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Trachiniae   


CHORUS
What dost thou tell us?
NURSE
The sure truth.
CHORUS
The first-born, the first-born of that new bride is a dread Erinys
for this house!
NURSE
Too true; and, hadst thou been an eye-witness of the action,
verily thy pity would have been yet deeper.
LEADER
And could a woman's hand dare to do such deeds?
NURSE
Yea, with dread daring; thou shalt hear, and then thou wilt bear
me witness.
When she came alone into the house, and saw her son preparing a
deep litter in the court, that he might go back with it to meet his
sire, then she hid herself where none might see; and, falling before
the altars, she wailed aloud that they were left desolate; and, when
she touched any-household thing that she had been wont to use, poor
lady, in the past, her tears would flow; or when, roaming hither and
thither through the house, she beheld the form of any well-loved
servant, she wept, hapless one, at that sight, crying aloud upon her
own fate, and that of the household which would thenceforth be in
the power of others.
But when she ceased from this, suddenly I beheld her rush into the
chamber of Heracles. From a secret place of espial, I watched her; and
saw her spreading coverings on the couch of her lord. When she had
done this, she sprang thereon, and sat in the middle of the bed; her
tears burst forth in burning streams, and thus she spake: 'Ah,
bridal bed and bridal chamber mine, farewell now and for ever; never
more shall ye receive me to rest upon this couch.' She said no more,
but with a vehement hand loosed her robe, where the gold-wrought
brooch lay above her breast, baring all her left side and arm. Then
I ran with all my strength, and warned her son of her intent. But
lo, in the space between my going and our return, she had driven a
two-edged sword through her side to the heart.
At that sight, her son uttered a great cry; for he knew, alas,
that in his anger he had driven her to that deed; and he had
learned, too late, from the servants in the house that she had acted
without knowledge, by the prompting of the Centaur. And now the youth,
in his misery, bewailed her with all passionate lament; he knelt,
and showered kisses on her lips; he threw himself at her side upon the
ground, bitterly crying that he had rashly smitten her with a
slander,- weeping that he must now live bereaved of both alike,- of
mother and of sire.
Such are the fortunes of this house. Rash indeed, is he who
reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for to-morrow is
not, until to-day is safely past.
CHORUS (singing)

strophe 1

Which woe shall I bewail first, which misery is the greater? Alas,
'tis hard for me to tell.

antistrophe 1

One sorrow may be seen in the house; for one we wait with
foreboding: and suspense hath a kinship with pain.

strophe 2

Oh that some strong breeze might come with wafting power unto

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