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.
- I will speak. She is just now dead, a new murder.
- By whose hand? Your sinister words give a prophecy of wonder!
- She did it by her own hand, and no other’s.
- Ah, no! Before she died by mine as she deserved!
- Even your rage would be deflected, if you would learn the whole of it.
- Your tale begins strangely, but tell me what you mean.
- The sum is this: she did wrong, but with a good intent.
- Did she do a good deed, corrupt traitor, when she killed your father?
- No, her plan was to apply a love-charm for your heart, when she saw your new marriage inside the house, but she missed her aim.
- And what Trachinian is so potent a charmer?
- Nessus the Centaur persuaded her long ago to inflame your desire with such a potion.
- Ah! Ah, misery! I am lost, ruined, ruined! The light of day exists for me no more!
- Ah, now I understand the depth of my misfortune! Go, my son! Your father is no more. Summon for me all the crop of your brothers. Summon, too, poor Alcmena, in vain the bedfellow of Zeus, so that
- you may hear my final words tell what oracles I know.
- I cannot. Your mother is not here. It happens that she keeps her home at Tiryns by the sea. Some of your children she has taken to raise with her there, and others, you will find, are dwelling in Thebes.
- But we who are with you, Father, will render at your command all service that is needed.
- Hear, then, your task. You have come to where you will reveal what sort of man you are, who are called my son. It was foreshown to me by my father far in the past that I would
- perish by no creature that had the breath of life, but by one already dead, a dweller with Hades. So this savage Centaur in death has killed me alive, just as the divine will had been foretold. And I will show you how
- later oracles tally with the first and testify to the old prophecy. I wrote them down for myself from the mouth of my father’s oak of many tongues in the grove of the Selli, who dwell on the hills and sleep on the ground. The tree said that, at the time which lives and now is,
- my release from the toils laid upon me would be accomplished. And I expected prosperous days, but the meaning, it seems, was only that I would die. For toil comes no more to the dead. Since, then, my son, those words are clearly finding their fulfillment,