Indeed, I have just been seeing to this for thee, Lichas, while
thou wast speaking to the stranger maidens in the house;- that thou
shouldest take for me this long robe, woven by mine own hand, a gift
to mine absent lord.
And when thou givest it, charge him that he, and no other, shall
be the first to wear it; that it shall not be seen by the light of the
sun, nor by the sacred precinct, nor by the fire at the hearth,
until he stand forth, conspicuous before all eyes, and show it to
the gods on a day when bulls are slain.
For thus had I vowed,- that if I should ever see or hear that he
had come safely home, I would duly clothe him in this robe, and so
present him to the gods, newly radiant at their altar in new garb.
As proof, thou shalt carry a token, which he will quickly
recognise within the circle of this seal.
Now go thy way; and, first, remember the rule that messengers
should not be meddlers; next, so bear thee that my thanks may be
joined to his doubling the grace which thou shalt win.
Nay, if I ply this herald-craft of Hermes with any sureness, I
will never trip in doing thine errand: I will not fail to deliver this
casket as it is, and to add thy words in attestation of thy gift.
Thou mayest be going now; for thou knowest well how things are
with us in the house.
I know, and will report, that all hath prospered.
And then thou hast seen the greeting given to the stranger
maiden-thou knowest how I welcomed her?
So that my heart was filled with wondering joy.
What more, then, is there for thee to tell? I am afraid that it
would be too soon to speak of the longing on my part, before we know
if I am longed for there.
(LICHAS departs with the casket
and DEIANEIRA retires into the house.)
O ye who dwell by the warm springs between haven and crag, and
by Oeta's heights; O dwellers by the land-locked waters of the
Malian sea, on the shore sacred to the virgin-goddess of the golden
shafts, where the Greeks meet in famous council at the Gates;
Soon shall the glorious voice of the flute go up for you again,
resounding with no harsh strain of grief, but with such music as the
lyre maketh to the gods! For the son whom Alcmena bore to Zeus is
hastening homeward, with the trophies of all prowess.
He was lost utterly to our land, a wanderer over sea, while we
waited through twelve long months, and knew nothing; and his loving
wife, sad dweller with sad thoughts, was ever pining amid her tears.
But now the War-god, roused to fury, hath delivered her from the
days of her mourning.