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. To whom on earth did I say it? Who and where is the man who heard me say it and will be your witness?
  1. To many of our own citizens you said it. In the public gathering of Trachinians a great crowd heard this much, at least, from you.
  1. Sure,
  2. they said they heard. But it does not amount to the same thing to tell one’s fancy and to give an accurate report.
  1. What do you mean, fancy! Did you not speak on your oath when you said that you were bringing her as a bride for Heracles?
  1. I? Bringing a bride? In the name of the gods, dear
  2. mistress, tell me who on earth this stranger is?
  1. I am a man who heard from your own lips that the conquest of the whole city was due to desire for this girl and that the Lydian woman did not destroy it, but the passion which arose for the girl.
  1. Lady, send this creature away.
  2. To babble with the insane is not the mark of a sensible man.
  1. No, I implore you by Zeus whose strikes lightning down along the high glens of Oeta, do not rob me of a true report! Your words will not fall on the ears of a cruel woman, nor has she yet to learn the fate of humanity,
  2. how by our nature we are often inconstant in our pleasures. He does not use good sense, then, who like a boxer opposes the blows of Eros. For Eros rules the gods as he pleases, and he rules me as well—that is certain. Why not another woman, just like me?
  3. And so I am crazed indeed, if I blame my husband because that disease has seized him or because he was seized by this woman, his partner in a thing which is no shame to them, and no wrong to me. Impossible! If it was from him that you learned
  4. to lie, it was not a noble lesson. But if you are your own teacher in this, you will be seen as cruel when it is your wish to prove kind. No, tell me the whole truth, since to a free-born man the name of liar attaches like an ugly stain.
  5. If your hope is to escape detection, that cannot come to pass: many are those whom you told and who will inform me. And if you are afraid, your fear is mistaken, since it is not learning the truth that would pain me. But to know it, what is terrible in that? Has
  6. Heracles not all by himself already mated with a multitude of other women? And never yet has one of them come away with a harsh word or reproach from me, nor shall this girl, even if she should melt in her passion. Indeed, I felt a profound pity when I saw her because
  7. her beauty has destroyed her life, and she, unfortunate one, has against her will devastated her fatherland and enslaved it. Well, those things must go with the wind. But as for you, I tell you, be dishonest to others, but always speak the truth to me.
  1. Obey her good and kind advice, and hereafter you will neither have cause to complain of this lady, nor lack my thanks.
  1. Indeed, then, dear mistress. Since I see that you think as mortals should think and not without good judgment, I will tell you the whole truth, and not hide it.
  2. Yes, it is just as this one says. That terrible longing for the girl long ago shot through Heracles, and for her sake the desolate Oechalia, her father’s land, was leveled by his spear. But he—I must say what is in his favor—