Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose, Part 5 The Trachiniae; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1892.
- But now in my misery I have been found a woman, instead of the man I used to be.
- Come close, stand near your father and do examine the magnitude of the misfortune by which I suffer; for I will uncover my suffering. Look! See all of you this miserable body;
- see how wretched, how pitiable I am! Ah, misery! The ruinous spasm flames again; it shoots through my sides—I must wrestle once more with that cruel, devouring plague!
- King Hades, receive me! Strike me, O fire of Zeus! Hurl down your thunderbolt, ruler, dash it, Father, upon my head! Again the pest consumes me, it has blazed up, it has leapt to fury! O hands, my hands,
- O shoulders and chest and trusty arms, you are indeed those noted arms which once subdued with your might the dweller in Nemea, the scourge of herdsmen, the lion, a creature that no man might approach or confront; you tamed the Lernaean Hydra,
- and that monstrous army of beasts with double form, hostile, going on hoofed feet, violent, lawless, of surpassing violence; you tamed the beast in Erymanthia, and underground the three-headed whelp of Hades, a resistless terror, offspring of the fierce Echidna; you tamed the dragon
- that guarded the golden fruit in the farthest places of the earth. These toils and thousands more have I tasted, and no man has ever erected a trophy of victory over my hands. But now, with joints unhinged and with flesh torn to shreds, I have become the miserable spoil of an unseen destroyer,
- —I, who am called the son of noblest mother, I, who am reputed the seed of Zeus, lord of the starry sky. But you may be sure of one thing: though I am nothing, though I cannot move a step, yet she who has done this deed shall feel my heavy hand even so. Let her but come to me
- so that she may learn to proclaim this message to all the world, that in my death, as in my life, I punished the guilty!
- Ah, unhappy Greece, what mourning do I foresee for her, if she is cheated of this man!
- Father, since your pause permits an answer,
- hear me, diseased though you are; I will ask you for no more than is my due. Give yourself to me in a mood not as harsh as that to which your heart is now stung. Otherwise you cannot learn in what circumstances you wrongly wish to triumph and wrongly show resentment.
- Stop when you have said what it is you desire. In this pain of mine I understand none of your many riddles.
- I come to tell you of my mother—her present circumstances and how she erred unknowingly.
- You corrupt thing! Have you indeed mentioned her name again,
- the name, “Mother, Murderess of Father,” in my hearing?
- Yes, for her condition is such that my silence shames me.
- No, it does not shame you, when you consider her past crimes.
- You will not say so, at least in view of her deeds today.
- Speak—but take care that you not be found corrupt.