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Ajax   


Might I but kill that hateful and crafty dissembler,
Yea, and those two brother kings, partners in pride,
Then last myself too perish!
TECMESSA
If thus thou prayest, pray therewith for me, that
Die with thee. Why, when thou art dead, should I live on?
AJAX (chanting)
Alas!
Shadow that art my light!
Erebus, oh to me verily bright as day!
Receive, receive me your habitant.
Receive me now no more worthy to seek help of the gods,
Nor any more from fellow mortal men to claim kindness:
No, but she the strong
Zeus-born deity
Miserably tortures me.
Whither should I then flee?
Whither seek for rest?
Since my former glory is gone, my friends,
With yonder victims, yonder spoils by frenzy won,
Since all the host with swords uplifted
Sternly would slay me,
TECMESSA
Ah, woe is me! from such a noble warrior
To hear such words as once he ne'er had deigned to speak!
AJAX (chanting)
Alas!
Billowy paths of foam,
Eddying caves, and ye coppices by the shore,
A weary, weary time tarrying here
Beneath the walls of Troy me have you kept, but from this hour
Alive you shall not keep me. Truth I speak: let none doubt it.
O Scamander's wave,
Stream whose neighbouring flow
Oft have the Argives blest,
Never, nevermore
Me shall you behold,
Me (a proud word will I utter now)
Whose peer in battle Troy has never seen yet come
From Hellas' land: but now dishonoured
Thus am I prostrate.
LEADER
In truth I know not how to restrain thy speech, nor yet
To suffer it; so grievous is thy couch of woe.
AJAX
Aiai! Who ever would have thought my name
Would harmonise so aptly with my woes?
For now well may I wail that sound out twice,
Yea thrice; such woeful destinies are mine,
Whose father from this land of Ida won
Fame's noblest guerdon over the whole host,
And crowned with praises only sailed back home;
But I, his son, who to the self-same Troy
Came after him, in might no less than he,
Nor rendering meaner service by my deeds,
Dishonoured by the Argives perish thus.
Yet this methinks I know for truth, were now
Achilles living and called on to adjudge
As the award of valour his own arms,
No man's hand would have grasped them before mine.
But now the Atreidae to a scheming knave
Have dealt them, thrusting by my valiant deeds.
And if these eyes, these wits had not in frenzy
Swerved from my purpose, never would they thus

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