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Trachiniae   


DEIANEIRA
And why is he not here, if he brings good news?
MESSENGER
His task, lady, is no easy one; all the Malian folk have
thronged around him with questions, and he cannot move forward: each
and all are bent on learning what they desire, and will not release
him until they are satisfied. Thus their eagerness detains him against
his will; but thou shalt presently see him face to face.
DEIANEIRA
O Zeus, who rulest the meads of Oeta, sacred from the scythe, at
last, though late, thou hast given us joy! Uplift your voices, ye
women within the house and ye beyond our gates, since now we are
gladdened by the light of this message, that hath risen on us beyond
my hope!
LEADER OF ONE SEMI-CHORUS (singing)
Let the maidens raise a joyous strain for the house, with songs of
triumph at the hearth; and, amidst them, let the shout of the men go
up with one accord for Apollo of the bright quiver, our Defender!
And at the same time, ye maidens, lift up a paean, cry aloud to his
sister, the Ortygian Artemis, smiter of deer, goddess of the twofold
torch, and to the Nymphs her neighbours!
LEADER OF OTHER SEMI-CHORUS
My spirit soars; I will not reject the wooing of the flute.- O
thou sovereign of my soul! Lo, the ivy's spell begins to work upon me!
Euoe!- even now it moves me to whirl in the swift dance of Bachanals!
CHORUS
Praise, praise unto the Healer!
LEADER OF WHOLE CHORUS
See, dear lady, see! Behold, these tidings are taking shape before
thy gaze.
DEIANEIRA
I see it, dear maidens; my watching eyes had not failed to note
yon company. (Enter LICHAS, followed by Captive Maidens.
Conspicuous among them is IOLE.)
-All hail to the herald, whose
coming hath been so long delayed!- if indeed thou bringest aught
that can give joy.
LICHAS
We are happy in our return, and happy in thy greeting, lady, which
befits the deed achieved; for when a man hath fair fortune, he needs
must win good welcome.
DEIANEIRA
O best of friends, tell me first what first I would know,- shall I
receive Heracles alive?
LICHAS
I, certainly, left him alive and well,- in vigorous health,
unburdened by disease.
DEIANEIRA
Where, tell me- at home, or on foreign soil?
LICHAS
There is a headland of Euboea, where to Cenaean Zeus he
consecrates altars, and the tribute of fruitful ground.
DEIANEIRA
In payment of a vow, or at the bidding of an oracle?
LICHAS
For a vow, made when he was seeking to conquer and despoil the
country of these women who are before thee.
DEIANEIRA
And these- who are they, I pray thee, and whose daughters? They
deserve pity, unless their plight deceives me.
LICHAS
These are captives whom he chose out for himself and for the gods,
when he sacked the city of Eurytus.
DEIANEIRA
Was it the war against that city which kept him away so long,

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