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Works by Sophocles
Pages of Philoctetes

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The glorious names of valiant and of wise.
Away! I'll do it. Thoughts of guilt or shame
No more appal me.
Wilt thou do it then?
Wilt thou remember what I told thee of?
Depend on 't; I have promised- that's sufficient.
Here then remain thou; I must not be seen.
If thou stay long, I'll send a faithful spy,
Who in a sailor's habit well disguised
May pass unknown; of him, from time to time,
What best may suit our purpose thou shalt know.
I'll to the ship. Farewell! and may the god
Who brought us here, the fraudful Mercury,
And great Minerva, guardian of our country,
And ever kind to me, protect us still!

(ULYSSES goes out as the CHORUS enters. The following lines
are chanted responsively between NEOPTOLEMUS and the CHORUS.)


strophe 1

Master, instruct us, strangers as we are,
What we may utter, what we must conceal.
Doubtless the man we seek will entertain
Suspicion of us; how are we to act?
To those alone belongs the art to rule
Who bear the sceptre from the hand of Jove;
To thee of right devolves the power supreme,
From thy great ancestors delivered down;
Speak then, our royal lord, and we obey.

systema 1

If you would penetrate yon deep recess
To seek the cave where Philoctetes lies,
Go forward; but remember to return
When the poor wanderer comes this way, prepared
To aid our purpose here if need require.

antistrophe 1

O king! we ever meant to fix our eyes
On thee, and wait attentive to thy will;
But, tell us, in what part is he concealed?
'Tis fit we know the place, lest unobserved
He rush upon us. Which way doth it lie?
Seest thou his footsteps leading from the cave,
Or hither bent?
NEOPTOLEMUS (advancing towards the cave)

systema 2

Behold the double door
Of his poor dwelling, and the flinty bed.
And whither is its wretched master gone?

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