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.
- in his arms for hire across the deep current of the Evenus, using no oar for conveyance, nor ship’s sail. He carried me, too, on his shoulders, when at my father’s sending, I first departed with Heracles as his wife. When I was in midstream,
- he touched me with lewd hands. I shrieked, and straightaway the son of Zeus turned round and with his hands shot a feathered arrow that whistled right through his chest to the lungs. As he passed away the monster spoke these few words: “Child of aged Oeneus,
- you will have this benefit from my ferrying, if you obey me, since you were the last whom I carried. If you gather with your hands the blood clotted round my wound, at the place where the Hydra, Lerna’s monstrous growth, imbued the arrow with black gall,
- you will have a charm for the heart of Heracles, so that he will never look upon any woman and love her more than you.” Remembering this charm, my friends—for, after his death, I had kept it carefully locked up in the house—
- I have imbued this robe with it, applying to it all that he instructed while he lived. The work is finished. May deeds of wicked daring always be far from my thoughts and from my knowledge, as I detest the women who attempt them! But if in any way I may prevail against this girl by love-spells
- and the charms used on Heracles, the means to that end have been devised—unless I seem to be acting rashly. If so, I will stop immediately.
- On the contrary. If there is any reason for confidence in these actions, we think that your plan is not wrong.
- My reason for confidence is this: there is the appearance of success in the plan. But the proof I have not yet essayed.
- Your knowledge must come after you act. For you can have no test which is not fanciful except by making the attempt.
- Well, we shall know shortly, for there I see the man
- already at the doors. He will soon depart. Only I ask that I may be well sheltered by you! When you accomplish even shameful deeds under the cover of darkness, you will never fall into disgrace.
- What are your instructions? Tell me, daughter of Oeneus, for already I am tardy because of my long stay.
- In fact I have just been seeing to this very thing for you, Lichas, while you were addressing the foreign women in the house: take for me this long robe, prepared by my own hand, a gift to my absent husband. Give it to him and tell him to be sure that no man
- puts it on his body before him and that it not be seen by the light of the sun, nor by the sacred precinct, nor by the blaze at the hearth, until he stands conspicuous before all eyes and shows it clearly to the gods on a day for the sacrifice of bulls.
- For so had I vowed, that if I should ever see or hear that he had come safely home, I would dutifully adorn him with this robe and reveal him to the god as a new sacrificer in new garb. As proof of your commission you will carry a token which he will easily recognize
- within the circle of this seal. Now go; and first, observe the rule that messengers should be unwilling to act out of line, and second, see to it that my thanks may be joined to his, doubling the gratitude you earn.
- If I practice Hermes’ art of heraldry with any skill, I certainly will never slip up while doing your errand. I will not fail to carry and present this chest in the same condition, nor to add to it the proper assurance of the reasons which you have for sending it.
- You may go now, for you know well
- how things are with us in the house.
- I know and will report that all is well.