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The Trojan Women   


hoping to be the mother of a son that should rule o'er Asia's fruitful
fields instead of serving as a victim to the sons of Danaus! Dost
weep, my babe? dost know thy hapless fate? Why clutch me with thy
hands and to my garment cling, nestling like a tender chick beneath
my wing? Hector will not rise again and come gripping his famous spear
to bring thee salvation; no kinsman of thy sire appears, nor might
of Phrygian hosts; one awful headlong leap from the dizzy height and
thou wilt dash out thy life with none to pity thee Oh to clasp thy
tender limbs, a mother's fondest joy! Oh to breathe thy fragrant breath!
In vain it seems these breasts did suckle thee, wrapped in thy swaddling-clothes;
all for naught I used to toil and wore myself away! Kiss thy mother
now for the last time, nestle to her that bare thee, twine thy arms
about my neck and join thy lips to mine! O ye Hellenes, cunning to
devise new forms of cruelty, why slay this child who never wronged
any? Thou daughter of Tyndarus, thou art no child of Zeus, but sprung,
I trow, of many a sire, first of some evil demon, next of Envy, then
of Murder and of Death, and every horror that the earth begets. That
Zeus was never sire of thine I boldly do assert, bane as thou hast
been to many a Hellene and barbarian too. Destruction catch thee!
Those fair eyes of thine have brought a shameful ruin on the fields
of glorious Troy. Take the babe and bear him hence, hurl him down
if so ye list, then feast upon his flesh! 'Tis heaven's high will
we perish, and I cannot ward the deadly stroke from my child. Hide
me and my misery; cast me into the ship's hold; for 'tis to a fair
wedding I am going, now that I have lost my child!
CHORUS Unhappy Troy! thy thousands thou hast lost for one woman's
sake and her accursed wooing.
TALTHYBIUS Come, child, leave fond embracing of thy woful mother,
and mount the high coronal of thy ancestral towers, there to draw
thy parting breath, as is ordained. Take him hence. His should the
duty be to do such herald's work, whose heart knows no pity and who
loveth ruthlessness more than my soul doth. (Exeunt ANDROMACHE and
TALTHYBIUS with ASTYANAX.)

HECUBA O child, son of my hapless boy, an unjust fate robs me and
thy mother of thy life. How is it with me? What can I do for thee,
my luckless babe? for thee I smite upon my head and beat my breast,
my only gift; for that alone is in my power. Woe for my city! woe
for thee! Is not our cup full? What is wanting now to our utter and
immediate ruin?
CHORUS O Telamon, King of Salamis, the feeding ground of bees, who
hast thy home in a sea-girt isle that lieth nigh the holy hills where
first Athena made the grey olive-branch to appear, a crown for heavenly
heads and a glory unto happy Athens, thou didst come in knightly brotherhood
with that great archer, Alcemena's son, to sack our city Ilium, in
days gone by, on thy advent from Hellas, what time he led the chosen
flower of Hellas, vexed for the steeds denied him, and at the fair
stream of Simois he stayed his sea-borne ship and fastened cables
to the stern, and forth therefrom he took the bow his hand could deftly
shoot, to be the doom of Laomedon; and with the ruddy breath of fire
he wasted the masonry squared by Phoebus' line and chisel, and sacked
the land of Troy; so twice in two attacks hath the bloodstained spear
destroyed Dardania's walls.
In vain, it seems, thou Phrygian boy, pacing with dainty step amid
thy golden chalices, dost thou fill high the cup of Zeus, a service
passing fair; seeing that the land of thy birth is being consumed
by fire. The shore re-echoes to our cries; and, as a bird bewails
its young, so we bewail our husbands or our children, or our grey-haired
mothers. The dew-fed springs where thou didst bathe, the course where
thou didst train, are now no more; but thou beside the throne of Zeus
art sitting with a calm, sweet smile upon thy fair young face, while
the spear of Hellas lays the land of Priam waste. Ah! Love, Love,
who once didst seek these Dardan halls, deep-seated in the hearts
of heavenly gods, how high didst thou make Troy to tower in those
days, allying her with deities! But I will cease to urge reproaches

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