Did he come near us? Did he reach his goal?
He stood already at the two chiefs' doors.
What then withheld his eager hand from bloodshed?
'Twas I restrained him, casting on his eyes
O'ermastering notions of that baneful ecstasy,
That turned his rage on flocks and mingled droves
Of booty yet unshared, guarded by herdsmen.
Then plunging amid the thronging horns he slew,
Smiting on all sides; and one while he fancied
The Atreidae were the captives he was slaughtering,
Now 'twas some other chief on whom he fell.
And I, while thus he raved in maniac throes,
Urged him on, drove him into the baleful toils.
Thereafter, when he had wearied of such labours,
He bound with thongs such oxen as yet lived,
With all the sheep, and drove them to his tents,
As though his spoil were men, not horned cattle.
Now lashed together in the hut he tortures them.
But to thee too will I expose this madness,
That seeing thou mayst proclaim it to all the Greeks.
Boldly await him here, nor apprehend
Mischance; for I will turn aside his eyes,
Foiling his vision lest he see thy face.
(She calls to AJAX within the tent.)
Hearken, thou who art pinioning with cords
The wrists of captives; hither, I bid thee, come.
Thou, Ajax, hear me: come to thy tent's door.
What dost thou, Athena? Do not summon him forth.
Abide in silence. Earn not the name of coward.
Nay, by the Gods, let him remain within.
What dost thou dread? Was he not once a man?
Yes, and to me a foeman, and still is.
To mock foes, is not that the sweetest mockery?
I am content he should remain indoors.
To look upon a madman art thou afeard?
Had he been sane, no fear had made me shrink.
Even now he shall not see thee, near as thou art.
How so, if still with the same eyes he sees?
His orbs will I make dark, though vision is theirs.
Well, all is possible, when 'tis a god contrives.
Stand then silent, abiding as thou art.
Stay I must; yet I fain would be far hence.
Ho, Ajax! Once again I summon thee.
So slight is thy regard for thine ally?