thou, not I, wert the virtuous wife?
ANDROMACHE Thy present claims at any rate give thee small title thereto.
HERMIONE Woman, may my bosom never harbour such ideas as thine!
ANDROMACHE Thou art young to speak on such a theme as this.
HERMIONE As for thee, thou dost not speak thereof, but, as thou canst,
dost put it into action against me.
ANDROMACHE Canst thou not conceal thy pangs of jealousy?
HERMIONE What! doth not every woman put this first of all?
ANDROMACHE Yes, if her experiences are happy; otherwise, there is
no honour in speaking of them.
HERMIONE Barbarians' laws are not a standard for our city.
ANDROMACHE Alike in Asia and in Hellas infamy attends base actions.
HERMIONE Clever, clever quibbler! yet die thou must and shalt.
ANDROMACHE Dost see the image of Thetis with her eye upon thee?
HERMIONE A bitter foe to thy country because of the death of Achilles.
ANDROMACHE 'Twas not I that slew him, but Helen that mother of thine.
HERMIONE Pray, is it thy intention to probe my wounds yet deeper?
ANDROMACHE Behold, I am dumb, my lips are closed.
HERMIONE Tell me that which was my only reason for coming hither.
ANDROMACHE No! all I tell thee is, thou hast less wisdom than thou
HERMIONE Wilt thou leave these hallowed precincts of the sea-goddess?
ANDROMACHE Yes, if I am not to die for it; otherwise, I never will.
HERMIONE Since that is thy resolve, I shall not even wait my lord's
ANDROMACHE Nor yet will I, at any rate ere that, surrender to thee.
HERMIONE I will bring fire to bear on thee, and pay no heed to thy
ANDROMACHE Kindle thy blaze then; the gods will witness it.
HERMIONE And make thy flesh to writhe by cruel wounds.
ANDROMACHE Begin thy butchery, stain the altar of the goddess with
blood, for she will visit thy iniquity.
HERMIONE Barbarian creature, hardened in impudence, wilt thou brave
death itself? Still will I find speedy means to make these quit this
seat of thy free will; such a bait have I to lure thee with. But I
will hide my meaning, which the event itself shall soon declare. Yes,
keep thy seat, for I will make thee rise, though molten lead is holding
thee there, before Achilles' son, thy trusted champion, arrive. (HERMIONE
ANDROMACHE My trusted champion, yes! how strange it is, that though
some god hath devised cures for mortals against the venom of reptiles,
no man ever yet hath discovered aught to cure a woman's venom, which
is far worse than viper's sting or scorching flame; so terrible a
curse are we to mankind.
CHORUS (singing, strophe 1)
Ah! what sorrows did the son of Zeus and Maia herald, in the day
he came to Ida's glen, guiding that fair young trio of goddesses,
all girded for the fray in bitter rivalry about their beauty, to the
shepherd's fold where dwelt the youthful herdsman all alone by the
hearth of his lonely hut.
Soon as they reached the wooded glen, in gushing mountain springs
they bathed their dazzling skin, then sought the son of Priam, comparing
their rival charms in more than rancorous phrase. But Cypris won the
day by her deceitful promises, sweet-sounding words, but fraught with
ruthless overthrow to Phrygia's hapless town and Ilium's towers.
Would God his mother had smitten him a cruel death-blow on the head
before he made his home on Ida's slopes, in the hour Cassandra, standing
by the holy bay-tree, cried out, "Slay him, for he will bring most
grievous bane on Priam's town." To every prince she went, to every
elder sued for the babe's destruction.
Ah! had they listened, Ilium's daughters neer had felt the yoke of