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. oh, that some strong breeze, a fair wind, might arise at our hearth
  2. to bear me far from this land, so that I might not die of terror when I look but once
  3. upon the mighty seed of Zeus! For they say that he is approaching the house in torments from which there is no deliverance, a wonder of unutterable woe.
Chorus
  1. Ah, he was not far off, but close to us, he for whom I cried in advance, like the shrill nightingale! Here is a foreign procession of strange men. And in what manner, then, do they bring him? In sorrow, as for some loved one, they tread their mournful, noiseless tread. Ah, he is carried on in silence!
  2. Should I think that he is dead, or just asleep?
Enter from one side an Old Man, with attendants, bearing Heracles upon a litter, and Hyllus from the house.
Hyllus
  1. O my father! O my misery! What is to become of me? What is my best plan? Ah!
Old Man
  1. Hush, young man! Do not rouse
  2. the cruel pain that infuriates your father! He lives, though on the very edge. Bite your tongue and hold it!
Hyllus
  1. What do you say, old man—is he alive?
Old Man
  1. You must not awake the slumberer! You must not rouse and revive
  2. his fierce, recurrent infection, my son!
Hyllus
  1. But the immense weight of this misery crushes me. My heart craves release!
Heracles
  1. O Zeus, in what land am I? Among what people
  2. do I lie, tortured with unending agonies? O me, what pain! Oh, that accursed pest gnaws me once more!
Old Man
  1. Did I not know how much better it was that you should keep silent, instead of scattering
  2. sleep from his brain and eyes?
Hyllus
  1. No, I know no way to be patient when I witness this misery.
Heracles
  1. O Cenaean rock, foundation of my altars, what cruel reward
  2. you have earned me for those fair offerings, O Zeus! Ah, in what ruin you have deposited me, in what ruin! Would that I had never looked on you to my sorrow with my eyes, never come face to face with this blooming madness, which no spell can soothe!
  3. Where is the enchanter, where the practiced healer, save Zeus alone, who will charm this catastrophe away? I would be amazed if I saw him from even a great distance!