Tracking Satyrs

Sophocles

Sophocles, creator; Mahoney, Anne (Anne Elizabeth), translator.

  1. Be quiet!
Silenus
  1. What is it over there that you’re trying to get away from?
Chorus
  1. Listen!
Silenus
  1. I’ll listen. He pauses for a moment, listening. But I don’t hear any sound.
Chorus
  1. Do what I say!
Silenus
  1. No one is helping me with this hunt.
Chorus
  1. Listen just a moment, will you? When we went over there we were assaulted by a noise like no one ever heard before.
Silenus
  1. Why are you running away, afraid of a noise? You wretched beasts, with your filthy bodies all smeared with wax, seeing terrors in every shadow, scared of everything! You’re gutless, and careless,
  2. and servile. You’re nothing but body and tongue and voice. You trust to words and flee from actions. Worst of animals, how did you ever come to have a father like me? There are lots of monuments to my courage, when I was young, songs sung at every household’s wedding feast. I was never put to flight, never afraid, and I didn’t quiver at noises made by animals up on the mountains. Instead, I accomplished great things with my spear. That brilliant spear is now besmirched by you,
  3. because some new sound from the shepherds has frightened you, like the babies you are, and you’ve given up on the golden wealth that Phoebus said he was offering to you, to say nothing of freedom, which he also offered to you and to me. You’ve put all that away and gone to sleep. Unless you get back to work tracking those cows and their cowherd, wherever they are, you’ll be making noises of your own for your cowardice.
Chorus
  1. Father, walk beside me,
  2. so you’ll know whether I’m really a coward. If you’re here, you’ll know first hand, not through rumors.
Silenus
  1. I will approach this sound with you, and I will call out and whistle as I’d call a dog. You, line up three by three, and I will go beside you and get you straightened out again.
Chorus
  1. Perhaps separate satyrs sing the various lines of this song. With Silenus, they approach the cave, upstage, jostling, confused, and squabbling. The lyre-noises resume. Ooh, ooh, ooh, ssh, ssh, aah, aah! Say what you’re working on. Why did you shout and scream? It’s pointless. And why were you suspicious of me? Who’s holding back in our first task?
  2. You are. He came, he came. You are mine; lead the way. This way, ho! Who is the ---? The dragon, the wrinkled one --- Goddess of fair winds, --- you were beside me, drunk--- Whatever bring--- set on top of it --- the way which --- warlike
  3. Follow me, this way! To the cows, to the task --- ---so he doesn’t drop the saffron --- You see something beautiful --- and the good --- lawful --- Follow me --- Oppopopoy! Hey, filthy polluted one! --- As soon as you get away from here, you’ll be set free and ---
  4. But don’t get lost --- Come on, straight ahead, this way. Now we’ve got the crook.
  1. Father, why are you quiet? Isn’t what we’re saying true? Aren’t you listening? Or are you deafened by the noise?
Silenus
  1. Shush! What is it?
Chorus
  1. I’m getting out of here!