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Ajax   


Leading his captive flock from the pastures!
Thereof in the tent some did he slaughter,
Others hewed he asunder with slashing sword;
Then he caught up amain two white-footed rams,
Sliced off from the one both the head and the tongue,
And flings them away;
But the other upright to a pillar he binds,
Then seizing a heavy horse-harnessing thong
He smites with the whistling doubled lash,
Uttering fierce taunts which an evil fiend
No mere mortal could have taught him.
CHORUS

antistrophe

'Tis time that now each with shamefully muffled head
Forth from the camp should creep with stealthy footsteps.
Nay, on the ship let us muster, and benched at the oars
Over the waves launch her in swift flight.
Such angry threats sound in our ears hurled by the brother
princes,
The Atreidae: and I quake, fearing a death by stoning,
The dread portion of all who would share our hapless master's
ruin.
TECMESSA
Yet hope we: for ceased is the lightning's flash:
His rage dies down like a fierce south-wind.
But now, grown sane, new misery is his;
For on woes self-wrought he gazes aghast,
Wherein no hand but his own had share;
And with anguish his soul is afflicted.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Nay, if 'tis ceased, there is good cause to hope.
Once 'tis past, of less moment is his frenzy.
TECMESSA
And which, were the choice thine, wouldst thou prefer,
To afflict thy friends and feel delight thyself,
Or to share sorrow, grieving with their grief?
LEADER
The twofold woe, lady, would be the greater.
TECMESSA
Then we, though plagued no more, are undone now.
LEADER
What mean thy words? Their sense is dark to me.
TECMESSA
Yonder man, while his spirit was diseased,
Himself had joy in his own evil plight,
Though to us, who were sane, he brought distress.
But now, since he has respite from his plague,
He with sore grief is utterly cast down,
And we likewise, no less than heretofore.
Are there not here two woes instead of one?
LEADER
Yes truly. And I fear, from some god came
This stroke; how else? if, now his frenzy is ceased,
His mind has no more ease than when it raged.
TECMESSA
'Tis even as I said, rest well assured.
LEADER
But how did this bane first alight upon him?
To us who share thy grief show what befell.
TECMESSA
Thou shalt hear all, as though thou hadst been present.
In the middle of the night, when the evening braziers

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