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Ajax   


To compose duly his slain brother's corpse.
O hapless Ajax, who wast once so great,
Now even thy foes might dare to mourn thy fall.
CHORUS (chanting)

antistrophe

'Twas fate's will, alas, 'twas fate then for thou
Stubborn of soul at length to work out a dark
Doom of ineffable miseries. Such the dire
Fury of passionate hate
I heard thee utter fierce of mood
Railing at Atreus' sons
Night by night, day by day.
Verily then it was the sequence of woes
First began, when as the prize of worth
Fatally was proclaimed the golden panoply.
TECMESSA
Alas, woe, woe!
CHORUS (chanting)
A loyal grief pierces thy heart, I know.
TECMESSA
Alas, woe, woe!
CHORUS (chanting)
Woman, I marvel not that thou shouldst wail
And wail again, reft of a friend so dear.
TECMESSA
'Tis thine to surmise, mine to feel, too surely.
CHORUS (chanting)
'Tis even so.
TECMESSA
Ah, my child, to what bondage are we come,
Seeing what cruel taskmasters will be ours.
CHORUS (chanting)
Ah me, at what dost thou hint?
What ruthless, unspeakable wrong
From the Atreidae fearest thou?
But may heaven avert that woe!
TECMESSA
Ne'er had it come to this save by heaven's will.
CHORUS (chanting)
Yes, too great to be borne this heaven-sent burden.
TECMESSA
Yet such the woe which the dread child of Zeus,
Pallas, has gendered for Odysseus' sake.
CHORUS (chanting)
Doubtless the much-enduring hero in his dark spy's soul exults
mockingly,
And laughs with mighty laughter at these agonies
Of a frenzied spirit. Shame! Shame!
Sharers in glee at the tale are the royal Atreidae.
TECMESSA
Well, let them mock and glory in his ruin.
Perchance, though while he lived they wished not for him,
They yet shall wail him dead, when the spear fails them.
Men of ill judgment oft ignore the good
That lies within their hands, till they have lost it.
More to their grief he died than to their joy,
And to his own content. All his desire
He now has won, that death for which he longed.
Why then should they deride him? 'Tis the gods
Must answer for his death, not these men, no.
Then let Odysseus mock him with empty taunts.
Ajax is no more with them; but has gone,

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