The Trojan Women


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. Since you, my mother, are busied with tears and lamentations in your mourning for my father’s death and for our country dear, I at my own nuptials
  2. am making this torch to blaze and show its light, giving to you, O Hymen, giving, O Hecate, a light, at the maiden’s wedding, as the custom is.
  3. Nimbly lift the foot; lead the dance on high, with cries of joy, as if to greet my father’s happy fate. The dance is sacred. Come, Phoebus, now, for it is in your temple
  4. among your bay-trees that I minister. Hail Hymen, god of marriage! Hymen, hail! Dance, mother, and laugh! link your steps with me, and circle in the delightful measure, now here, now there.
  5. Salute the bride on her wedding-day with hymns and cries of joy. Come, you maids of Phrygia in fair raiment, sing my marriage
  6. with the husband fate ordains that I should wed.
Chorus Leader
  1. Hold the frantic maiden, royal mistress, lest with nimble foot she rush to the Argive army.
  1. You god of fire, it is yours to light the bridal torch for men, but piteous is the flame you kindle here,
  2. beyond my blackest expectation. Ah, my child! how little did I ever dream that such would be your marriage, a captive, and of Argos too! Give up the torch to me; you do not bear its blaze aright in your wild frantic course, nor have your afflictions left you in your sober senses,
  3. but still you are as frantic as before. Take in those torches, Trojan friends, and for her wedding madrigals weep your tears instead.
  1. O mother, crown my head with victor’s wreaths; rejoice in my royal match; lead me
  2. and if you find me unwilling at all, thrust me there by force; for if Loxias is indeed a prophet, Agamemnon, that famous king of the Achaeans, will find in me a bride more vexatious than Helen. For I will slay him and lay waste his home
  3. to avenge my father’s and my brothers’ death. But let that go; I will not tell of that axe which shall sever my neck and the necks of others, or of the conflict ending in a mother’s death, which my marriage shall cause, nor of the overthrow of Atreus’ house.
  4. But I, for all my frenzy, will so far rise above my frantic fit, that I will prove this city happier far than those Achaeans, who for the sake of one woman and one passion have lost a countless army in hunting Helen.
  5. Their captain too, whom men call wise, has lost for what he hated most what most he prized, yielding to his brother for a woman’s sake—and she was willing and not taken by force—the joy he had of his own children in his home. For from the day that they landed upon Scamander’s strand, their doom began,
  6. not for loss of stolen frontier nor yet for fatherland with high towers; whomever Ares took, those never saw their children again, nor were they shrouded for the tomb by hand of wife, but in a foreign land they lie. At home the case was still the same;
  7. wives were dying widows, parents were left childless in their homes, having reared their sons for others, and none is left to make libations of blood upon the ground before their tombs. Truly to such praise as this their army can make an ample claim. It is better to pass by their shame in silence, nor may mine be the Muse
  8. to tell that evil tale.
  9. But the Trojans were dying, first for their fatherland, fairest fame to win; whomever the sword took, all these found friends to bear their bodies home and were laid to rest in the embrace of their native land,
  10. their funeral rites all duly paid by duteous hands. And all such Phrygians as escaped the warrior’s death lived always day by day with wife and children by them, joys the Achaeans had left behind. As for Hector and his griefs, hear how the case stands;