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. Why do you groan like this and call on the gods?
Philoctetes
  1. That they may come to me with power to save and soothe.—Ai! Ai!
Neoptolemus
  1. What troubles you? Speak, do not keep so silent. It is plain enough that you are suffering somehow.
Philoctetes
  1. I am destroyed, boy—I can never conceal my suffering when you are close. Ah! Ah! It shoots through me, shoots straight through! Oh, the pain,the misery!
  2. I am destroyed, boy—I am devoured! Ah, by the gods I beg you, if you have a sword ready to hand, strike at my ankle—cut it off now! Do not spare my life!
  3. Quick, boy, quick!
Neoptolemus
  1. What new thing has come on you so suddenly that you wail for yourself with these loud shrieks?
Philoctetes
  1. You know, son.
Neoptolemus
  1. What is it?
Philoctetes
  1. You know, boy.
Neoptolemus
  1. What ails you? I do not know.
Philoctetes
  1. How could you not know? Oh, oh!
Neoptolemus
  1. Yes, terrible is the burden of your disease.
Philoctetes
  1. Terrible beyond telling! Oh, pity me!
Neoptolemus
  1. What shall I do?
Philoctetes
  1. Do not betray me because of fear. This plague comes only now and then,—perhaps when she has been sated with her roamings elsewhere.
Neoptolemus
  1. Ah, poor wretch! Poor man, truly for all your sufferings! Shall I support you, or somehow offer a helping hand?
Philoctetes
  1. No, no. But take this bow of mine—as you earlier asked of me—and keep it in your care and safe
  2. until this present bout with my disease is past. For indeed sleep takes me as soon as this pain passes away, nor can it cease before then. But you must allow me to sleep in peace. And if
  3. those men come in the meantime, then by the gods I forbid you willingly or unwillingly, or by any skilled trickery, to give up this bow to them, lest you bring destruction at once on yourself and on me, who am your suppliant.