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.