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Ajax   



Ne'er of itself had thy heart, son of Telamon,
Strayed into folly so far
As to murder flocks and herds.
Escape from heaven-sent madness is none: yet Apollo
And Zeus avert these evil rumours of the Greeks.
But should the story be false, these crafty slanders
Spread by the powerful kings,
And by the child of the infamous Sisyphid line,
No more, my master, thus in the tent by the sea
Hide thy countenance, earning an ill fame.

epode

Nay, but arise from thy seat, where'er so long wrapt in
Brooding pause from the battle thou hast lurked: arise,
Heaven-high kindle the flame of death.
But the insolence of thy foes boldly
Thus wanders abroad in the wind-swept glens.
Meanwhile all men mocking
With venomous tongues taunt thee:
But grief in my heart wanes not.

(TECMESSA enters. The following lines between TECMESSA and
the CHORUS are chanted responsively.)


TECMESSA
Liegemen of Ajax, ship-companions,
Ye children of earth-sprung Erechthid race,
Lamentation is now our portion, to whom
Dear is the far-off house of Telamon,
Now that the stern and terrible Ajax
Lies whelmed by a storm
Of turbid wildering fury.
CHORUS
To what evil change from the day's woe now
Has night given birth?
Thou daughter of Phrygian Teleutas, speak;
For a constant love has valiant Ajax
Borne thee, his spear-won prisoner bride.
Then hide from us nought that thou knowest.
TECMESSA
How to utter a tale of unspeakable things!
For disastrous as death is the hap you will hear.
In the darkness of night madness has seized
Our glorious Ajax: he is ruined and lost.
Hereof in the tent may proof be seen;
Sword-slain victims in their own blood bathed,
By his hand sacrificially slaughtered.
CHORUS

strophe

What tidings of the fiery warrior tellest thou,
Not to be borne, nor yet to be disputed,
Rumoured abroad by the chiefs of the Danaan host,
Mightily still spreading and waxing!
Woe's me! I dread the horror to come. Yea, to a public death
doomed
Will he die, if in truth his be the hand that wielded
The red sword that in frenzy hath slain the herds and mounted
herdsmen.
TECMESSA
Ah me! Thence was it, thence that he came to me

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