AMPHITRYON Ah me!
CHORUS And thy own son's doom.
AMPHITRYON Ah misery!
CHORUS Old friend-
AMPHITRYON Hush! hush! he is turning, he is waking! Oh Oh! let me
hide myself beneath the covert of yon roof.
CHORUS Courage! darkness still broods o'er thy son's eye.
AMPHITRYON Oh! beware; 'tis not that I shrink from leaving the light
after my miseries, poor wretch! but should he slay me that am his
father, then will he be devising woe on woe, and to the avenging curse
will add a parent's blood.
CHORUS Well for thee hadst thou died in that day, when, to win thy
wife, thou didst go forth to exact vengeance for her slain brethren
by sacking the Taphians' sea-beat town.
AMPHITRYON Fly, fly, my aged friends, haste from before the palace,
escape his waking fury! For soon will he heap up fresh carnage on
the old, ranging wildly once more through the streets of Thebes.
CHORUS O Zeus, why hast thou shown such savage hate against thine
own son and plunged him in this sea of troubles?
HERACLES (waking) Aha! my breath returns; I am alive; and my eyes
see, opening on the sky and earth and yon sun's darting beam; but
how my senses reel! in what strange turmoil am I plunged! my fevered
breath in quick spasmodic gasps escapes my lungs. How now? why am
I lying here, made fast with cables like a ship, my brawny chest and
arms tied to a shattered piece of masonry, with corpses for my neighbours;
while o'er the floor my bow and arrows are scattered, that erst like
trusty squires to my arm both kept me safe and were kept safe of me?
Surely I am not come a second time to Hades' halls, having just returned
from thence for Eurystheus? No, I do not see Sisyphus with his stone,
or Pluto, or his queen, Demeter's child. Surely I am distraught; I
cannot remember where I am. Ho, there! which of my friends is near
or far to help me in my ignorance? For I have no clear knowledge of
things once familiar.
AMPHITRYON My aged friends, shall I approach the scene of my sorrow?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS Yes, and let me go with thee, nor desert thee
in thy trouble.
HERACLES Father, why dost thou weep and veil thy eyes, standing aloof
from thy beloved son?
AMPHITRYON My child! mine still, for all thy misery.
HERACLES Why, what is there so sad in my case that thou dost weep?
AMPHITRYON That which might make any of the gods weep, were he to
HERACLES A bold assertion that, but thou art not yet explaining what
AMPHITRYON Thine own eyes see that, if by this time thou are restored
to thy senses.
HERACLES Fill in thy sketch if any change awaits my life.
AMPHITRYON I will explain, if thou art no longer mad as a fiend of
HERACLES God help us! what suspicions these dark hints of thine again
AMPHITRYON I am still doubtful whether thou art in thy sober senses.
HERACLES I never remember being mad.
AMPHITRYON Am I to loose my son, old friends, or what?
HERACLES Loose and say who bound me; for I feel shame at this.
AMPHITRYON Rest content with what thou knowest of thy woes; the rest
HERACLES Enough! I have no wish to probe thy silence.
AMPHITRYON O Zeus, dost thou behold these deeds proceeding from the
throne of Hera?
HERACLES What! have I suffered something from her enmity?
AMPHITRYON A truce to the goddess! attend to thy own troubles.
HERACLES I am undone; what mischance wilt thou unfold?
AMPHITRYON See here the corpses of thy children.