for the crowns it gives to valor. Or may I find a home on that shore which lies very near
Ionia’s sea, a land watered by Crathis, lovely stream, that dyes the hair an auburn tint, feeding with its holy waves and making glad the home of heroes.
But see! a herald from the army of Danaids, with a store of fresh proclamations, comes hastening here. What is his errand? What does he say? For we are indeed slaves now to Dorian lords.
Hecuba, you know me from my many journeys to and fro as herald between the Achaean army and Troy; I was no stranger to you, lady, even before: I, Talthybius, now sent with a fresh message.