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. Bosporus, can say whether she has anywhere seen the wanderings of fierce-hearted Ajax? It is cruel that I, who have roamed with such great toil, cannot come near him with a fair course,
  2. but fail to see where the enfeebled man is.
Tecmessa
  1. Ah, me, ah, me!
Chorus
  1. Whose cry broke from that nearby grove?
Tecmessa
  1. Ah, misery!
Chorus
  1. There, I see his unfortunate young bride, who was the prize of his spear,
  2. Tecmessa, dissolved in that pitiful wailing.
Tecmessa
  1. I am lost, destroyed, razed to the ground, my friends!
Chorus
  1. What is it?
Tecmessa
  1. Here is our Ajax—his blood newly shed, he lies folded around the sword, burying it.
Chorus
  1. Ah, no! Our homecoming is lost! Ah, my king, you have killed me, the comrade of your voyage! Unhappy man—broken-hearted woman!
Tecmessa
  1. His condition demands that we cry aiai.
Chorus
  1. But by whose hand can the ill-fated man have contrived this end?
Tecmessa
  1. He did it with his own hand; it is obvious. This sword which he planted in the ground and on which he fell convicts him.
Chorus
  1. Ah, what blind folly I have displayed! All alone, then, you bled, unguarded by your friends! And I took no care, so entirely dull was I, so totally stupid. Where, where lies inflexible Ajax, whose name means anguish?
Tecmessa
  1. No, he is not to be looked at! I will cover him over entirely with this enfolding shroud, since no one—no one, that is, who loves him—could bear to see him spurt the darkened gore of his self-inflicted slaughter up his nostrils and out of the bloody gash.
  2. Ah, what shall I do? What loved one is there to lift you in his arms? Where is Teucer? How timely would be his arrival, if he would but come to compose the corpse of his brother here! Ah, unlucky Ajax, from so great a height you are fallen so low!
  3. Even among your enemies you are worthy of mourning!
Chorus
  1. You were bound, poor man, with that unbending heart you were bound, it seems, to fulfill a harsh destiny of limitless toils! So wild to my ears
  2. were the words of hatred which in your fierce mood you moaned against the Atreidae with such deadly passion. True it is that that moment was a potent source of sorrows,