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Ajax   


Willingly would I grant a greater boon.
Yet he, in that world as in this, shall be
Most hateful to me. But act as you deem fit.
(AGAMEMNON and his retinue go out.)
LEADER
After such proof, Odysseus, a fool only
Could say that inborn wisdom was not thine.
ODYSSEUS
Let Teucer know that I shall be henceforth
His friend, no less than I was once his foe.
And I will join in burying this dead man,
And share in all due rites, omitting none
Which mortal men to noblest heroes owe.
TEUCER
Noble Odysseus, for thy words I praise thee
Without stint. Wholly hast thou belied my fears.
Thou, his worst foe among the Greeks, hast yet
Alone stood by him staunchly, nor thought fit
To glory and exult over the dead,
Like that chief crazed with arrogance, who came,
He and his brother, hoping to cast forth
The dead man shamefully without burial.
May therefore the supreme Olympian Father,
The remembering Fury and fulfilling Justice
Destroy these vile men vilely, even as they
Sought to cast forth this hero unjustly outraged.
But pardon me, thou son of old Laertes,
That I must scruple to allow thine aid
In these rites, lest I so displease the dead.
In all else share our toil; and wouldst thou bring
Any man from the host, we grudge thee not.
What else remains, I will provide. And know
That thou towards us hast acted generously.
ODYSSEUS
It was my wish. But if my help herein
Pleases you not, so be it, I depart.
(ODYSSEUS goes out.)
TEUCER
'Tis enough. Too long is the time we have wasted
In talk. Haste some with spades to the grave:
Speedily hollow it. Some set the cauldron
On high amid wreathing flames ready filled
For pious ablution.
Then a third band go, fetch forth from the tent
All the armour he once wore under his shield.
Thou too, child, lovingly lay thy hand
On thy father's corpse, and with all thy strength
Help me to lift him: for the dark blood-tide
Still upward is streaming warm through the arteries.
All then who openly now would appear
Friends to the dead, come, hasten forwards.
To our valiant lord this labour is due.
We have served none nobler among men.
CHORUS (chanting)
Unto him who has seen may manifold knowledge
Come; but before he sees, no man
May divine what destiny awaits him.


-THE END-

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