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. That Zeus was never father of yours I boldly do assert, bane as you have been to many a Hellene and barbarian too. Destruction catch you! Those fair eyes of yours have brought a shameful ruin on the fields of glorious Troy. Take the child and bear him hence, hurl him down if you wish,
  2. then feast upon his flesh! It is the gods’ will we perish, and I cannot ward the deadly stroke from my child. Hide me and my misery; cast me into the ship’s hold; for it is to a fair wedding I am going, now that I have lost my child!
Chorus Leader
  1. Unhappy Troy! you have lost countless men for the sake of one woman and her hateful bed.
  1. Come, child, leave fond embracing of your woeful mother, and mount the high coronal of your ancestral towers,
  2. there to draw your parting breath, as is ordained. Take him away. His should the duty be to do such herald’s work, whose heart knows no pity and who loves ruthlessness more than my soul does. Exeunt Andromache and Talthybius with Astyanax.
  1. O child, son of my hapless boy, an unjust fate robs me and your mother of your life. How is it with me? What can I do for you, luckless one? For you I strike upon my head and beat my breast, my only gift;
  2. for that is in my power. Woe for my city! woe for you! What sorrow do we not have? What is wanting now to our utter and immediate ruin?
  1. O Telamon, King of Salamis, the feeding-ground of bees,
  2. who have your home in a seagirt isle that lies near the holy hills where first Athena made the grey olive branch to appear, a crown for heavenly heads and a glory to happy Athens, you came, you came in knightly brotherhood
  3. with that great archer, Alcmena’s son, to sack our city Ilium, in days gone by, on your advent from Hellas;
  1. When he led the chosen flower of Hellas, vexed
  2. for the steeds, [*](Heracles had destroyed a sea-monster for Laomedon on condition of receiving a gift of horses for his trouble, and, on Laomedon repudiating the promise, sacked Troy.) and at the fair stream of Simois he stayed his sea-borne ship and fastened cables to the stern, and forth from the ship he took the bow his hand could deftly shoot, to be the doom of Laomedon; and with the ruddy breath of fire
  3. he wasted the masonry squared by Phoebus’ line and chisel, and sacked the land of Troy; so twice in two attacks has the blood-stained spear destroyed Dardania’s walls.
  1. In vain, it seems, you Phrygian boy [*](Ganymede, a son of Tros.) pacing with dainty step among your golden chalices, do you fill high the cup of Zeus, a lovely service;
  2. the land of your birth is being consumed by fire. The shore re-echoes to our cries; and, as a bird bewails its young,
  3. so we bewail our husbands or our children, or our old mothers. The dew-fed springs where you bathed, the course where you trained,
  4. are now no more; but you beside the throne of Zeus are sitting with a calm, sweet smile upon your fair young face, while the spear of Hellas has destroyed the land of Priam.
  1. Ah! Love, Love, who once sought these Dardanian halls, deep-seated in the hearts of heavenly gods, how high you made Troy to tower in those days,
  2. allying her with deities! But I will cease to urge reproaches against Zeus; for white-winged dawn, whose light is dear to man,
  3. turned a baleful eye upon our land and watched the ruin of our citadel, though she had within her bridal bower a husband to give her children, [*](Referring to he union of Aurora and Tithonus) from this land,