brought the gift from thee alone, as it had been sent. When his master
heard it, as a piercing spasm clutched his lungs, he caught him by the
foot, where the ankle turns in the socket, and hurled him at a
surf-beaten rock in the sea; and he made the white brain to ooze
from the hair, as the skull was dashed to splinters, and blood
But all the people lifted up a cry of awe-struck grief, seeing
that one was frenzied, and the other slain; and no one dared to come
before the man. For the pain dragged him to earth, or made him leap
into the air, with yells and shrieks, till the cliffs rang around,
steep headlands of Locris, and Euboean capes.
But when he was spent with oft throwing himself on the ground in
his anguish, and oft making loud lament,- cursing his fatal marriage
with thee, the vile one, and his alliance with Oeneus,- saying how
he had found in it the ruin of his life,- then from out of the
shrouding altar-smoke, he lifted up his wildly-rolling eyes, and saw
me in the great crowd, weeping. He turned his gaze on me, and called
me: 'O son, draw near; do not fly from my trouble, even though thou
must share my death. Come, bear me forth, and set me, if thou canst,
in a place where no man shall see me; or, if thy pity forbids that, at
least convey me with all speed out of this land, and let me not die
where I am.'
That command sufficed; we laid him in mid-ship, and brought
him-but hardly brought him- to this shore, moaning in his torments.
And ye shall presently behold him, alive, or lately dead.
Such, mother, are the designs and deeds against my sire whereof
thou hast been found guilty. May avenging justice and the Erinys visit
thee for them! Yes, if it be right, that is my prayer: and right it
is,- for I have seen thee trample on the right, by slaying the noblest
man in all the world, whose like thou shalt see nevermore!
(DEIANEIRA moves towards the house.)
LEADER (to DEIANEIRA)
Why dost thou depart in silence? Knowest thou not that such
silence pleads for thine accuser?
(DEIANEIRA goes in the house.)
Let her depart. A fair wind speed her far from my sight! Why
should the name of mother bring her a semblance of respect, when she
is all unlike a mother in her deeds? No, let her go,- farewell to her;
and may such joy as she gives my sire become her own!
(Exit HYLLUS, into the house.)
See, maidens, how suddenly the divine word of the old prophecy
hath come upon us, which said that, when the twelfth year should
have run through its full tale of months, it should end the series
of toils for the true-born son of Zeus! And that promise is wafted
surely to its fulfilment. For how shall he who beholds not the light
have toilsome servitude any more beyond the grave?
If a cloud of death is around him, and the doom wrought by the
Centaur's craft is stinging his sides, where cleaves the venom which
Thanatos begat and the gleaming serpent nourished, how can he look
upon tomorrow's sun,- when that appalling Hydra-shape holds him in its
grip, and those murderous goads, prepared by the wily words of
black-haired Nessus, have started into fury, vexing him with