I am stricken, will no man succour me with merciful fire of sword?
Oh, will no one come and sever the head, at one fierce stroke,
from this wretched body? Woe, woe is me!
Son of Heracles, this task exceeds my strength,- help thou,- for
strength is at thy command, too largely to need my aid in his relief.
My hands are helping; but no resource, in myself or from
another, avails me to make his life forget its anguish:- such is the
doom appointed by Zeus!
O my son, where art thou? Raise me,- take hold of me,- thus
thus! Alas, my destiny!
Again, again the cruel pest leaps forth to rend me, the fierce
plague with which none may cope!
O Pallas, Pallas, it tortures me again! Alas, my son, pity thy
sire,- draw a blameless sword, and smite beneath my collar-bone, and
heal this pain wherewith thy godless mother hath made me wild! So
may I see her fall,- thus, even thus, as she hath destroyed me!
Sweet Hades, brother of Zeus, give me rest, give me rest,- end
my woe by a swiftly-sped doom!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
I shudder, friends, to hear these sorrows of our lord; what a
man is here, and what torments afflict him!
Ah, fierce full oft, and grievous not in name alone, have been the
labours of these hands, the burdens borne upon these shoulders! But no
toil ever laid on me by the wife of Zeus or by the hateful
Eurystheus was like unto this thing which the daughter of Oeneus, fair
and false, hath fastened upon my back,- this woven net of the
Furies, in which I perish! Glued to my sides, it hath eaten my flesh
to the inmost parts; it is ever with me, sucking the channels of my
breath; already it hath drained my fresh lifeblood, and my whole
body is wasted, a captive to these unutterable bonds.
Not the warrior on the battle-field, not the Giants' earth-born
host, nor the might of savage beasts, hath ever done unto me thus,-
not Hellas, nor the land of the alien, nor any land to which I have
come as a deliverer: no, a woman, a weak woman, born not to the
strength of man, all alone hath vanquished me, without stroke of sword
Son, show thyself my son indeed, and do not honour a mother's name
above a sire's: bring forth the woman that bare thee, and give her
with thine own hands into my hand, that I may know of a truth which
sight grieves thee most,- my tortured frame, or hers, when she suffers
her righteous doom!
Go, my son, shrink not- and show thy pity for me, whom many
might deem pitiful,- for me, moaning and weeping like a girl;- and the
man lives not who can say that he ever saw me do thus before; no,
without complaining I still went whither mine evil fortune led. But
now, alas, the strong man hath been found a woman.
Approach, stand near thy sire, and see what a fate it is that hath
brought me to this pass; for I will lift the veil. Behold! Look, all