deaf as the wave am I. My own friends have I helped, but for thee
have no tie of affection; for verily it cost me a great part of my
life to capture Troy and thy mother; so thou shalt reap the fruit
thereof and into Hades' halls descend.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS Behold! I see Peleus drawing nigh; with aged
step he hasteth hither. (PELEUS enters with an attendant.)
PELEUS (calling out as he comes in sight) What means this? I ask
you and your executioner; why is the palace in an uproar? give a reason;
what mean your lawless machinations? Menelaus, hold thy hand. Seek
not to outrun justice. (To his attendant) Forward! faster, faster!
for this matter, methinks, admits of no delay; now if ever would I
fain resume the vigour of my youth. First however will breathe new
life into this captive, being to her as the breeze that blows a ship
before the wind. Tell me, by what right have they pinioned thine arms
and are dragging thee and thy child away? Like a ewe with her lamb
art thou led to the slaughter, while I and thy lord were far away.
ANDROMACHE Behold them that are haling me and my child to death,
e'en as thou seest, aged prince. Why should I tell thee? For not by
one urgent summons alone but by countless messengers have I sent for
thee. No doubt thou knowest by hearsay of the strife in this house
with this man's daughter, and the reason of my ruin. So now they have
torn and are dragging me from the altar of Thetis, the goddess of
thy chiefest adoration and the mother of thy gallant son, without
any proper trial, yea, and without waiting for my absent master; because,
forsooth, they knew my defencelessness and my child's, whom they mean
to slay with me his hapless mother, though he has done no harm. But
to thee, O sire, I make my supplication, prostrate at thy knees, though
my hand cannot touch thy friendly beard; save me, I adjure thee, reverend
sir, or to thy shame and my sorrow shall we be slain.
PELEUS Loose her bonds, I say, ere some one rue it; untie her folded
MENELAUS I forbid it, for besides being a match for thee, I have
a far better right to her.
PELEUS What! art thou come hither to set my house in order? Art not
content with ruling thy Spartans?
MENELAUS She is my captive; I took her from Troy.
PELEUS Aye, but my son's son received her as his prize.
MENELAUS Is not all I have his, and all his mine?
PELEUS For good, but not evil ends; and surely not for murderous
MENELAUS Never shalt thou wrest her from my grasp.
PELEUS With this good staff I'll stain thy head with blood!
MENELAUS Just touch me and see! Approach one step!
PELEUS What! shalt thou rank with men? chief of cowards, son of cowards!
What right hast thou to any place 'mongst men? Thou who didst let
Phrygian rob thee of thy wife, leaving thy home without bolt or guard,
as if forsooth the cursed woman thou hadst there was a model of virtue.
No! a Spartan maid could not be chaste, e'en if she would, who leaves
her home and bares her limbs and lets her robe float free, to share
with youths their races and their sports,-customs I cannot away with.
Is it any wonder then that ye fail to educate your women in virtue?
Helen might have asked thee this, seeing that she said goodbye to
thy affection and tripped off with her young gallant to a foreign
land. And yet for her sake thou didst marshal all the hosts of Hellas
and lead them to Ilium, whereas thou shouldst have shown thy loathing
for her by refusing to stir a spear, once thou hadst found her false;
yea, thou shouldst have let her stay there, and even paid a price
to save ever having her back again. But that was not at all the way
thy thoughts were turned; wherefore many a brave life hast thou ended,
and many an aged mother hast thou left childless in her home, and
grey-haired sires of gallant sons hast reft. Of that sad band am I
member, seeing in thee Achilles' murderer like a malignant fiend;
for thou and thou alone hast returned from Troy without a scratch,
bringing back thy splendid weapons in their splendid cases just as