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Pages of Philoctetes

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And you, O gods! who look upon this deed,
Punish, in pity to me, punish all
The guilty band! Could I behold them perish,
My wounds were nothing; that would heal them all.
Observe, my lord, what bitterness of soul
His words express; he bends not to misfortune,
But seems to brave it.
I could answer him,
Were this a time for words; but now, no more
Than this- I act as best befits our purpose.
Where virtue, truth, and justice are required
Ulysses yields to none; I was not born
To be o'ercome, and yet submit to thee.
Let him remain. Thy arrows shall suffice;
We want thee not! Teucer can draw thy bow
As well as thou; myself with equal strength
Can aim the deadly shaft, with equal skill.
What could thy presence do? Let Lemnos keep thee.
Farewell! perhaps the honours once designed
For thee may be reserved to grace Ulysses.
Alas! shall Greece then see my deadliest foe
Adorned with arms which I alone should bear?
No more! I must be gone.
Son of Achilles,
Thou wilt not leave me too? I must not lose
Thy converse, thy assistance.
Look not on him;
Away, I charge thee! 'Twould be fatal to us.
Will you forsake me, friends? Dwells no compassion
Within your breasts for me?
He is our master;
We speak and act but as his will directs.
I know be will upbraid me for this weakness,
But 'tis my nature, and I must consent,
Since Philoctetes asks it. Stay you with him,
Till to the gods our pious prayers we offer,
And all things are prepared for our departure;
Perhaps, meantime, to better thoughts his mind
May turn relenting. We must go. Remember,
When we shall call you, follow instantly.

(NEOPTOLEMUS, still with the bow in his hands,
goes out with ULYSSES. The lines in the following scene
between PHILOCTETES and the CHORUS are chanted responsively.)

O my poor hut! and is it then decreed
Again I come to thee to part no more,
To end my wretched days in this sad cave,
The scene of all my woes? For whither now
Can I betake me? Who will feed, support,
Or cherish Philoctetes? Not a hope
Remains for me. Oh! that th' impetuous storms
Would bear me with them to some distant clime!
For I must perish here.

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