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Philoctetes   


CHORUS
New troubles; for behold he comes!
Not like the shepherd with his rural pipe
And cheerful song, but groaning heavily.
Either his wounded foot against some thorn
Hath struck, and pains him sorely, or perchance
He hath espied from far some ship attempting
To enter this inhospitable port,
And hence his cries to save it from destruction.

(PHILOCTETES enters, clad in rags. He moves with difficulty
and is obviously suffering pain from his injured foot.)


PHILOCTETES
Say, welcome strangers, what disastrous fate
Led you to this inhospitable shore,
Nor haven safe, nor habitation fit
Affording ever? Of what clime, what race?
Who are ye? Speak! If I may trust that garb,
Familiar once to me, ye are of Greece,
My much-loved country. Let me hear the sound
Of your long wished-for voices. Do not look
With horror on me, but in kind compassion
Pity a wretch deserted and forlorn
In this sad place. Oh! if ye come as friends,
Speak then, and answer- hold some converse with me,
For this at least from man to man is due.
NEOPTOLEMUS
Know, stranger, first what most thou seemst to wish;
We are of Greece.
PHILOCTETES
Oh! happiness to hear!
After so many years of dreadful silence,
How welcome was that sound! Oh! tell me, son,
What chance, what purpose, who conducted thee?
What brought thee thither, what propitious gale?
Who art thou? Tell me all- inform me quickly.
NEOPTOLEMUS
Native of Scyros, hither I return;
My name is Neoptolemus, the son
Of brave Achilles. I have told thee all.
PHILOCTETES
Dear is thy country, and thy father dear
To me, thou darling of old Lycomede;
But tell me in what fleet, and whence thou cam'st.
NEOPTOLEMUS
From Troy.
PHILOCTETES
From Troy? I think thou wert not with us
When first our fleet sailed forth.
NEOPTOLEMUS
Wert thou then there?
Or knowst thou aught of that great enterprise?
PHILOCTETES
Know you not then the man whom you behold?
NEOPTOLEMUS
How should I know whom I had never seen?
PHILOCTETES
Have you ne'er heard of me, nor of my name?
Hath my sad story never reached your ear?
NEOPTOLEMUS
Never.
PHILOCTETES
Alas! how hateful to the gods,

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