Sophocles the plays and fragments, Part 5: The Trachiniae. Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1892.
oh, no! What is this you have blurted out, Hyllus?
Only what cannot but be fulfilled. For who could undo what has happened?
What do you mean, son? From whom did you hear this
that you charge me with a crime so awful?
I have seen my father’s overwhelming misfortune with my own eyes. I did not learn of it by hearsay.
Where did you find him? Where were you with him?
If you need to hear, then I must tell all.
After sacking the famous city of Eurytus, he went his way with the trophies and choice spoils of victory. There is a sea-washed headland of Euboea, Cape Cenaeum, where he marked out altars and a sacred grove to the Zeus of his fathers.
There I first saw him, to the gratification of my desire. He was about to make a sacrifice rich in offerings when his own herald, Lichas, came to him from home with your gift, the deadly robe, in his hands. This he put on as you prescribed
and then began his offering with twelve bulls, free from blemish, the prime of the spoil; but altogether he brought a hundred mixed victims to the altar. At first the miserable wretch prayed with serene soul and rejoiced in his ornate garb.
But when the blood-fed flame began to blaze from the holy offerings and from the resinous pine, a sweat broke out on his skin and the tunic clung to his sides close-glued at every joint, as if by a craftsman’s hand; there came
a convulsive, biting pain in his bones; and then the venom, like that of some deadly, cruel viper, began to devour him. At that he shouted for the ill-fated Lichas—who was in no way to blame for your crime—asking by what plots he had brought that robe.
But he, unfortunate one, all-unknowing, said that he had brought your gift from you alone, just as it had been sent. When Heracles heard it, just as a piercing spasm clutched his lungs, he caught him by the foot where the ankle bends in the socket
and threw him at a surf-beaten rock in the sea, causing the white brain to ooze from his hair, when the crown of his head had been scattered and his blood with it.
But all the people lifted up a cry of astounded grief when they saw that the one was frenzied, and the other destroyed;
and no one dared to approach the man. For he convulsed down to the ground and up into the air as he shouted and cried out. All around the cliffs resounded, both the steep headlands of Locris and the Euboean capes. But when he was exhausted with repeatedly
throwing himself on the ground in his anguish and repeatedly shouting with howls of grief, as he dwelled on his ill-mated marriage with miserable you and his alliance with Oeneus, which, he said, he got for himself as the ruin of his life, then from out of the shrouding altar-smoke
he raised his wildly-rolling eyes and saw me weeping among his many troops. He stared at me and called me: “O my son, come to me. Do not fly from my trouble, not even if you have to share my death. Come, lift me up and away and above all put me
in a place where no one can see me. But if you have pity, at least carry me in all speed away from this country so that I may not die here.” When he had laid this command on me, we put him onboard ship and brought him just barely to this land,
while he moaned in his convulsions. And you shall soon see him, either alive or freshly dead. Such, Mother, are the designs and deeds against my father of which you have been found guilty. May Punishing Justice and the Erinys punish you for them! Yes, if it be right, that is my prayer.