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. when the arms were made the prize for a contest in the skills of warfare!
Tecmessa
  1. Ah! Ah!
Chorus
  1. True anguish, I know, pierces your heart.
Tecmessa
  1. Ah! Ah, me!
Chorus
  1. I do not wonder, lady, that you wail and wail again, when you have just lost one so loved.
Tecmessa
  1. It is for you to analyze my troubles, but for me to feel them too fully.
Chorus
  1. I must agree.
Tecmessa
  1. Oh, my son, to what a heavy yoke of slavery
  2. we advance! What cruel task-masters stand over us!
Chorus
  1. Ah, the deeds of the two ruthless Atreidae which you name in our present grief would be unthinkable! May the gods hold them back!
Tecmessa
  1. These events that you see would not have happened as they have without the will of the gods.
Chorus
  1. Yes, they have brought upon us a burden too heavy to bear.
Tecmessa
  1. Yet what suffering the divine daughter of Zeus, fierce Pallas, engenders for Odysseus’ sake!
Chorus
  1. No doubt the much-enduring hero exults in his dark soul and mocks in loud laughter at these frenzied sorrows—what shame!—
  2. and with him, when they hear the news, will laugh the royal brothers, the Atreidae.
Tecmessa
  1. Then let them mock and rejoice at this man’s misery. Perhaps, even though they did not cherish him while he lived, they will lament his death, when they meet with the difficulties of war. Men of crooked judgment do not know what good
  2. they have in their hands until they have thrown it away. His death is more bitter to me than it is sweet to the Greeks; but in any case to Ajax himself it is a joy, since he has accomplished all that he desired to get—his longed-for death. So why should they exult over him?
  3. He died before the gods, not at all before them—no! And so let Odysseus toss his insults in empty glee. For them Ajax is no more; for me he is gone, abandoning me to anguish and mourning.
Teucer
  1. Ah! Ah, no!
Chorus
  1. Quiet—I think I hear the voice of Teucer striking a note that points to this disaster.