Last year, they say, through all the months, he toiled as
bondman to Lydian woman.
If he bore that, then no tidings can surprise.
Well, he has been delivered from that, as I hear.
Where, then, is he reported to be now,- alive or dead?
He is waging or planning a war, they say, upon Euboea, the realm
Knowest thou, my son, that he hath left with me sure oracles
touching that land?
What are they, mother? I know not whereof thou speakest.
That either he shall meet his death, or, having achieved this
task, shall have rest thenceforth, for all his days to come.
So, my child, when his fate is thus trembling in the scale, wilt
thou not go to succour him? For we are saved, if he find safety, or we
perish with him.
Ay, I will go, my mother; and, had I known the import of these
prophecies, I had been there long since; but, as it was, my father's
wonted fortune suffered me not to feel fear for him, or to be
anxious overmuch. Now that I have the knowledge, I will spare no pains
to learn the whole truth in this matter.
Go, then, my son; be the seeker ne'er so late, he is rewarded if
he learn tidings of joy.
(HYLLUS departs as the CHORUS OF TRACHINIAN MAIDENS enters. They
are free-born young women of Trachis who are friends and confidantes
of DEIANEIRA. She remains during their opening choral song.)
Thou whom Night brings forth at the moment when she is despoiled
of her starry crown, and lays to rest in thy splendour, tell me,
pray thee, O Sun-god, tell me where abides Alcmena's son? Thou
glorious lord of flashing light, say, is he threading the straits of
the sea, or hath he found an abode on either continent? Speak, thou
who seest as none else can see!
For Deianeira, as I hear, hath ever an aching heart; she, the
battle-prize of old, is now like some bird lorn of its mate; she can
never lull her yearning, nor stay her tears; haunted by a sleepless
fear for her absent lord, she pines on her anxious, widowed couch,
miserable in her foreboding of mischance.
As one may see billow after billow driven over the wide deep by
the tireless south-wind or the north, so the trouble of his life,
stormy as the Cretan sea, now whirls back the son of Cadmus, now lifts
him to honour. But some god ever saves him from the house of death,
and suffers him not to fail.