Philoctetes

Sophocles

Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose Part 4 The Philoctetes; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898.

  1. soft-hearted; but remain here, if that one agrees, until the sailors have readied everything on board, and we have made our prayers to the gods. In the interval, perhaps, he will obtain a better attitude towards us. And so we two are going.
  2. And you, when we call you, be quick to come.Exeunt Odysseus and Neoptolemus.
Philoctetes
  1. Hollow in the caverned rock, now hot, now frosty, how true it seems, then, that I was sadly fated never to leave you!
  2. No, you will witness my death, too. Ah, ah, me! Sad dwelling, so long filled with the pain welling from my flesh, what will be my daily portion hereafter?
  3. Where, from what provision, shall I, unhappy, find any hope of sustenance? Above my head the tremulous doves will go on their way through the whistling wind. I can stop their flight no more.
Chorus
  1. It was you, you, I say, doomed one, that chose this fate; and this fortune to which you are captive comes from no other source, nor from a stronger man’s compulsion. For when in fact it was in your power to show sense,
  2. you chose to reject the better fate, and to accept the worse.
Philoctetes
  1. Ah, miserable, miserable, then, am I, and shamed by hardship, who next must hereafter dwell in my misery here,
  2. with no man for companion in the days to come, and waste away. I can no longer bring food to my home, no
  3. longer gain it by the winged weapons held in my strong hands. But the unsuspected and stealthy fictions of a treacherous mind deceived me. If only I could watch him, the contriver of this plot, doomed to endure my anguish for as long a time!
Chorus
  1. Doom, god-sent doom constrained you to suffer this, not, I tell you, any treachery to which my hand was lent.
  2. Aim your hate-filled, baneful curse elsewhere, since I prefer that you not reject my friendship.
Philoctetes
  1. Alas! No doubt sitting on the white ocean shore
  2. he mocks me, brandishing the weapon that nourished my unhappy life, the weapon which no one else had carried! Cherished bow, ah, friend forced from my loving hands,
  3. if you have the power to feel, surely you see with pity that the comrade of Heracles will now no longer use you anymore!
  4. Now you are handled by another, a man of craftiness; you see the shameless deceptions and the face of that hated enemy by whom countless wrongs, springing from shameless designs, have been contrived against me. O Zeus!
Chorus
  1. A man must always assert what is right. But, when he has done so, he must not let loose malignant, stinging taunts. The man was the sole representative of the whole army, and at their mandate
  2. he achieved a universal benefit for his friends.
Philoctetes
  1. Ah, my winged prey, and you tribes of bright-eyed creatures held by this place in its upland pastures, leap no more
  2. in flight from your lairs, for I do not grasp in my hands those shafts which were once my strength—but now, gone, are my undoing! Roam at will now; the place has no more terrors—for you!