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Philoctetes   


NEOPTOLEMUS
Oh! that these hands
Could vindicate my wrongs! Mycenae then
And Sparta should confess that Scyros boasts
Of sons as brave and valiant as their own.
PHILOCTETES
O noble youth! But wherefore cam'st thou hither?
Whence this resentment?
NEOPTOLEMUS
I will tell thee all,
If I can bear to tell it. Know then, soon
As great Achilles died-
PHILOCTETES
Oh, stay, my son!
Is then Achilles dead?
NEOPTOLEMUS
He is, and not
By mortal hand, but by Apollo's shaft
Fell glorious.
PHILOCTETES
Oh! most worthy of each other,
The slayer and the slain! Permit me, son,
To mourn his fate, ere I attend to thine.
NEOPTOLEMUS
Alas! thou needst not weep for others' woes,
Thou hast enough already of thy own.
PHILOCTETES
'Tis very true; and therefore to thy tale.
NEOPTOLEMUS
Thus then it was. Soon as Achilles died,
Phoenix, the guardian of his tender years,
Instant sailed forth, and sought me out at Scyros;
With him the wary chief Ulysses came.
They told me then (or true or false I know not),
My father dead, by me, and me alone
Proud Troy must fall. I yielded to their prayers;
I hoped to see at least the dear remains
Of him whom living I had long in vain
Wished to behold. Safe at Sigeum's port
Soon we arrived. In crowds the numerous host
Thronged to embrace me, called the gods to witness
In me once more they saw their loved Achilles
To life restored; but he, alas! was gone.
I shed the duteous tear, then sought my friends
Th' Atreidae friends I thought 'em!-claimed the arms
Of my dead father, and what else remained
His late possession: when- O cruel words!
And wretched I to hear them- thus they answered:
"Son of Achilles, thou in vain demandst
Those arms already to Ulysses given;
The rest be thine." I wept. "And is it thus,"
Indignant I replied, "ye dare to give
My right away?" "Know, boy," Ulysses cried,
"That right was mine. and therefore they bestowed
The boon on me: me who preserved the arms,
And him who bore them too." With anger fired
At this proud speech, I threatened all that rage
Could dictate to me if he not returned them.
Stung with my words, yet calm, he answered me:
"Thou wert not with us; thou wert in a place
Where thou shouldst not have been; and since thou meanst
To brave us thus, know, thou shalt never bear
Those arms with thee to Scyros; 'tis resolved."
Thus injured, thus deprived of all I held

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