Ajax

Sophocles

Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose Part 7 The Ajax; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1893.

  1. What do you mean? Did Ajax ever stand forth publicly to war with you?
Menelaus
  1. He hated me as I hated him, and you knew it, too.
Teucer
  1. Yes, he hated you because you had been caught fixing the votes in order to rob him.
Menelaus
  1. At the hands of the jurymen, not mine, he suffered that loss.
Teucer
  1. You could make a thousand stealthy crimes look pretty.
Menelaus
  1. That sentiment leads to pain for someone I know.
Teucer
  1. The pain will be no greater, I think, than that which we will inflict.
Menelaus
  1. I will tell you once and for all—there is to be no burial for him.
Teucer
  1. And hear my reply—he shall be buried immediately.
Menelaus
  1. Once I saw a bold-tongued man who had urged sailors to set sail during wintertime. Yet in him you could have found no voice
  2. when the worst of the storm was upon him. No, hidden beneath his cloak he allowed the crew to trample on him at will. And so it is with you and your raging speech—perhaps a great storm, even if its blast comes from a small cloud, will extinguish your shouting.
Teucer
  1. Yes, and I have seen a man stuffed with foolishness who exulted in his neighbor’s misfortunes. It turned out that a man like me and of similar temperament stared at him and said, Man, do not wrong the dead; for, if you do, rest assured that you will come to harm. So he warned the misguided man before him. Take note—I see him now, and I think that he is no one but you. Have I spoken in riddles?
Menelaus
  1. I will go—it would be a disgrace to have it known
  2. that I argue when I have the power to use force.
Teucer
  1. Leave then! The worst disgrace for me is that I should listen to a fool’s empty chatter.
Chorus
  1. A trial of this great discord will soon come about. But you, Teucer, with all the speed you can muster,
  2. be quick to seek a hollow grave for Ajax, where he shall establish his dank tomb, a constant memorial for mortals.
    Teucer
    1. And now just in time his son and his wife approach
    2. to arrange the burial of the pitiable corpse. Come here, nephew. Take your place near him, and grasp in supplication your father, your begetter. Kneel and pray for help, with locks of hair in your hand from me, her, and thirdly you;
    3. they are the suppliant’s only resource. But if any soldier from the army should tear you by violence from this body, then for his wickedness may he be wickedly cast out of his country and get no burial, but be severed at the root with all his race, just as I shear this lock.