beyond all forecast, past all count of days?
Not so: the greater part of the time he was detained in Lydia,- no
free man, as he declares, but sold into bondage. No offence should
attend on the word, lady, when the deed is found to be of Zeus. So
he passed a whole year, as he himself avows, in thraldom to Omphale
the barbarian. And so stung was he by that reproach, he bound
himself by a solemn oath that he would one day enslave, with wife
and child, the man who had brought that calamity upon him. Nor did
he speak the word in vain; but, when he bad been purged, gathered an
alien host, and went against the city of Eurytus. That man, he said,
alone of mortals, had a share in causing his misfortune. For when
Heracles, an old friend, came to his house and hearth, Eurytus
heaped on him the taunts of a bitter tongue and spiteful soul,-
saying, 'Thou hast unerring arrows in thy hands, and yet my sons
surpass thee in the trial of archery'; 'Thou art a slave,' he cried,
'a free man's broken thrall': and at a banquet, when his guest was
full of wine, he thrust him from his doors.
Wroth thereat, when afterward Iphitus came to the hill of
Tiryns, in search for horses that had strayed, Heracles seized a
moment when the man's wandering thoughts went not with his wandering
gaze, and hurled him from a tower-like summit. But in anger at that
deed, Zeus our lord, Olympian sire of all, sent him forth into
bondage, and spared not, because, this once, he had taken a life by
guile. Had he wreaked his vengeance openly, Zeus would surely have
pardoned him the righteous triumph; for the gods, too, love not
So those men, who waxed so proud with bitter speech, are
themselves in the mansions of the dead, all of them, and their city is
enslaved; while the women whom thou beholdest, fallen from happiness
to misery, come here to thee; for such was thy lord's command, which
I, his faithful servant, perform. He himself, thou mayest be sure,- so
soon as he shall have offered holy sacrifice for his victory to Zeus
from whom he sprang,- will be with thee. After all the fair tidings
that have been told, this, indeed, is the sweetest word to hear.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Now, O Queen, thy joy is assured; part is with thee, and thou hast
promise of the rest.
Yea, have I not the fullest reason to rejoice at these tidings
of my lord's happy fortune? To such fortune, such joy must needs
respond. And yet a prudent mind can see room for misgiving lest he who
prospers should one day suffer reverse. A strange pity hath come
over me, friends, at the sight of these ill-fated exiles, homeless and
fatherless in a foreign land; once the daughters, perchance, of
free-born sires, but now doomed to the life of slaves. O Zeus, who
turnest the tide of battle, never may I see child of mine thus visited
by thy hand; nay, if such visitation is to be, may it not fall while
Deianeira lives! Such dread do I feel, beholding these.
(To IOLE) Ah, hapless girl, say, who art thou? A maiden, or a
mother? To judge by thine aspect, an innocent maiden, and of a noble
race. Lichas, whose daughter is this stranger? Who is her mother,
who her sire? Speak, I pity her more than all the rest, when I
behold her; as she alone shows due feeling for her plight.
How should I know? Why should'st thou ask me? Perchance the off,
spring of not the meanest in yonder land.
Can she be of royal race? Had Eurytus a daughter?
I know not; indeed, I asked not many questions.
And thou hast not heard her name from any of her companions?