SENECA, TROADES
 

SENECA INDEX

HERCULES FURENS 1

HERCULES FURENS 2

TROADES

MEDEA

PHAEDRA

OEDIPUS

AGAMEMNON

THYESTES

HERCULES OETAEUS 1

HERCULES OETAEUS 2

PHOENISSAE

TROADES, TRANSLATED BY FRANK JUSTUS MILLER

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

AGAMEMNON, king of the Greek forces in the war against Troy
PYRRHUS, son of Achilles, one of the active leaders in the final events of the war.
ULYSSES, king of Ithaca, one of the most powerful and crafty of the Greek chiefs before Troy.
CALCHAS, a priest and prophet among the Greeks.
TALTHYBIUS, a Greek messenger.
AN OLD MAN, faithful to Andromache.
ASTYANAX, little son of Hector and Andromache.
HECUBA, widow of Priam, one of the Trojan captives.
ANDROMACHE, widow of Hector, a Trojan captive.
HELENA, wife of Menelaüs, king of Sparta, and afterwards of Paris, a prince of Troy; the exciting cause of the Trojan war.

THE SCENE is laid on the seashore, with the smouldering ruins of Troy in the background.
THE TIME is the day before the embarkation of the Greeks on their homeward journey.

ARGUMENT

The long and toilsome siege of Troy is done. Her stately palaces and massive walls have been overthrown and lie darkening the sky with their still smouldering ruins. Her heroic defenders are either slain or scattered, seeking other homes in distant lands. The victorious Greeks have gathered the rich spoils of Troy upon the shore, among these the Trojan women, who have suffered the usual fate of women when a city is sacked. They await the lot which shall assign them to their Grecian lords and scatter them among the cities of their foes. All things are ready for the start.
But now the ghost of Achilles has risen from the tomb, and demanded that Polyxena be sacrificed to him before the Greeks shall be allowed to sail away. And Calchas, also, bids that Astyanax be slain, for only thus can Greece be safe from any future Trojan war. And thus the Trojan captives, who have so long endured the pains of war, must suffer still this double tragedy.

HECUBA
[1] Whoever trusts in sovereignty and strongly lords it in his princely hall, who fears not the fickle gods and has given up his trustful soul to joy, on me let him look and on thee, O Troy. Never did fortune give larger proof on how frail ground stand the proud. O’erthrown and fallen is mighty Asia’s prop,1 famous work of gods; she to whose assistance came he2 who drinks chill Tanaïs, spreading its sevenfold mouths, he3 who first greets the new-born day, where mingle the warm waters of Tigris with the ruddy sea, and she4 who sees o’er her borders the wandering Scythians and with her virgin hordes scourges the Pontic shore – e’en she by the sword is razed, Pergamum upon herself has fallen. See! The towering glories of her high-piled wall lie low, her dwellings consumed by fire; the flames lick round her palace, and all the house of Assaracus smokes on every side. The flames check not the victor’s greedy hands; Troy is plundered even while she burns; the face of day, obscured as by an impenetrable cloud, is black and foul with the ashes of Ilium. With wrath still unglutted the victor stands, eyeing long-lingering Ilium, and at last, spite of his savage hate, forgives the ten long years; he quakes even at her ruins and, though he sees her overthrown, yet trusts not his own witness that she could have been overthrown. The plunderer hurries away the Dardan spoils, booty which a thousand ships cannot contain.

[28] I call to witness the divinity of the gods, hostile to me, the ashes of my country, thee,5 ruler of Phrygia, whom, buried beneath thy whole realm, Troy covers, and the shades of thee6 with whose standing Ilium stood, and you, great troops of children mine, ye lesser shades: whatever disaster has befallen us, whatever evils Phoebus’ bride,7 raving with frenzied lips, foretold, though the god forbade that she should be believed, I, Hecuba, big with child,8 saw first, nor did I keep my fears unuttered, and I before Cassandra was a prophetess unheeded. ‘Tis not the crafty Ithacan,9 nor the night-prowling comrade10 of the Ithacan, who has scattered firebrands ‘mongst you, nor the lying Sinon – mine is that fire, by my brands are you burning.

[41] But why lamentest thou the downfall of a city overthrown, old age that clingest too long to life? Think thou, ill-fated, on these recent griefs; Troy’s fall is now an ancient woe. I saw the accursed murder of the king and at the very altar (crime past belief) the arms of Aeacides,11 when he, with left hand clutching the old man’s hair, bent back the royal head and into the deep wound savagely thrust the impious steel; and when with right good will he had plucked away the deep-driven sword, it came unwetted from the old man’s throat. Ah, whose rage might not have been stayed from savage slaughter by one close drawing to the last period of mortal life, by the gods who beheld the crime, and by what was once the sanctuary of a fallen realm? Priam, that father of so many princes, lies unentombed and lacks a funeral torch, though Troy is burning. And yet the gods are not satisfied; behold, the urn by lot is choosing lords for the matrons and maids of Priam’s house, and I, a spoil unprized, shall follow some new lord. One promises himself the wife of Hector, one prays that Helenus’ wife be his, and one, Antenor’s; nor is one wanting who seeks thy couch, Cassandra; my lot is dreaded, I only am a terror to the Greeks.

[63] Do your wailings falter? O throng of mine, captives as ye are, smite breasts with palms, make loud laments, due rites for Troy perform. Long since ‘twere time for fatal Ida to resound, home of the ill-omened judge.12

CHORUS
[68] No untrained company, stranger to tears, dost thou bid mourn; this have we done for years unceasing, from when the Phrygian guest13 touched at Grecian Amyclae, and the waves were cleft by the pine sacred to mother Cybele.14 Ten times has Ida whitened with her snows, ten times been stripped for our funeral pyres, and in the Sigean fields ten harvests has the trembling reaper cut, since when no day has been without its grief. But now we have new cause for weeping. On with your lamentation, and do thou, O queen, lift high thy wretched hand. We, the common throng, will follow our mistress; well trained in mourning are we.

HECUBA
[83] Trusty comrades of my fate, unbind your locks; over your sorrowing shoulders let them flow, defiled with Troy’s warm dust. Fill your hands – so much may we take from Troy. Let the band their bared arms make ready; let down your robes and bind their folds; down to the waist let your forms be bared. For what husband dost veil thy breast, O captive modesty? Let our mantles gird up the loose-flowing tunics,15 let mad hands be free for raining the blows of woe – ‘tis well, this attire is well; now do I recognize my Trojan band. Repeat once more your old lamentations; exceed your wonted manner of weeping; ‘tis for Hector we weep.

CHORUS
[99] We have all loosed our locks at many a funeral torn; our hair has fall’n free from its knot, and hot ashes have sprinkled our faces. From our bared shoulders our garments fall and cover only our loins with their folds. Now naked breasts invite our hands; now, now, O Grief, put forth thy strength. Let the Rhoetean shores resound with our mourning, and let Echo, who dwells in the caves of the mountains, not, after her wont, curtly repeat our final words alone, but give back our full mourning for Troy. Let ever sea hear us, and sky. Smite, hands, bruised breasts with mighty beating; I am not content with the accustomed sound – ‘tis for Hector we weep.

HECUBA
[117] For thee16 my right hand smites my arms, and bleeding shoulders it smites for thee; for thee my hand beats on my head, for thee my breasts with a mother’s palms are mangled. Let flow and stream with blood, bleeding afresh, whatever wound I made at thy funeral. O prop of thy country, hindrance of fate, thou bulwark for weary Phrygians, thou wast our country’s wall; propped on thy shoulders, ten years she stood; with thee she fell, and Hector’s last day was his country’s, too.

[130] Turn now your mourning; for Priam shed your tears; Hector has enough.

CHORUS
[132] Receive our mourning, O ruler of Phrygia; receive our tears, twice-captured old man. Naught has Troy suffered once in thy reign; nay, twice she endured the battering of her Dardanian walls by Grecian steel and twice17 felt the arrows of Hercules. After Hecuba’s sons were borne out to burial, after that troop of princes, thou, father, dost close the long funeral train and, slaughtered as a victim to mighty Jove,18 on Sigeum’s strand headless thou liest.

HECUBA
[142] Otherwhere turn ye your tears; not to be pitied is my Priam’s death, ye Trojans. Cry ye all, “Happy Priam!” Free fares he to the deep land of spirits, nor ever will bear on his conquered neck the yoke of the Grecians; he does not look upon the two sons of Atreus, nor behold crafty Ulysses; he will not, as booty of Argolic triumph, bend neck ‘neath their trophies; he will not yield hands to be bound which have wielded the sceptre, nor, following the car of Agamemnon, wearing gold fetters, will he make show for wide-spreading Mycenae.

CHORUS
[157] “Happy Priam,” say we all. With him, in departing, he has taken his kingdom; now in the peaceful shades of Elysium’s grove he wanders, and happy midst pious souls he seeks for his Hector. Happy Priam, happy whoe’er, dying in battle, has with his death made an end of all.

[Enter TALTHYBIUS.]

TALTHYBIUS
[164] O delay, ever long for Greeks in harbour, whether they would seek war or seek fatherland!

CHORUS
[166] Tell thou what cause delays the Grecian fleet, what god blocks the homeward paths.

TALTHYBIUS
[168] My spirit is afraid; shivering horror makes my limbs to quake. Portents transcending truth scarce gain belief – but I saw it, with my own eyes I saw. The sun was just grazing the hill-tops with his morning rays and day had vanquished night, when suddenly the earth with hidden rumblings rocked convulsive and brought to light her innermost recesses; the woods tossed their tops and the lofty forest and sacred grove resounded with huge crashing; and rocks came falling from the shivered heights of Ida. Nor did the earth only tremble; the sea, too, felt its own Achilles near and stilled its waters. Then was the valley rent asunder, revealing caverns measureless, and yawning Erebus gave passage-way through the cleft earth to the world above and opened up the tomb.19 Forth leaped the mighty shade of the Thessalian chief, such shape as when practising for thy fate, O Troy, he laid low the Thracian20 arms, or smote the son21 of Neptune with white plumes gleaming; or when, amidst the ranks raging in furious battle, he choked rivers with corpses, and Xanthus, seeking his way, wandered slowly along with bloody stream; or when he stood in his proud car victorious, plying the reins and dragging Hector – and Troy.

[190] The shout of the enraged hero filled all the shore: “Go, go, ye cowards, bear off the honours due to my spirit; loose your ungrateful ships to sail away over my22 seas. At no small price did Greece avert the wrath of Achilles, and the great cost shall she avert it. Let Polyxena, once pledged to me, be sacrificed to my dust by the hand of Pyrrhus and bedew my tomb.” So speaking with deep voice, he bade farewell to day and, plunging down to Dis once more, closed the huge chasm as the earth was again united. The tranquil waters lie motionless, the wind has given up its threats, the calm sea murmurs with gentle waves, from the deep the band of Tritons has sounded the wedding hymn.

[Enter PYRRHUS and AGAMEMNON.]

PYRRHUS
[203] When thou wast spreading joyful sails for thy return over the sea, Achilles was quite forgot, who by his sole hand made Troy to totter, so that – whate’er delay was added after his death – she but stood wavering which way to fall. Though thou shouldst wish and haste to give him what he seeks, thou wouldst give too late; already have all the chiefs made choice of their spoils. What meaner prize can be given to his great worth? Or was his desert but slight who, bidden to shun the war and idly spend a long old age, surpassing the years of the ancient Pylian,23 put off his mother’s wiles and those disguising garments, confessing himself a man by his choice of arms? When Telephus, unbridled ruler of inhospitable realm, refused him passage through warlike Mysia, he with his royal blood first dyed that inexperienced hand, and found that same hand brave and merciful. Thebes fell and conquered Eëtion saw his kingdom taken; by a like disaster little Lyrnesos, perched on a high hill, was overthrown, and the land famous for Briseïs’ capture; Chyrse, too, lies low, cause of strife for kings, and Tenedos, well known in fame, and fertile Scyros, which on its rich pasturage feeds the Thracian flocks, and Lesbos, cleaving in twain the Aegean sea, and Cilla, sacred to Phoebus; and what of the lands which the Caÿcus washes, his waters swollen by the floods of spring?

[229] This great overthrow of nations, this widespread terror, all these cities wrecked as by a tornado’s blast, to another could have been glory and the height of fame; to Achilles they were but deeds upon the way. ‘Twas thus my father came, and so great wars he waged while but preparing war. Though I speak not of other merits, would not Hector alone have been enough? My father conquered Ilium; you have plundered it. Proud am I to rehearse my great sire’s illustrious praises and glorious deeds: Hector lies low, slain before his father’s eyes, and Memnon before his uncle’s, in sorrow for whose death his mother24 with wan face ushered in a mournful day, while the victor shuddered at the lesson of his own work, and Achilles learned that even sons of goddesses can die. Then fell the fierce Amazon,25 our latest dread. Thou art Achilles’ debtor, if rightly thou estimate his worth, even if he should ask a maiden from Mycenae and from Argos.26 Dost hesitate and now of a sudden deem wrong what has already been approved,27 and count it cruel to sacrifice Priam’s daughter to Peleus’son? And yet thine own daughter for Helen’s sake thou, her sire, didst immolate. I claim but what is already use and precedent.

AGAMEMNON
[250] Ungoverned violence is a fault of youth; in the case of others ‘tis the first fervour of their years that sweeps them on, but with Pyrrhus ‘tis his father’s heat. The blustering airs and threats of arrogant Aeacides I once bore unmoved. The greater the might, the more should be the patience to endure.

[255] Why with cruel bloodshed dost thou besmirch the noble shade of an illustrious chief? This ‘twere fitting first to learn, what the victor ought to do, the vanquished, suffer. Ungoverned power no one can long retain; controlled, it lasts; and the higher Fortune has raised and exalted the might of man, the more does it become him to be modest in prosperity, to tremble at shifting circumstance, and to fear the gods when they are overkind. That greatness can be in a moment overthrown I have learned by conquering. Does Troy make us too arrogant and bold? We Greeks are standing in the place whence she has fallen. In the past, I grant, I have been headstrong in government and borne myself too haughtily; but such pride has been broken by that cause which could have produced it in another, e’en Fortune’s favour. Thou, Priam, mak’st me proud – and fearful, too.

[271] Should I count sovereignty anything but a name bedecked with empty glamour, a brow adorned with a lying coronet? Brief chance will plunder these, mayhap without the aid of a thousand ships or ten long years: Fate hangs not over all so long. For my part, I will confess – thy pardon for saying it, O Argive land! – I wished to see the Phrygians beaten down and conquered; but overthrown and razed to the ground – would that I could have spared them that. But wrath, the fiery foeman, victory given to night’s charge, these cannot be kept in hand. All that any might have deemed unworthy in me or brutal, this resentment wrought and darkness, whereby fury is spurred to greater fury, and the victorious sword, whose blood-lust, when once stained with blood, is madness. All that can survive of ruined Troy let it survive; enough and more of punishment has been exacted. That a royal maid should fall, be offered to a tomb, should water the ashes of the dead, and that men should call foul murder marriage, I will not permit. The blame of all comes back on me; he who, when he may, forbids not sin, commands it.

PYRRHUS
[292] And shall Achilles’ ghost gain no reward?

AGAMEMNON
[293] It shall; all shall sing his praises and unknown lands shall hear his mighty name. But if his dust can be appeased only by on-poured blood, let Phrygian cattle, rich spoil, be slain, and let blood flow which will cause no mother’s tears. What custom this? When was a human victim offered up in honour of human dead? Save thy father from scorn and hate, whom thou art bidding us honour by a maiden’s death.

PYRRHUS
[301] O thou swollen with pride so long as prosperity exalts thy soul, but faint of heart when the alarms of war resound, tyrant of kings! Is now thy heart inflamed with sudden love and of a new mistress? Art thou alone so often to bear off our spoils? With this right hand will I give to Achilles the victim due. If thou dost refuse and keep her from me, a greater will I give, worthy the gift of Pyrrhus; too long has my hand refrained from killing kings, and Priam claims his peer.

AGAMEMNON
[310] Nay, I deny not that ‘tis Pyrrhus’ most glorious deed of war that Priam lies slain by thy brutal sword, and he thy father’s suppliant.28

PYRRHUS
[313] Yea, I know my father’s suppliants – and enemies, too. And yet in my father’s presence Priam prayed; thou, quaking with o’ermastering fear, not brave enough to make thy own plea, didst delegate thy prayers to Ajax and the Ithacan, staying hid in thy tend and trembling at thy foe.29

AGAMEMNON
[318] But no fear then, I grant it, had thy father, and mid Grecian carnage and their blazing ships idly he lay, thoughtless of war and arms, strumming with dainty quill on tuneful lyre.

PYRRHUS
[322] Then mighty Hector, though he scorned thy arms, still feared Achilles’ songs, and midst so great general dread deep peace lay on the ship-camp of Thessaly.30

AGAMEMNON
[325] Yea, and in that same ship-camp of Thessaly deep peace, again, did Hector’s father find.

PYRRHUS
[327] ‘Tis a high, a kingly act to give life to a king.

AGAMEMNON
[328] Why then from a king did thy right hand take life?

PYRRHUS
[329] The merciful will oft give death instead of life.

AGAMEMNON
[330] And is it now in mercy thou seekest a maiden for the tomb?

PYRRHUS
[331] So now thou deemst the sacrifice of maids a crime?

AGAMEMNON
[332] To put country before children befits a king.

PYRRHUS
[333] No law spares the captive or stays the penalty.

AGAMEMNON
[334] What law forbids not, shame forbids be done.

PYRRHUS
[335] Whate’er he will, ‘tis the victor’s right to do.

AGAMEMNON
[336] Least should he will who has much right.

PYRRHUS
[337] Darest fling such words to those whom, overwhelmed beneath thy heavy sway for ten long years, Pyrrhus freed from the yoke?

AGAMEMNON
[339] Does Scyrus give such airs?

PYRRHUS
[339] ‘Tis free from the crime of brothers.31

AGAMEMNON
[340] Hemmed by the waves –

PYRRHUS
[340] Yes, of a kindred sea.32 Atreus and Thyestes – well do I know their noble house.

AGAMEMNON
[342] Thou son of a maiden’s secret shame and of Achilles, but scarce yet a man –

PYRRHUS
[344] Of that Achilles who by right of lineage extends throughout the realm of the immortals and claims the universe: the sea through Thetis, through Aeacus the shades, the heavens through Jove.

AGAMEMNON
[347] Of that Achilles who lies slain by Paris’ hand.

PYRRHUS
[348] Whom e’en a god would not contend with face to face.

AGAMEMNON
[349] I could check thy words and curb thy recklessness by punishment; but my sword knows how to spare e’en captives. Rather, let Calchas, the interpreter of the gods, be called. If the fates demand, I will give her up.

[Enter CALCHAS.]
[353] Thou who didst free the Pelasgian fleet from bonds, and dist end the wars’ delays, who by thy art doest unlock the sky, to whom the entrails’ secrets, to whom the crashing heavens and the star with its long, flaming trail disclose the fates, thou whose utterances ever cost me dear: what is God’s will, declare, O Calchas, and by thy wisdom guide us.

CALCHAS
[360] ‘Tis at the accustomed price fate grants the Danaï their voyage. A maiden must be sacrificed on the Thessalian chieftain’s tomb; but in the barb in which Thessalian brides are wed, or Ionian or Mycenaean, let Pyrrhus lead his father’s bride to him. ‘Tis so she shall be given duly. But it is not this cause alone which delays our ships; blood nobler than thy blood, Polyxena, is due. Whom the fates seek, from the high watch-tower let him fall, Priam’s grandson, Hector’s son, and let him perish there. Then with its thousand sails may the fleet fill the seas.

CHORUS
[371]Is it true, or does the tale cheat timid souls, that spirits live on when bodies have been buried, when the wife has closed her husband’s eyes, when the last day has blotted out the sun, when the mournful urn holds fast our dust? Profits it not to give up the soul to death, but remains it for wretched mortals to live still longer? Or do we wholly die and does no part of us remain, when with the fleeting breath the spirit, mingling with vapours, has passed into the air, and the lighted fire has touched the naked body?

[382] All that the rising sun and all that the setting knows, all that the ocean laves with its blue waters, twice ebbing and twice flowing, time with the pace of Pegasus shall gather in. With such whirlwind speed as the twelve signs fly along, with such swift course as the lord33 of stars hurries on the centuries, and in such wise as Hecate hastens along her slanting ways, so do we all seek fate, and nevermore does he exist at all who has reached the pool34 whereby the high gods swear. As smoke from burning fires vanishes, staining the air for once brief moment; as clouds, which but now we saw lowering, are scattered by the cold blasts of Boreas, so shall this spirit which rules our bodies flow away. There is nothing after death, and death itself is nothing, the final goal of a course full swiftly run. Let the eager give up their hopes; their fears, the anxious; greedy time and chaos engulf us altogether. Death is a something that admits no cleavage,35 destructive to the body and unsparing of the soul. Taenarus and the cruel tyrant’s36 kingdom and Cerberus, guarding the portal of no easy passage – all are but idle rumours, empty words, a tale light as a troubled dream. Dost ask where thou shalt lie when death has claimed thee? Where they lie who were never born.

[Enter ANDROMACHE, leading her little son, ASTYANAX, and accompanied by an aged man-servant.]

ANDROMACHE
[409] Ye Phrygian woman, mournful band, why do you tear your hair, beat on your wretched breasts, and water your cheeks with weeping unrestrained? Trivial woes have we endured if our sufferings can be told by tears. Ilium has fallen but now for you; for me she fell long since, when the cruel foeman behind the swift car dragged his limbs – my own, and his axle-tree, on Pelion hewed, groaned loud, straining beneath Hector’s weight. On that day overwhelmed and ruined, whatever has happened since I bear, benumbed with woe, stony, insensible. And now, escaping the Greeks, I should follow my husband, if this child held me not. He tames my spirit and prevents my death; he forces me still to ask something of the gods, has prolonged my suffering. He has robbed me of the richest fruit of sorrows, the scorn of fear. All chance of happiness has been snatched away from me; calamity has still a door of entrance. Most wretched ‘tis to fear when you can hope for naught.

OLD MAN
[426] What sudden terror has stirred thy stricken soul?

ANDROMACHE
[427] Some greater woe from woe already great arises. The fate of falling Ilium is not yet stayed.

OLD MAN
[429] What new disasters, though he wish, will the god discover?

ANDROMACHE
[430] The bars of deep Styx and its darksome caves are opened and, lest terror be wanting to our overthrow, our buried foemen come forth from lowest Dis. To the Greeks only is a backward passage given? Death surely is impartial. That terror37 disturbs and alarms all Phrygians alike; but this vision38 of dread night doth terrify my soul alone.

OLD MAN
[437] What vision hast thou to tell? Speak out thy fears before us all.

ANROMACHE
[438] Two portions of her course had kindly night well-nigh passed, and the seven stars had turned their shining car; at last long unfamiliar calm came to my troubled heart, and a brief slumber stole o’er my weary cheeks – if, indeed, the stupor of a mind all dazed be slumber – when suddenly Hector stood before my eyes, not in such guise as when, forcing the fight against the Argives, he attacked the Grecian ships with torches from Ida’s pines, not as when he raged in copious slaughter against he Danaï and bore off true spoils from a feigned Achilles39; not such his face, blazing with battle light, but weary, downcast, heavy with weeping, like my own, covered with matted locks. Even so, ‘twas joy to have looked upon him. Then, shaking his head, he said: “Rouse thee from slumber and save our son, O faithful wife! hide him; ‘tis the only hope of safety. Away with tears! Dost grieve because Troy has fallen? Would she were fallen utterly!40 Make haste, remove to any place soever the little scion of our house.” Cold horror and trembling banished sleep; quaking with terror, I turned my eyes now here, now there, taking no thought of my son, and piteously seeking Hector; but from my very arms his cheating ghost was gone.

[461] O son, true offspring of a mighty sire, sole hope of Phrygians, sole comfort of our stricken house, child of an ancient, too illustrious line, too like thy father, thou; such features my Hector had, such was he in gait, such in bearing; so carried he his brave hands, so bore he his shoulders high, such august, commanding look had he as with head thrown proudly back he tossed his flowing locks. O son, born too late for the Phrygians, too soon for thy mother, will that time ever come and that happy day when, as defender and avenger of the Trojan land, thou shalt establish Pergama restored, bring back its scattered citizens from flight, and give again their name to fatherland and Phrygians? But, remembering my own lot, I shrink from such proud prayers; this is enough for captives – may we but live!

[476] Ah me, what place will be faithful to my fears? where shall I hide thee? That citadel, once rich in treasure and its god-built walls, amongst all nations famed and envied, is now deep dust, wasted utterly by fire; an of that huge city not even enough is left wherein a child may hide. What place shall I choose to cheat them? There is my dear lord’s great tomb, hallowed, awe-inspiring to the foe, which of huge bulk and at mighty cost his father reared, a prince not niggardly in his grief. To his sire shall I best entrust the child. Cold sweat streams down all my limbs. Ah me! I shudder at the omen of the place of death.

OLD MAN
[497] In wretchedness, seize any refuge; in safety, choose.

ANDROMACHE
[496] What that he cannot hide without great danger of betrayal?

OLD MAN
[492] Have none to see thy guile.

ANDROMACHE
[493] If the foe inquire?

OLD MAN
[498] He perished in the city’s downfall; this cause alone has saved many from destruction – the belief that they have perished.

ANDROMACHE
[490] Scant hope is left; the crushing weight of his noble birth lies heavy on him. What will it profit him to have hidden, when he must fall into their hands?

OLD MAN
[495] The victor’s first onslaughts are the deadliest.

ANDROMACHE
[498] [To ASTYANAX.] What place, what spot, remote and inaccessible, will keep thee safe? Who will bring help in our sore need? Who will protect? O Hector, who didst always shield thine own, shield them even now; guard thou a wife’s pious theft and to thy faithful ashes take him to live again. Enter the tomb, my son – why dost thou shrink back and reject this safe hiding-place? I recognize thy breeding; thou art ashamed of fear. But put away thy high spirit and old-time courage; put on such spirit as misfortune grants. See how small a company of us remains – a tomb, a child, a captive woman; we must yield to ills. Come, boldly enter the sacred home of thy buried father. If the fates befriend the wretched, thou hast a safe retreat; if the fates deny thee life, thou hast a tomb.

[ASTYANAX enters the tomb and the gates are closed and barred behind him.]

OLD MAN
[512] The bars protect their charge; and, that thy fear may not hale him forth, retire thou far from here and withdraw thyself apart.

ANDROMACHE
[515] Who fears from near at hand, fears often less; but if thou thinkest well, we will betake us elsewhere.
[ULYSSES is seen approaching.]

OLD MAN
[517] Be still a little while, utter no word or cry; the leader of the Cephallenians hither bends his accursed steps.

ANDROMACHE
[With a final appealing look towards the tomb.]
[519] Yawn deep, O earth, and thou, my husband, rive the rent earth to its lowest caves and hide the charge I give thee in the deep bosom of the Styx. Ulysses is here, with step and look of one in hesitation; in his heart he weaves some crafty stratagem.

[Enter ULYSSES.]

ULYSSES
[524] As the minister of harsh fate I beg this first, that, although the words are uttered by my lips, thou count them not my words; it is the voice of all the Grecian chiefs, whom Hector’s son is keeping from their late home-coming; ‘tis the fates demand him. A fretting mistrust of uncertain peace will ever possess the Danaï, and fear ever will force them to look behind and not let them lay down their arms, so long as thy son, Andromache, and Hector’s shall give heart to the conquered Phrygians. Calchas, the augur, gives this response; and if Calchas, the augur, were silent upon this, yet Hector used to say it, and I dread even a son of his; the generous scion grows to its parent’s likeness. So that little companion of the mighty herd, his first horns not yet sprouting through the skin, suddenly, with high-borne neck and proudly lifted brow, leads his father’s herd and rules the drove; the slender shoot which has sprung up from a lopped-off trunk in a little while rises to match the parent tree, gives back shade to the earth and a sacred grove to heaven; so do the embers of a great fire, carelessly left behind, regain their strength. I know that grief is no impartial judge; still, if thou weigh the matter with thyself, thou wilt forgive a soldier if, after ten winters and as many harvest seasons, now veteran he fears war, fears still other bloody battles and Troy never wholly o’erthrown. A great matter moves the forebodings of the Danaï – another Hector. Free the Greeks from fear. This one cause holds our ships, already launched; this cause stays the fleet. And think me not cruel because, at the bidding of the lot, I seek Hector’s son; I would have sought Orestes.41 Bear thou what thy conqueror has borne.42

ANDROMACHE
[556] Oh, that thou wert within thy mother’s reach, my son, and that I knew what hap holds thee now snatched from my arms, or what place – not though my breast were pierced with hostile spears, and my hands bound with cutting chains, not though scorching flames hemmed me on either side, would I ever put off a mother’s loyalty. O son, what place, what fate, hath gotten thee now? On some pathless way dost thou roam the fields? Has the vast burning of thy fatherland consumed thy frame? or has some rude conqueror revelled in thy blood? Slain by some wild beast’s fangs, dost feed the birds of Ida?

ULYSSES
[568] Have done with lies; ‘tis not easy for thee to deceive Ulysses; we have out-matched the wiles of mothers and even of goddesses.43 Away with vain designs; where is thy son?

ANDROMACHE
[571] Where is Hector? Where all the Phrygians? Where is Priam? Thou seekest one; I seek for all.

ULYSSES
[573] Thou shalt be forced to tell what of thyself thou wilt not.

ANDROMACHE
[574] She is safe who is able, who ought, who longs to die.

ULYSSES
[575] When death draws near it drives out boastful words.

ANDROMACHE
[576] If thou desirest, Ulysses, to force Andromache through fear, threaten her with life; for ‘tis my prayer to die.

ULYSSES
[578] Stripes, fire, and every form of torture shall force thee against thy will, through pain, to speak out what thou concealest, and from thy heart shall tear its inmost secrets; necessity is oft a greater force than love.

ANDROMACHE
[582] Bring on thy flames, wounds, devilish arts of cruel pain, and starvation and raging thirst, plagues of all sorts from every source, and the sword thrust deep within these vitals, the dungeon’s pestilential gloom yea, all a victor dares in rage – and fear.

ULYSSES
[587] ‘Tis foolish confidence to hide what thou must at once betray.

ANDROMACHE
[588] My dauntless mother-love admits no fears.

ULYSSES
[589] This very love, in which thou now dost stubbornly withstand us, warns the Danaï to take thought for their little sons. After a war so distant, after ten years of strife, I should feel less the fears which Calchas rouses, if ‘twas for myself I feared. Thou art preparing war against Telemachus.

ANDROMACHE
[594] Unwillingly, Ulysses, will I give to the Danaï cause for joy, but I must give it; confess, O grief, the woes which thou wouldst conceal. Rejoice, ye sons of Atreus, and do thou bear joyful tidings to the Pelasgians as is thy wont – Hector’s son is dead.44

ULYSSES
[598] What surety givest thou the Danaï that this is true?

ANDROMACHE
[599] So may the conqueror’s worst threat befall, may fate set me free by an early and easy passing, may I be buried in my own soil, may his native earth rest light on Hector, according as my son, deprived of light, lies amongst the dead and, given to the tomb, has received the due of those who live no more.44

ULYSSES
[605] That the fates have been fulfilled by the removal of Hector’s stock, and that peace is secure, this news will I joyfully bear to the Danaï – [Aside.] What doest thou, Ulysses? The Danaï will believe thy word, but whose word, thou? A mother’s – or would any mother feign her offspring’s death, and not shrink from the omen of the abhorrent word? Yet omens they fear who have naught worse to fear. She has confirmed her truth by oath; if the oath is false, what is the worse thing she can be fearing? Now, my heart, summon up thy craft, thy tricks, thy wiles, now all Ulysses; truth is never lost.45 Watch the mother. She grieves, she weeps, she groans; now here, now there she wanders restlessly, straining her ears to catch each uttered word; this woman’s fear is greater than her grief. Now have I need of skill.

[619] [To ANDROMACHE.] Other parents ‘twere fitting to console in sorrow; but thou art to be congratulated, poor soul, that thou hast lost thy son, for a cruel death awaited him, cast headlong from the tower which still stands solitary midst the fallen walls.

ANDROMACHE
[623] [Aside.] Life deserts my limbs, they quake, they fail; my blood stands still, congealed with icy cold.

ULYSSES
[625] [Aside.] She trembles; by this, yes, by this means must I test her. Her fear has betrayed the mother; this fear will I redouble.

[627] [To his attendants.] Go, go quickly! This enemy, hidden away by his mother’s guile, this last plague of the Pelasgian name, wherever he is hiding, hunt him out and bring him hither. [Pretending that the boy is discovered, and then speaking as if to the man who has found him.] Good! He is caught! Come, make haste and bring him in! [To ANDROMACHE.] Why dost thou look around and tremble? Surely he is already dead.

ANDROMACHE
[632] Oh, that I were afraid. ‘Tis but my wonted fear, sprung use from long use. The mind unlearns but slowly what it has learned for long.

ULYSSES
[634] Since the boy has forestalled the lustral rites we owed the walls and cannot fulfil the priest’s command, snatched from us by a better fate, the word of Calchas is that only thus can a peaceful homecoming be granted to our ships, if the waves be appeased by the scattering of Hector’s ashes and his tomb be utterly levelled with the ground. Now, since the boy has escaped the death he owed, needs must hands be laid upon his hallowed resting-place.46

ANDROMACHE
[642] [Aside.] What shall I do? My mind is distracted by a double fear: here, for my son; there, for my husband’s sacred dust. Which shall prevail? I call the unpitying deities to witness, and that true deity, my husband’s shade, that in my son naught else endears him to me, Hector, than thyself. May he live, that so he may recall thy face. – But shall thy ashes, torn from the tomb, be sunk beneath the sea? Shall I permit thy scattered bones to be flung upon the vasty deep? Sooner let the boy meet death. – But canst thou, his mother, see him given up to murder infamous? Canst see him sent whirling over the lofty battlements? I can, I will endure it, will suffer it, so but my Hector after death be not scattered by the victor’s hand. – But he can still feel suffering, while death has placed the other beyond its reach. Why dost thou waver? decide whom thou wilt snatch from vengeance. Ungrateful woman, dost thou hesitate? On that side is thy Hector – nay, herein thou errest – Hector is in both47; but the boy can still feel pain, and is destined perchance to avenge his father’s death – both cannot be saved. What then? Save of the two, my soul, him whom the Danaï dread.

ULYSSES
[663] I will fulfil the oracle; the tomb will I raze to its foundations.

ANDROMACHE
[664] The tomb ye sold?48

ULYSSES
[664] I’ll keep right on, and from the mound’s top I’ll drag the sepulchre.

ANDROMACHE
[665] To heaven’s faith I appeal, and Achilles’ faith; Pyrrhus, protect thy father’s gift.

ULYSSES
[667] This mound shall at once lie level with the plain.

ANDROMACHE
[668] Such sacrilege, truly, the Greeks had left undared. Temples you have profaned, even of your favouring gods; but our tombs your mad rage had spared. I will resist, will oppose my unarmed hands against you, armed; passion will give strength. Like the fierce Amazon who scattered the Argive squadrons, or like some god-smit Maenad who, armed with the thyrsus only, with frenzied march frightens the forest glades and, beside herself, has given wounds, nor felt them, so will I rush against you and fall in the tomb’s defence, an ally of its dust.

ULYSSES
[678] [To his men.] Do you hold back, and does a woman’s tearful outcry and futile rage move you? My orders – be quick and do them.

ANDROMACHE
[680] [Struggling with the men.] Me, me destroy here with the sword sooner. Ah me, I am thrust back. O Hector, burst the bars of death, heave up the earth, that thou mayst quell Ulysses. Even as a shade thou art enough – he49 has brandished his arms in his hand, he is hurling firebrands – ye Danaï, do you see Hector? or do I alone see him?

ULYSSES
[685] I’ll pull it down to its foundations, all of it.

ANDROMACHE
[686] [Aside, while the men begin to demolish the tomb.] What art thou doing? dost thou lay low together in common ruin both son and husband? Perhaps thou wilt be able to appease the Danaï by prayer. – But even now the huge weight of the bomb will crush the hidden boy – poor lad! let him perish no matter where, so but sire o’erwhelm not son, and son harm not sire.

[She casts herself at the knees of ULYSSES.]
[691] At thy knees I fall, a suppliant, Ulysses, and this hand, which no man’s feet have known, I lay upon thy feet. Pity a mother, calmly and patiently listen to her pious prayers, and the higher the gods have exalted thee, the more gently bear down upon the fallen. What is given to misery is a gift to Fortune.50 So may thy chaste wife’s couch see thee again; so may Laertes prolong his years till he welcome thee home once more; so may thy son succeed thee, and, by his nature’s happy gifts, surpassing all your prayers, transcend his grandsire’s years, his father’s gifts: pity a mother. This one only comfort is left in my affliction.

ULYSSES
[704] Produce thy son – and pray.

ANDROMACHE
[Going to the tomb, calls ASTYANAX.]
[706] Hither from thy hiding-place come out, sad object of a wretched mother’s theft.

[ASTYANAX appears from the tomb.]
[708] Here he is, Ulysses, here is the terror of a thousand ships! [To ASTYANAX.] Lower thy hands and, prone at thy master’s feet, pray thou with appealing touch; and deem naught base which fortune imposes on the wretched. Forget thy royal ancestry, the illustrious sway of thy noble grandsire o’er all lands, forget Hector, too; play the captive and on bended knee, if thou feelst not yet thine own doom, copy thy mother’s tears.

[She turns to ULYSSES.]
[718] Troy aforetime also51 saw the tears of a boy-king, and little Priam averted the threats of fierce Alcides. He, yes he, fierce warrior, to whose vast strength all savage creatures yielded, who burst through the doors of Dis and made the dark retraceable, conquered by his small enemy’s tears, exclaimed: “Take the reins and rule thy state, sitting high on thy father’s throne; but wield the sceptre with better faith.” This it was to be taken by such a conqueror; learn ye the merciful wrath of Hercules. Or is it the arms alone of Hercules that please thee?52 See, there lies at thy feet a suppliant, no less than that other suppliant, and pleads for life –as for Troy’s throne, let Fortune bear that whithersoe’er she will.

ULYSSES
[736] The grief of a stricken mother moves me, true, and yet the Pelasgian mothers move me more, to whose great sorrow that boy of thine is growing.

ANDROMACHE
[739] These ruins, these ruins of a city brought to dust, shall he wake to life? Shall these hands raise Troy again? Troy has no hopes if she has but such as these. Not such our overthrow53 that we Trojans can be a fear to any. Does thought of his father rouse pride in him? ‘Twas a father dragged in the dust. That father himself after Troy’s fall would have given up courage, which great misfortunes break. If revenge be sought, what greater revenge couldst thou seek? Let the yoke of bondage be placed upon his high-born neck, let a slave’s lot be granted him. Does any refuse this to a prince?

ULYSSES
[749] ‘Tis not Ulysses, but Calchas refuses this to thee.

ANDROMACHE
[750] O thou contriver of fraud, cunning master in crime, by whose warlike prowess none has ever fallen, by whose tricks and by cunning of whose vicious mind even Pelasgians54 are undone, dost seek to hide behind seer and blameless gods? This is the deed of thine own heart. Thou nocturnal soldier, brave to do a mere boy to death, at last thou darest some deed alone and in the open day.

ULYSSES
[757] Ulysses’ courage the Danaï know full well, and all too well the Phrygians. But leisure we lack to waste the day in empty words; the fleet is weighing anchor.

ANDROMACHE
[760] Generously grant a brief delay while I, his mother, do the last service to my son, and with a farewell embrace satisfy my yearning grief.

ULYSSES
[762] Would that I might have compassion on thee; but what alone I may, I will give thee time and respite. Weep thy fill; weeping lightens woe.

ANDROMACHE
[766] [To ASTYANAX.] O sweet pledge of love, O glory of our fallen house, last loss of Troy, thou terror of the Danaï, thy mother’s vain hope, for whom in my madness I used so oft to pray thy sire’s war-earned praises, thy grandsire’s years; God has denied my prayers. Thou shalt not with kingly might wield Ilium’s sceptre in thy royal hall, shalt not give laws unto the nations, nor send conquered tribes beneath thy yoke; thou shalt not smite fleeing Greeks nor drag Pyrrhus at thy chariot-wheels. Thy slender hand shall wield no boyish weapons, nor shalt thou boldly chase the wild beasts scattered through broad forest-glades, nor on the appointed lustral day, celebrating the sacred festival of the Trojan Game,55 shalt thou, a princely boy, lead on thy charging squadrons; nor among the altars, with swift and nimble feet, while the curved horn blares out stirring measures, shalt thou at Phrygian shrines celebrate the ancient dance. O mode of death sadder than cruel war! A sight more tearful than great Hector’s death shall the walls behold.

ULYSSES
[785] Break off now thy tears, thou mother; great grief sets no limit to itself.

ANDROMACHE
[787] For my tears, Ulysses, the respite I ask is small; grant me a few tears yet, that with my own hand I may close his eyes while he still lives. [To ASTYANAX.] Thou diest, little indeed, but already to be feared. Thy Troy awaits thee; go, depart in freedom; go, look on Trojans who are free.56

ASTYANAX
[792] Pity me, mother.

ANDROMACHE
[792] Why clingest thou to my breast, and graspest the vain protection of thy mother’s hands? As, when the lion’s roar is heard, the young bull draws close to its mother’s trembling flank, but see! the savage lion thrusts the dam away and, with huge jaws grasping the lesser booty, crushes and bears it off, so shall thy enemy snatch thee from my breast. Now, son, take my kisses and tears, take my torn locks and, full of me, hasten to thy sire. Yet bear, too, some few words of a mother’s plaint: “If spirits still feel their former cares, and if love perishes not in the funeral flames, dost thou permit Andromache to serve a Greek lord, O cruel Hector? Indifferent and sluggish dost thou lie? Achilles has come back.” Take now once again these locks, and take these tears, all that is left from my poor husband’s funeral, take kisses to deliver to thy sire. This cloak leave as comfort for thy mother; my tomb has touched it, and my beloved shades. If any of his dust is hidden here, I’ll hunt it with my lips.

ULYSSES
[812] [To his attendants.] There is no limit to her weeping – away with this hindrance to the Argive fleet.

[Exeunt ULYSSES and his attendants, the former leading the little ASTYANAX.]

CHORUS
[814] What place of dwelling calls to our captive band? Thessalian mountains and Tempe’s shady vale, or Phthia, land more fitted to produce warriors, and rocky Trachin, famous for its breed of brave herds, or Iochos, the vast sea’s mistress?57 Crete, spacious with her hundred towns, little Gortynis and barren Tricce, or Mothone, abounding in tiny rills, the land of caves beneath Oeta’s wooded heights which sent not once only to Troy’s fall the deadly bow?58 Olenos, land of scattered homes, Pleuron, which the virgin goddess59 hates, or Troezen, on the broad sea’s curving shore? Pelion, proud kingdom of Prothoüs, third step to heaven? (Here, reclining at full length within his hollowed mountain cave, Chiron, tutor of a youth already pitiless,60 with his quill striking out tinkling chords, even then whetted the boy’s mighty passions by songs of war.) Or Carystos, rich in many-hued marble, or Chalcis, hard by the shore of the restless sea, where Euripus’ racing tides ever flow? Calydnae, easy of approach in any wind, or Gonoëssa, never free from winds, and Enispe, which shivers before the northern blast? Peparethos, lying close to the Attic shore, or Eleusin, rejoicing in her sacred mysteries? Shall we to the true Salamis, home of Ajax, or to Calydon, famed for the wild boar, or to those lands61 which the Titaressos bathes, destined to flow with its sluggish waters beneath the sea?62 or to Bessa, and Scarphe, or Pylos, the old man’s63 home? to Pharis or Pisae, sacred to Jupiter, and Elis, famed for victor’s crowns?

[851] Let the mournful blasts bear our misery where’er they list and give us to any land if only Sparta, which brought such woe on Troy and the Greeks alike, be far away, and far away be Argos, and Mycenae, home of savage Pelops, and Neritos,64 smaller than small Zacynthos,64 and baleful Ithaca with her crafty crags.

[858] What fate, what lord waits for thee, Hecuba, or to what land will he lead thee to be a public show? In whose kingdom shalt thou die?

[Enter HELEN.]

HELEN
[861] [Aside.] Whatever wedlock, calamitious, joyless, has mourning, murder, blood, and lamentations, is worthy of Helen’s auspices. Even in their ruin am I driven to be the Phrygians’ bane. It is my task to tell a false tale of marriage65 with Pyrrhus; mine, to dress the bride in Grecian fashion; by my craft she will be snared and by my treachery will the sister of Paris fall. Let her be deceived; for her I deem this the easier lot; ‘tis a death desirable, to die without the fear of death. Why dost hesitate to execute thy orders? To its author returns the blame of a crime compelled.

[871] [To POLYXENA.] Thou noble maid of the house of Dardanus, in more kindly wise doth heaven begin to regard the afflicted, and makes ready to dower thee with a happy bridal; such a match neither Troy herself while still secure, nor Priam, could make for thee. For the greatest ornament of the Pelasgian race, whose realm stretches wide over the plains of Thessaly, seeks thee in holy bonds of lawful wedlock. Thee will great Tethys call her own, thee, all the goddesses of the deep, and Thetis, calm deity of the swelling sea; wedded to Pyrrhus, Peleus as thy father-in-law shall call thee daughter, and Nereus shall call thee daughter. Put off thy mournful garb, don festal array, forget thou art a captive; smooth thy unkempt locks, and suffer my skilled hand to part thy hair.66 This fall, perchance, will restore thee to a more exalted throne. Many have profited by captivity.

ANROMACHE
[888] This one woe was lacking to the ruined Phrygians – to rejoice. Pergama’s ruins lie blazing around – fit time for marriage! Would any dare refuse? Would any hesitate to go to a bridal when Helen invites? Thou plague, destruction, pest of both peoples, seest thou these tombs of chieftains, the bare bones which everywhere lie unentombed o’er all the plain? These has thy marriage scattered. For thee has flowed Asia’s, has flowed Europe’s blood, whilst thou gleefully didst look out upon thy warring husbands with wavering prayer. Go on, make ready thy marriages! What need of pine-brands, what of the solemn nuptial torch, what need of fire? For this strange marriage Troy furnishes the torch. Ye Trojan dames, celebrate Pyrrhus’ nuptials, celebrate them worthily: let blows and groans resound.

HELEN
[903] Although great grief lacks reason and will not be turned aside, and sometimes hates the very comrades of its suffering, still could I maintain my cause even before a hostile judge, having borne worse things than you. Andromache mourns for her Hector, and Hecuba for her Priam; for Paris alone must Helen mourn in secret. Is it a hard, a hateful, and a galling thing to endure servitude? This yoke have I long endured, for ten years captive. Is Ilium laid low, are your household gods overthrown? It is hard to lose one’s native country, harder to fear it. You are comforted by companionship in so great misfortune; against me victor and vanquished rage alike. Which one of you each lord should drag away as his slave, has long hung on uncertain chance; me has my master dragged away at once, without waiting for the lot. Have I been the cause of wars and all this ruin to the Teucrians? Count that the truth if ‘twas a Spartan ship that clove your seas; but if, swept along by Phrygian oarsmen, I was a helpless prey, if a triumphant goddess gave me as a reward to her judge, pity the helpless prey. ‘Tis an angry judge my cause will have; the decision of that case waits on Menelaüs. But now forget your own woes a little while, Andromache, and prevail on her67 – I can scarce keep from weeping.

ANDROMACHE
[926] How great must be the woe for which Helen weeps! But why weep? Tell us what tricks, what crimes the Ithacan is devising. Must the maiden be cast down from Ida’s crags or thrown from the lofty citadel’s high rock? Must she be hurled into the vasty deep over these cliffs which lofty Sigeum with sheer sides raises, looking out on his shallow bay? Speak, speak, whatever it is thou hidest beneath thy lying looks. All woes are easier to bear than that Pyrrhus be son-in-law to Hecuba and Priam. Tell us, explain what suffering thou hast in hand, and subtract this one from our calamities – ignorance of our fate. Thou seest us ready to suffer death.

HELEN
[938] Would that the prophet of the gods bade me, too, end with the sword this lingering, hateful life, or fall before Achilles’ tomb by the mad hand of Pyrrhus, a companion of thy fate, poor Polyxena, whom Achilles bids be given to him, and be sacrificed in presence of his ashes, that in the Elysian fields he may wed with thee.

ANDROMACHE
[945] See with what joy her mighty soul has heard her doom! The becoming attire of royal robes she seeks, and allows Helen’s hand to approach her locks. Death she deemed that other, this, her bridal. But, hearing the woeful news, her wretched mother68 is in a daze; her tottering reason has given way. Arise, lift up thy courage, poor queen, strengthen thy fainting spirit.

[HECUBA falls in a faint.]
[952] On how slender a thread her frail life hangs! But very little lacks to bring – happiness to Hecuba. She breathes, she lives again. ‘Tis the wretched that death first flees.

HECUBA
[955] Does Achilles still live for vengeance on the Phrygians? Does he still war against them? O hand of Paris, too light!69 His very ashes and his tomb thirst for our blood. But late a happy throng of children girt me round, and I grew weary of sharing a mother’s love among so many kisses and so large a flock; but now this daughter alone is left, object of my prayer, my companion, comfort in affliction, my resting-place; she is Hecuba’s entire offspring, hers is the only voice that now calls me mother. O obstinate, unhappy soul, come, slip away, and spare me the sight of this one death at least. Tears overflow my cheeks and from my vanquished eyes a sudden shower falls.

ANDROMACHE
[969] ‘Tis we, Hecuba, we, we, Hecuba, who should be mourned, whom the fleet, once started on its way, will scatter to every land; but her the dear soil of her native land will cover.

HELEN
[972] Still more wilt thou envy her when thine own lot thou knowest.

ANDROMACHE
[973] Is any part of my suffering still unknown to me?

HELEN
[974] The urn has whirled and to the captives given lords.

ANDROMACHE
[975] To whom am I given as slave? Speak! Whom do I call master?

HELEN
[976] Thee, by the first lot, the youth70 of Scyros gained.

ANDROMACHE
[977] Fortunate Cassandra, whom madness and Phoebus from the lot exempt.

HELEN
[978] Her the most mighty king of kings receives.

HECUBA
[967] [To POLYXENA.] Rejoice and be glad, my daughter! How would Cassandra, how would Andromache long for thy marriage!
[979] [To HELEN.] Is there anyone who would have Hecuba called his?

HELEN
[980] To the Ithacan, against his will, hast thou fallen, a short-lived prize.

HECUBA
[981] Who so reckless and unfeeling, who so cruelly drawing lots from an unjust urn hath given royalty to royalty? What god so perverse apportions the captives? What arbiter, heartless and hard to the unfortunate, so blindly chooses our lords, and unites Hector’s mother to Achilles’ arms?71 To Ulysses am I summoned; now indeed do I seem vanquished, now captive, now beset by all disasters – ‘tis the master shames me, not the servitude. That barren land, hemmed in by stormy seas, does not contain my tomb72 – lead, lead on, Ulysses, I hold not back, I follow my master; but me my fates shall follow: upon the deep no calm peace shall come; the sea shall rage with the winds and engulf thy comrades; and thee, e’en when safe home again, shall wars and fires, my own and Priam’s evil fortunes, o’erwhelm.73 And till those shall come, meanwhile this serves in place of vengeance on thee – I have usurped thy lot, I have stolen from thee thy prizes.74

[999] But see, Pyrrhus approaches with hurried step and grim countenance. Pyrrhus, why dost thou hesitate? Come, plunge thy sword into my breast, and so unite the parents of thy Achilles’ bride. Proceed, thou murderer of old men, this blood of mine also becomes thee. [Pointing to POLYXENA.] Seize! drag her hence! Defile, ye Greeks, the gods above with deadly slaughter, defile the shades below – nay, why pray to you? I pray for seas that befit such75 rites as these; may such doom befall the whole fleet and the Pelasgians, may such befall their thousand ships, as I shall call down on my own when I set sail.

CHORUS
[1009] Sweet to the mourner is a host of mourners, sweet to hear multitudes in lamentation; lighter is the sting of wailing and of tears which a like throng accompanies. Ever, ah, ever is grief malicious; glad is it that its own fate comes on many, and that it alone is not appointed unto suffering. To bear the lot which all endure none can refuse.

[1018] Remove the fortunate: unfortunate though he be, none will so think himself. Remove those blest with heaps of gold, remove those who plough rich fields with a hundred oxen: the downcast spirits of the poor will rise again. No one is unfortunate save as compared with others. ‘Tis sweet to one set in widespread desolation to see no one with joyful countenance; but he deplores and complains of his hard fortune who, while he cleaves the waves in solitary vessel, has been flung naked into the harbour he had sought. More calmly has he endured the tempest and disaster who has seen a thousand vessels engulfed by the selfsame billows and who comes back, borne on a piece of wreckage, to safety, while Corus,76 controlling the waves, forbids their onslaught on the land. Phrixus mourned because Helle fell, when the flock’s leader, resplendent with golden fleece, bore brother and sister on his back together, and in mid-sea lost half his burden; but both Pyrrha and her husband77 checked their mourning, though they saw the sea, and saw nothing else than sea, left as they were sole remnants of the human race on earth.

[1042] But he fleet driven this way and that will separate these our laments and scatter our tears, when once the sailors, by the trumpet bidden to spread sail, shall gain the deep, by winds and speeding oarage, and the shore shall flee away. What will be the wretched captives’ feelings when all the land shall dwindle and the sea loom large, and lofty Ida shall vanish in the distance? Then son to mother, mother to her son, pointing to the place where Troy lies prostrate, will mark it afar with pointing finger, saying: “Yonder is Ilium where the smoke curls high to heaven, where the foul vapours hang.” The Trojans by that sign only will see their fatherland.

[Enter MESSENGER.]

MESSENGER
[1056] O cruel fate, harsh, pitiable, horrible! What crime so savage, so grievous, has Mars seen in ten long years? Which first shall I tell amidst my lamentations, thy woes, Andromache, or thine, thou aged woman?

HECUBA
[1060] Whosoever woes thou weepest, thou wilt weep mine. Each feels the weight of his own disaster only, but I the disasters of them all; for me do all things perish. Whoever is unfortunate is Hecuba’s.

MESSENGER
[1063] The maiden is slain; thrown from the walls the boy. But each met doom with noble spirit.

ANDROMACHE
[1065] Expound their deaths in order and relate the twofold crime; great grief hath joy to dwell on all its woes. Out with it, tell us all the tale.

MESSENGER
[1068] There is one high tower left of Troy, much used by Priam; upon its battlements and lofty pinnacles he would sit watching the war and directing the embattled lines. On this tower, nestling his grandson in his fond arms, when Hector with sword and torch pursued the Danaï fleeing in abject fear, the old man would point out to the lad his father’s battles. Around this tower, once famous, the glory of the walls, but now a solitary ruin, on all sides pours a throng of chiefs and commons, assembles here. For some, a far-off hill gives a clear view of the open space; for others, a high cliff, on whose top the eager crowd stands on tiptoe balanced. A pine-tree holds one, a laurel-tree, another, a beech-tree one; and the whole forest sways with clinging people. One climbs to the highest peak of a steep mountain, another seeks a smouldering roof or stands on an overhanging stone of a crumbling wall, and one (oh, shame!) sits heartlessly to view the show from Hector’s tomb.

[1088] Now along the plain, on every hand thronged with people, with stately step the Ithacan makes his way, leading by the hand the little grandson of Priam; and with no lagging step does the boy approach the lofty walls. When he stood on the tower’s summit, he turned his keen gaze now here, now there, undaunted in spirit. As the cub of some great beast, tiny and young, not yet strong enough to do injury with its fangs, still bristles, bites harmlessly, and swells with rage; so the boy, though in his enemy’s grasp, was proudly bold. He had moved the crowd to tears, and the chieftains, and even Ulysses. Of all the throng he alone, for whom they wept, wept not; and while Ulysses rehearsed the words and prayers appointed by the fate-revealing priest,78 and summoned the cruel gods to the sacrifice, of his own will leaped the boy down into the midst of Priam’s kingdom –

ANDROMACHE
[1104] What Colchian, what Scythian of shifting home e’er committed crime like this, or what tribe to law unknown by the Caspian sea has dared it? No blood of children stained the altars of Busiris, cruel though he was, nor did Diomedes set limbs of babes for his herds to feast on. Who will take up thy limbs and consign them to the tomb.

MESSENGER
[1110] What limbs has that steep place left? His bones were crushed and scattered by the heavy fall; the familiar marks of his noble form, his face, the illustrious likeness of his sire, have been disfigured by his body’s weight plunging to earth below; his neck was broken by the crash upon the rock, his skull was crushed, his brains dashed out – he lies a shapeless corpse.

ANDROMACHE
[1117] So also is he like his sire.

MESSENGER
[1118] After the boy fell headlong from the lofty tower, and the throng of Greeks wept for the crime it wrought, that same host turned to a second crime and to Achilles’ tomb. Its further side is gently lapped by Rhoeteum’s waters; its front is surrounded by a plain, while a valley, sloping gently up, hems in the middle space. The surging mass increases as if thronging to a theatre and has filled all the shore. Some think that by this death the fleet’s delay is ended; some joy that the foeman’s stock is cut away; the greater part of the heedless mob detest the crime – and gaze. Nor any less do the Trojans throng their own funeral and, quaking with fear, look on at the last act of the fall of Troy; when suddenly, as at a wedding, the torches come, leading the way, and the daughter79 of Tyndareus as bride’s attendant, with sad and drooping head. “So may Hermione80 be wed,” the Phrygians pray; “in such wise may base Helen to her husband be given back.” Terror holds both peoples awe-struck. The maid herself comes on with eyes in modesty cast down, but yet her face is radiant and the dying splendour of her beauty shines beyond its wont; as Phoebus’ light is wont to appear more glorious at the moment of his setting, when the stars come back to their stations and the uncertain daylight is dimmed by the approach of night. Astonished gazes the whole multitude, for all ever admire the more what must soon pass from them. Some, her beauty moves; some, her tender youth; some, the shifting changes of her fortune; but one and all, her courage, dauntless and death-confronting. On she comes and Pyrrhus follows; the hearts of all are filled with terror, wonder, pity.

[1149] Soon as the young man reached the summit of the steep mound, and stood upon the high-raised top of his father’s tomb, the dauntless maid did not shrink back, but, facing the stroke, stood there with stern look and courageous. A spirit so bold strikes the hearts of all and – strange prodigy – Pyrrhus is slow to kill. When his hand, thrust forth, had buried deep the sword, with the death-stroke her blood leaped out in a sudden stream through the gaping wound. Yet, though in the very act of death, she put not by her spirit; she fell, as if thus to make the earth heavy on Achilles, prone and with angry thud. The throng of both peoples wept; but the Phrygians mourned her with timid lamentation, while the victors wailed aloud. Thus was the rite performed. The shed blood stayed not nor flowed off on the surface of the ground; instantly the savage mound sucked it down and drank the whole draught of gore.

HECUBA
[1164] Go, go, ye Danaï, seek now your homes in safety; let your fleet now spread its sails and at ease plough the longed-for sea. A maiden and a boy have fallen; the war is done. But I, whither shall I betake my tears? Where in my old age shall I spew out this lingering life? Daughter or grandson, husband or country – which shall I lament? Shall I mourn all or, in my loneliness, myself alone? O death, object of my prayer, to boys and girls everywhere thou com’st with speed and savage violence; me alone dost thou fear and shun; sought midst swords and spears and firebrands the livelong night, thou dost evade my eager search. No foe, no falling wall, no fire has consumed my limbs; and yet how near to Priam did I stand!

MESSENGER
[1177] Haste to the sea, ye captives; already the vessels are spreading sail and the fleet is off.

THE END.

1. Troy, whose walls were built by Neptune and Apollo.
2. Rhesus.
3. Memnon.
4. Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.
5. Priam.
6. Hector’s.
7. Cassandra.
8. Paris.
9. Ulysses.
10. Diomedes.

11. Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, and remote descendant of Aeacus.
12. Paris.
13. Ibid.
14. i.e. the pines were cut on Mount Ida, which was sacred to Cybele.
15. i.e. the outer robe (palla) is to be used as a girdle with which to hold up the loose tunic, and so leave the hands free.
16. Hector.
17. First, when Hercules captured Troy with the aid of Telamon during the reign of Laomedon, at which time little Priam was set on the throne; and second, when in the hands of Philoctetes they were again used against Troy.
18. Priam was slain near the altar of Jupiter in the central courtyard of his own palace.
19. i.e. the great tomb of Achilles.
20. Achilles on his way to Troy defeated Cisseus, father of Hecuba, who was leading Thracian auxiliaries to Troy.

21. Cycnus.
22. Because he was the son of the sea-goddess Thetis.
23. Nestor.
24. Aurora, goddess of the dawn.
25. Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.
26. i.e. if he should ask a Grecian maid, even a daughter of Agamemnon.
27. Probably a covert allusion to the sacrifice of Iphigenia.
28. Priam sought out Achilles to ransom Hector’s body.
29. This scene is described by Homer, Iliad, bk ix.
30. i.e. in the camp of Achilles’ Thessalians, who dwelt in huts by their ships drawn up on the shore.

31. A reference to Atreus and Thyestes, father and uncle of Agamemnon, who committed all crimes against each other.
32. Explain in l. 346; and see l. 193 and note.
33. The sun.
34. The Styx.
35. individua is used here in evident reminiscence of Cicero, de Finibus, i. vi. 17: atomos . . . id est corpora individua propter soliditatem.
36. Pluto, lord of death.
37. Achilles’ ghost.
38. i.e. Hector’s ghost.
39. Patroclus who was fighting in the borrowed armour of his friend, Achilles.
40. He imitates that there is a deeper depth of woe yet to come.

41. i.e. even the son of Agamemnon.
42. An evident allusion to the sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamemnon for the public good.
43. It was Ulysses who had tricked Clytemnestra into letting Iphigenia go to Aulis, and had discovered the disguise under which Thetis had hidden her son, Achilles.
44. Andromache first tells Ulysses to report that her son is dead; but she is not yet under oath; in the second statement, being under oath, she speaks words which give the literal truth, but seem to say the opposite.
45. i.e. it is always to be discovered.
46. It need not be supposed that Ulysses suspects that Astyanax is really hidden in the tomb.
47. i.e. it is not really a choice between Hector and the boy, for Hector in a real sense is in the boy, who is to be another Hector. Cf. 470 ff., 550.
48. Hector’s body had been sold to Priam; here the idea of ransom is extended to the tomb as well.
49. In her frenzy she seems to see Hector’s ghost.
50. i.e. Fortune accepts it as an offering to herself, and will repay it in the hour of your own need.

51. Hercules, having taken Troy and slain Laomedon for his breach of faith, spared little Priam, and placed him on the throne of his father.
52. i.e. if Ulysses would imitate Hercules, let it be in his mercy as well as in his power.
53. i.e. we are destroyed not merely in part, but utterly.
54. Iphigenia, Palamedes, Ajax, may be cited as illustrations.
55. Troiae Ludus or Troia was an equestrian sham-battle said to have been popular among the boys of Troy, described by Virgil, Aeneid v. 545 ff., who traces the game as played at Rome back to this ancient source.
56. i.e. the boy is to join his kinsmen who have died free rather than to live enslaved.
57. It was from Iolchos that the Argo sailed on its conquest of the sea. See Medea, 596.
58. i.e. of Hercules, who took Troy by the aid of his bow and arrows, and later, dying on Mount Oeta, gave them to Philoctetes, who with them assisted in the second fall of Troy.
59. Diana, who hated this and all Aetolian towns for the sake of Oeneus, king of Calydon, who had slighted her divinity.
60. Achilles.

61. Thessaly.
62. This river, a sluggish affluent of the Peneus, was said to have its rise in the Styx, and plunged beneath the sea on its way thither again.
63. Nestor.
64. Two small islands near Ithaca, ruled by Ulysses.
65. i.e. of Polyxena.
66. It was in accordance with Roman custom to part the bride’s hair into six locks.
67. Polyxena.
68. Hecuba has been present during this scene, up to this time as a persona muta.
69. Paris should have slain Achilles past all resurrection.
70. Pyrrhus.

71. After Achilles’ death his arms had been awarded to Ulysses.
72. i.e. the place of her burial does not lie in Ithaca, since she will die before reaching it.
73. Translating Leo’s conjecture. Leo thinks that some such additional line as the following is required by the sense: sociosque merget, obruent reucem quoque.
74. i.e. Ulysses can have but one choice, and this, instead of being a beautiful young woman, has turned out an ugly old hag.
75. i.e. savage.
76. The north-west wind.
77. Deucalion.
78. Calchas.
79. Helen.
80. Daughter of Helen and Menelaüs.

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