of you, on this miserable body; see how wretched, how piteous is my
Ah, woe is me!
The burning throe of torment is there anew, it darts through my
sides- I must wrestle once more with that cruel, devouring plague!
O thou lord of the dark realm, receive me! Smite me, O fire of
Zeus! Hurl down thy thunderbolt, O King, send it, O father, upon my
head! For again the pest is consuming me; it hath blazed forth, it
hath started into fury! O hands, my hands, O shoulders and breast
and trusty arms, ye, now in this plight, are the same whose force of
old subdued the dweller in Nemea, the scourge of herdsmen, the lion, a
creature that no man might approach or confront; ye tamed the Lernaean
Hydra, and that monstrous host of double form, man joined to steed,
a race with whom none may commune, violent, lawless, of surpassing
might; ye tamed the Erymanthian beast, and the three-headed whelp of
Hades underground, a resistless terror, offspring of the dread
Echidna; ye tamed the dragon that guarded the golden fruit in the
utmost places of the earth.
These toils and countless others have I proved, nor hath any man
vaunted a triumph over my prowess. But now, with joints unhinged and
with flesh torn to shreds, I have become the miserable prey of an
unseen destroyer,- I, who am called the son of noblest mother,- I,
whose reputed sire is Zeus, lord of the starry sky.
But ye may be sure of one thing:- though I am as nought, though
I cannot move a step, yet she who hath done this deed shall feel my
heavy hand even now: let her but come, and she shall learn to proclaim
this message unto all, that in my death, as in my life, I chastised
Ah, hapless Greece, what mourning do I forsee for her, if she must
lose this man
Father, since thy pause permits an answer, hear me, afflicted
though thou art. I will ask thee for no more than is my due. Accept my
counsels, in a calmer mood than that to which this anger stings
thee: else thou canst not learn how vain is thy desire for
vengeance, and how causeless thy resentment.
Say what thou wilt, and cease; in this my pain I understand nought
of all thy riddling words.
I come to tell thee of my mother,- how it is now with her, and how
she sinned unwittingly.
Villain! What- hast thou dared to breathe her name again in my
hearing,- the name of the mother who hath slain thy sire?
Yea, such is her state that silence is unmeet.
Unmeet, truly, in view of her past crimes.
And also of her deeds this day,- as thou wilt own.
Speak,- but give heed that thou be not found a traitor.
These are my tidings. She is dead, lately slain.
By whose hand? A wondrous message, from a prophet of ill-omened
By her own hand, and no stranger's.
Alas, ere she died by mine, as she deserved!