Trachiniae

Sophocles

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.

  1. That man Lichas spoke nothing of what he just told you in strict accordance with the truth. He was just now lying, or else he was dishonest in his earlier report.
Deianeira
  1. What do you say? Explain to me clearly all that you mean,
  2. for I cannot understand what you said.
Messenger
  1. I heard this man declare, before many witnesses, that it was for the sake of this girl that Heracles overthrew Eurytus and the high towers of Oechalia: Eros,
  2. alone of the gods, enchanted him into doing those deeds of arms, not the toilsome servitude to Omphale in Lydia, nor the death to which Iphitus was hurled. But now the herald has thrust Eros aside and tells a different tale. Well, when Heracles could not persuade him whose seed produced the child
  3. to give him the girl for his secret concubine, he devised some petty complaint as a pretext, and made war upon her fatherland, in which, as the herald said, that Eurytus ruled. He killed the king, her father, and
  4. sacked her city. And now, as you see, he makes his return, sending her to this house not without consideration, lady, and not as if she were to be a slave. No, do not expect that; it is not likely, if his heart has been kindled with desire. On this account, my Queen, I resolved to reveal to you all
  5. that I had heard from that man. Many others were listening to it, as I was, in the public place where the Trachinians were assembled, so they can convict him. If my words are unwelcome, I am grieved; but nevertheless I have spoken the truth.
Deianeira
  1. Ah, misery! What is happening to me? What secret plague have I welcomed beneath my roof? Ah, me! So, she was born without a name, as her escort swore?
Messenger
  1. No, illustrious by name, as by birth;
  2. she is the daughter of Eurytus, and was once called Iole. But he could say nothing of her birth, because, of course, he made no investigation.
Chorus
  1. May destruction seize not all wrongdoers—no, only the man who practices stealthy wrongdoing that is shameful to his rank!
Deianeira
  1. Ah, friends, what should I do? I am dumbstruck by this latest news!
Chorus
  1. Go and question Lichas, since he might tell the truth, if you were willing to compel him by threat of force to answer.
Deianeira
  1. I will go. Your advice does not lack good judgment.
Messenger
  1. And I, shall I wait here? Or what do you require?
Deianeira
  1. Stay here—since he is coming out from the house without my summons, but of his own accord.
Enter Lichas.
Lichas
  1. My lady, what message shall I bear to Heracles? Instruct me, for, as you see, I am going.
Deianeira
  1. How quickly you rush away, when your arrival had been so tardy—before we have even resumed our talk.
Lichas
  1. Well, if there is anything you must ask, I am at your service.