The Phoenician Women


Euripides. The Plays of Euripides, Translated into English Prose from the Text of Paley. Vol. II. Coleridge, Edward P., translator. London: George Bell and Sons, 1891.

  1. To Aetolia.
  1. And where must I go from there?
  1. To the land of Thesprotia.
  1. To Dodona’s holy threshold?
  1. You understand.
  1. What protection will I find there?
  1. The god will send you on your way.
  1. How shall I find the means?
  1. I will supply you with money.
  1. A good plan of yours, father. Go now; for I will come to your sister, Jocasta, at whose breast I was suckled when bereft of my mother, a lonely orphan, to give her greeting and then I will save my life.
  2. Come, come! be going; it isn’t your part to hinder me. Exit Creon.
  3. How cleverly, ladies, I banished my father’s fears by crafty words to gain my end; for he is trying to get me away, depriving the city of its chance and surrendering me to cowardice. Though an old man may be pardoned,
  4. yet in my case there is no pardon for betraying the country that gave me birth. Know this, I will go and save the city, and give my life up for this land. For it is shameful: those whom no oracles bind
  5. and who have not come under divine necessity, stand there, shoulder to shoulder, with no fear of death, and fight for their country before her towers; while I leave the land like a coward, a traitor to my father and brother and city;
  6. wherever I live, I shall seem base.
  7. No, by Zeus and all his stars, by Ares, god of blood, who established the Sown-men that sprung one day from earth as lords of this land! I will go, and standing on the topmost battlements,
  8. will sacrifice myself over the dragon’s deep, dark den, the spot the seer described, and will set my country free. I have spoken. Now I go to make the city a present of my life, no mean offering, to rid this kingdom of its affliction.
  9. For if each were to take and expend all the good within his power, contributing it to the common good of his country, our states would experience fewer troubles and would prosper for the future. Exit Menoeceus.
  1. You came, you came, O winged creature, born of earth
  2. and hellish viper, to prey upon the sons of Cadmus, full of death, full of sorrow, half a maiden, a murderous monster, with roving wings