I swear it, with Zeus for witness of the oath.
And pray that, if thou break this oath, thou mayest suffer.
I shall not suffer, for I shall keep it:- yet so I pray.
Well, thou knowest the summit of Oeta, sacred to Zeus?
Ay; I have often stood at his altar on that height.
Thither, then, thou must carry me up with thine own hands, aided
by what friends thou wilt; thou shalt lop many a branch from the
deep-rooted oak, and hew many a faggot also from the sturdy stock of
the wild-olive; thou shalt lay my body thereupon, and kindle it with
And let no tear of mourning be seen there; no, do this without
lament and without weeping, if thou art indeed my son. But if thou
do it not, even from the world below my curse and my wrath shall
wait on thee for ever.
Alas, my father, what hast thou spoken? How hast thou dealt with
I have spoken that which thou must perform; if thou wilt not, then
get thee some other sire, and be called my son no more!
Woe, woe is me! What a deed dost thou require of me, my
father,-that I should become thy murderer, guilty of thy blood!
Not so, in truth, but healer of my sufferings, sole physician of
And how, by enkindling thy body, shall I heal it?
Nay, if that thought dismay thee, at least perform the rest.
The service of carrying thee shall not be refused.
And the heaping of the pyre, as I have bidden?
Yea, save that I will not touch it with mine own hand. All else
will I do, and thou shalt have no hindrance on my part.
Well, so much shall be enough.- But add one small boon to thy
Be the boon never so large, it shall be granted.
Knowest thou, then, the girl whose sire was Eurytus?
It is of Iole that thou speakest, if I mistake not.
Even so. This, in brief, is the charge that I give thee, my son.
When am dead, if thou wouldest show a pious remembrance of thine
oath unto thy father, disobey me not, but take this woman to be thy
wife. Let no other espouse her who hath lain at my side, but do
thou, O my son, make that marriage-bond thine own. Consent: after
loyalty in great matters, to rebel in less is to cancel the grace that
bad been won.
Ah me, it is not well to be angry with a sick man: but who could
bear to see him in such a mind?