Classical Texts Library >> Lycophron, Alexandra >> Lines 1-493 incl. footnotes



The speaker is a slave appointed to watch Cassandra and report her prophecies. He addresses Priam.

[1] ALL will I tell truly that thou askest from the utter beginning, and if the tale be prolonged, forgive me, master.1 For not quietly as of old did the maiden2 loose the varied voice of her oracles, but poured forth a weird confused cry, and uttered wild words from her bay-chewing mouth, imitating the speech of the dark Sphinx. Thereof what in heart and memory I hold, hear thou, O King, and, pondering with wise mind, wind and pursue the obscure paths of her riddles, whereso a clear track guides by a straight way through things wrapped in darkness. And I, cutting the utter bounding thread,3 will trace her paths of devious speech, striking the starting-point like winged runner.

1. Priam.
2. Cassandra.
3. The runner breaks the “tape” and takes off.

[16] Dawn was just soaring over the steep crag of Phegion1 on swift wings of Pegasus ,leaving his bed by Cerne.2 Tithonus,3 brother of thine by another mother, and the sailors loosed in calm weather the cables4 from the grooved rock and cut the landward ropes. And the centipede fair-faced stork-hued daughters of Phalacra5 smote maiden-slaying Thetis6 with their blades, over Calydnae7 showing their white wings, their stern-ornaments, their sails outspread by the northern blasts of flaming stormwind: then Alexandra8 opened her inspired Bacchis lips on the high Hill of Doom9 that was founded by the wandering cow and thus began to speak:

1. Mountain in Aethiopia.
2. Cerne, a fabled island in the remotest East (Pin. N.H. vi. 198 ff.) or West (Strabo i. 47).
3. Son of Laomedon and Strymo or Rhoeo, and so half-brother of Priam.
4. Apoll. Rh. iv. 1731 hypeudia peismat elausan.
5. i.e. the ships of Paris built of wood from Phalacra in the Troad.
6. i.e. the Sea (Hellespont in wider sense; “maiden-slaying” in reference to death of Helle).
7. Two islands near Tenedos.
9. Ate, thrown out of Olympus by Zeus (Il. xix. 126), fell on a hill in the Troad which was hence called the Hill of Doom (Atês lophos). Dardanus was warned by Apollo not to build a city there. But Ilus, his great-grandson, being told by an oracle to found a city where a certain cow should rest, did so; and this place chanced to be the Hill of Doom.

[31] Alas! hapless nurse1 of mine burnt even aforetime by the warlike pineships of the lion2 that was begotten in three evenings, whom of old Triton’s hound of jagged teeth devoured with his jaws. But he, a living carver of the monster’s liver, seething in steam of cauldron on a flameless hearth, shed to ground the bristles of his head; he the slayer of his children,3 the destroyer of my fatherland; who smote his second mother4 invulnerable with grievous shaft upon the breast; who, too, in the midst of the race-course seized in his arms the body of his wrestler sire5 beside the steep hill of Cronus,6 where is the horse-affighting tomb of earth-born Ischenus7; who also slew the fierce hound8 that watched the narrow straits of the Ausonian sea, fishing over her cave, the bull-slaying lioness whom her father restored again to life, burning her flesh with brands: she who feared not Leptynis,9 goddess of the underworld. But one day with swordless guile a dead corse10 slew him: yea, even him11 who of old overcame Hades; I see thee, hapless city, fired a second time by Aeaceian12 hands and by such remains13 as the funeral fire spared to abide in Letrina14 of the son15 of Tantalus when his body was devoured by the flames, with the winged shafts of the neat-herd Teutarus16; all which things the jealous spouse17 shall bring to light, sending her son18 to indicate the land, angered by her father’s19 taunts, for her bed’s sake and because of the alien bride.20 And herself,21 the skilled in drugs, seeing the baleful wound incurable of her husband22 wounded by the giant-slaying arrows of his adversary,23 shall endure to share his doom, from the topmost towers to the new slain corpse hurtling herself head foremost, and pierced by sorrow for the dead shall breathe forth her soul on the quivering body.

1. Ilios.
2. Heracles. For his brith cf. Apollod. ii. 61 Zeus . . . tên mian triplasiasas nukta. When Laomedon refused to pay Poseidon and Apollo for building the walls of Troy, a sea-monster appeared to which an oracle required that Hesione, daughter of Laomedon, should be exposed. Heracles entered the belly of the monster (Triton’s hound) and cut its insides to pieces. Laomedon had promised to give Heracles the horses of Tros as a reward for slaying the monster and when he broke his word, Heracles burnt Troy.
3. Heracles slew his children by Megara daughter of Creon.
4. Hera: Hom. Il. v. 392 f.; “second mother” because Athena tricked her into suckling him.
5. Zeus.
6. At Olympia.
7. A giant: his tomb at Olympia where as Taraxippus he causes horses to shy.
8. Scylla, whom Heracles slew because she robbed him of one of the oxen of Geryon. Her father, Phorcys, restored her to life by burning her body.
9. Persephone; tên leptunousan ta sômata tôn apothnêskontôn (schol.).
10. Nessus the Centaur, when dying by the arrow of Heracles, gave of his blood a pretended love-charm to Deianeira who smeared it with a mantle for Heracles which consumed him; cf. Soph. Tr. 555 ff.
11. Heracles, who wounded Hades at Pylus, Il. v. 395.
12. Neoptolemus.
13. The bones of Pelops were brought from Letrina near Olympia to Troy, as an oracle declared that Troy could not otherwise be taken.
14. In Elis.
15. Pelops.
16 Teutarus, Scythian who taught Heracles archery and bequeathed his bow and arrows to him. Heracles bequeathed them to Philoctetes, who with them slew Paris and enabled the Greeks to take Troy.
17. Oenone, the first wife of Paris, sent her son to guide the Greeks. When Philoctetes slew Paris with the bow which Heracles had used in the battle of the gods against the giants, Oenone threw herself upon his corpse and died with him. cf. Tennyson, Oenone.
18. Corythus, son of Oenone by Paris.
19. Cebren, father of Oenone.
20. Helen.
21. Oenone.
22. Paris.
23. Philoctetes.

[69] I mourn, twice and three times for thee who lookest again to the battle of the spear and the harrying of thy halls and the destroying fire. I mourn for thee, my country, and for the grave of Atlas’ daughter’s1 diver son,2 who of old in a stitched vessel, like an Istrian fish-creel with four legs, sheathed his body in a leathern sack and, all alone, swam like a petrel of Rheithymnia,3 leaving Zerynthos,4 cave of the goddess5 to whom dogs are slain, even Saos,6 the strong foundation of the Cyrbantes, what time the plashing rain of Zeus laid waste with deluge all the earth. And their towers were hurled to the ground, and the people set themselves to swim, seeing their final doom before their eyes. And on oat and acorn and the sweet grape browsed the whales and the dolphins and the seals that are fain of the beds of mortal men.7

1. Electra.
2. Dardanus, buried in Troy, was son of Zeus and Electra, daughter of Atlas. During the Deluge he swam from Samothrace to the Troad.
3. In North Crete.
4. In Samothrace.
5. Hecate.
6. Samothrace.
7. For the seal's affection for man cf. Aelian, N.A. iv. 56.

[86] I see the winged firebrand1 rushing to seize the dove,2 the hound of Pephnos,3 whom the water-roaming vulture brought to birth, husked in a rounded shell.4 And thee, cuckold sailor,5 the downward path of Acheron shall receive, walking no more the byres of they father’s rugged steadings, as one when thou wert arbiter of beauty for the three goddesses. But in place of stables thou shalt pass the Jaws of the Ass6 and Las,7 and instead of well-foddered crib and sheepfold and landsman’s blade a ship and oars of Phereclus8 shall carry thee to the two thoroughfares and the levels of Gytheion,9 where, on the rocks dropping the bent teeth of the pine-ship’s anchors to guard against the flood, thou shalt rest from gambols they nine-sailed10 fleet.

1. Paris.
2. Helen.
3. In Laconia.
4. Referring to Zeus and Leda, and the birth of Helen from an egg.
5 . Paris reaches Taenarum in Laconia where was a fabled entrance to Hades; passes Onugnathus and Las and through the “two thoroughfares” (entrance and exit between Cranaë and the mainland) to Gytheion.
6. Onugnathus, cape in Laconia.
7. In Laconia
8. Builder of the ships of Paris.
9. Haven near Sparta.
10. Paris sailed with nine ships (schol.).

[102] And when thou, the wolf,1 shalt have seized the unwed heifer,2 robbed of her two dove daughters3 and fallen into a second4 net of alien snares and caught by the decoy of the fowler, even while upon the beach she burns5 the firstlings of the flocks to the Thysad nymphs and the goddess Byne, then shalt thou speed past Scandeia6 and past the cape of Aegilon,7 a fierce hunter exulting in thy capture.

1. Paris.
2. Helen, who was not wedded to Paris.
3. Iphigeneia, Helen’s daughter by Theseus, and Hermione, her daughter by Menelaus.
4. Helen was first carried off by Theseus.
5. Helen was carried off by Paris when she was sacrificing to the Thysades (Thyiades) and Byne = Ino Leucothea.
6. Haven of Cythera (Il. x. 268).
7. Island between Cythera and Crete.

[109] And in the Dragon’s Isle1 of Acte,2 dominion of the twyformed son3 of earth, thou shalt put from thee thy desire; but thou4 shalt see no morrow’s aftermath of love, fondling in empty arms a chill embrace and a dreamland bed.5 For the sullen husband,6 whose spouse is Torone of Phlegra, even he to whom laughter and tears are alike abhorred and who is ignorant and reft of both; who once on a time crossed from Thrace unto the coastland which is furrowed by the outflow of Triton7; crossed not by sailing ship but by an untrodden path, like some moldwarp, boring a secret passage in the cloven earth, made his ways beneath the sea, avoiding the stranger-slaying wrestling of his sons8 and sending to his sire9 prayers which were heard, even that he should set him with returning feet in his fatherland,10 whence he had come as a wanderer to Pallenia, nurse of the earth-born – he, like Guneus,11 a doer of justice and arbiter of the Sun’s daughter of Ichnae,12 shall assail thee with evil words and rob thee of they bridal, casting thee forth in thy desire from thy wanton dove: thee who, regarding not the tombs of Lycus and Chimaereus,13 glorious in oracles, nor thy love of Antheus14 nor the pure salt of Aigaeon15 eaten by host and guest together, didst dare to sin against the gods and to overstep justice, kicking the table and overturning Themis, modeled in the ways of the she-bear16 that suckled thee.

1. Cranaë (Hom. Il. iii. 115, cf. Paus. iii. 22. 1) , where the bedding of Paris and Helen took place, is generally localized near Bytheion in Laconia. Here it is identified with the so-called Helen’s Isle near Sunium. Tzetzes took it to mean Salamis.
2. Attica.
3. Erechtheus.
4. Paris.
5. Proteus replaced the real Helen by a phantom.
6. Proteus came from his home in Egypt to Pallene (= Phlegra, Herod. viii. 123 in Chalcidice), the birth-place of the giants, where he married Torone, by whom he had two sons who slew strangers by compelling them to wrestle with them and were in the end themselves slain by Heracles. Proteus, vexed by the wickedness of his sons, besought his father Poseidon for a passage under the sea back to Egypt. On his sons’ death he could neither be sorry nor glad.
7. Nile.
8. Tmolus and Telegonus.
9. Poseidon.
10. Egypt.
11. Guneus, an Arab famous for justice, whom Semiramis made arbiter between the Phoenicians and Babylonians (schol.).
12. Themis Ichnaia, worshipped at Ichnae in Thessaly (Strabo 435).
13. Lycus and Chimaereus, sons of Prometheus and Celaeno, were buried in the Troad. The Lacedaemonians, being visited by a plague, were bidden by an oracle to “propitiate the Cronian daemons in Troy,” and Menelaus was sent to make offerings at their graves.
14. Son of Antenor, was loved by Paris who killed him unwittingly. Menelaus, being at the time in Troy, took Paris with him to Sparta to save him from punishment. Thus Paris, as guest of Menelaus, had “eaten his salt.”
15. Poseidon = Sea.
16. Paris, exposed when a child, was suckled by a she-bear.

[139] Therefore in vain shalt thou twang the noisy bowstring, making melodies that bring nor food nor fee; and in sorrow shalt thou come to thy fatherland that was burnt of old, embracing in thine arms the wraith of the five-times-married frenzied descendant of Pleuron.1 For the lame daughters2 of the ancient Sea with triple thread have decreed that her bedfellows shall share their marriage-feast among five bridegrooms.3

1. Helen, daughter of Leda, daughter of Thestius, son of Agenor, son of Pleuron.
2. The Fates – Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos, daughters of Tethys.
3. Theseus, Menelaus, Paris, Deiphobus, Achilles.

[147] Two1 shall she see as ravening wolves, winged wanton eagles of sharp eyes; the third2 sprung from root of Plynos and Carian waters, a half-Cretan barbarian, a Epeian, no genuine Argive by birth: whose grandfather3 of old Ennaia4 Hercynna Erinys Thuria, the Sword-Bearer, cut fleshless with her jaws and buried in her throat, devouring the gristle of his shoulder: his who came to youth again and escaped the grievous raping desire of the Lord5 of Ships and was sent by Erechtheus6 to Letrina’s fields to grind the smooth rock7 of Molpis8 – whose body was served as sacrifice to Rainy Zeus – that he might overcome the wooer-slayer9 by the unholy device for slaying his father-in-law which the son10 of Cadmilus devised; who drinking his last cup dived into his tomb in Nereus – the tomb11 which bears his name – crying a blighting curse upon the race; even he who held the reins of swift-footed Psylla and Harpinna12 hoofed even as the Harpies.

1. Theseus and Paris.
2. Menelaus is a descendant of Atlas (Atlas – Sterope – Oenomaus – Hippodameia – Pelops – Atreus – Menelaus) who dwells in Libya, here indicated by Plynos in Cyrenaica (Strabo 938). Carian either refers to Karikon teichos (Steph. B.) in Libya of the Carians having once dwelt in Lacedaemon (schol.) or to Minos’ dominion over the Carians. Menelaus is thus a “barbarian” and through his mother, Aerope, daughter of Catreus, son of Minos, he is “half-Cretan.” As grandson of Hippodameia he is an Epeian = Elean (Pind. O. ix. 58, x. 35).
3. Pelops was served up by his father Tantalus at a banquet to the gods, when Demeter ate part of his shoulder unwittingly. Restored to life and carried off by Poseidon (Pind. O. i. 40), he was sent by Zeus to Elis where he overcame Oenomaus in a chariot-race and won his daughter Hippodameia for his bride, after thirteen previous suitors had been slain by her father (Pind. O. i. 81 ff.). His victory was due to the treachery of Oenomaus’ charioteer Myrtilus, son of Hermes, who, when he asked Pelops for the price of his treachery, was by him hurled into the sea, which was hence called Myrtoan (Paus. viii. 14. 11), cursing with his last breath the house of Pelops.
4. Demeter: Ennaia in reference to rape of Persephone in Enna; Hercynna by-name of Demeter at Lebadeia in Boeotia; Erinys at Thelpusa in Arcadia (Callim. fr. incert. 91); Thuria = “Passionate” with grief fro her daughter (schol.); Sword-bearer, cult-name of Demeter in Boeotia (schol.).
5. Poseidon.
6. Zeus.
7. Elis or Olympia.
8. During a drought in Elis Molpis offered himself as a victim to Zeus Ombrius.
9. Oenomaus, father of Hippodameia.
10. Myrtilus, son of Cadmilus = Hermes; charioteer of Oenomaus.
11. Myrtoan Sea.
12. Psylla and Harpinna, horses of Oenomaus.

[168] The fourth1 again shall she see own brother of the swooping falcon2; him whom they shall proclaim to have won the second3 prize among his brothers in the wrestling of war. And the fifth4 she shall cause to pine upon his bed, distracted by her phantom face in his dreams; the husband to be of the stranger-frenzies lady5 of Cyta; even him whom one day the exile6 from Oenone7 fathered, turning into men the six-footed host of ants,8– the Pelasgian Typhon, out of seven sons9 consumed in the flame alone escaping the fiery ashes.

1. Deiphobus.
2. Paris.
3. i.e. next to Hector.
4. Achilles.
5. Medeia from Cyta n Phasis, married in Elysium to Achilles, cf. 798.
6. Peleus, exiled for slaying his half-brother Phocus (Pind. N. v. 12 ff.).
7. Aegina.
8. Hesiod, fr. 76 (100), tells how Aegina was populated by turning ants into men.
9. Thetis to test the immortality of her sons by Peleus put them into the fire. Six sons perished in this way. The seventh Achilles, was saved by his father.

[180] And he1 shall come upon his homeward path, raising the tawny wasps from their holds, even as a child disturbs their nest with smoke. And they in their turn shall come, sacrificing cruelty to the blustering winds the heifer2 that bare the war-named son,3 the mother that was brought to bed of the dragon of Scyrus; for whom her husband4 shall search within the Salmydesian Sea, where she cuts the throats of Greeks,5 and shall dwell for a long space in the white-crested rock6 by the outflowing of the marshy waters of the Celtic stream7; yearning for his wife whom at her slaying a hind shall rescue from the knife, offering her own throat instead.8 And the deep waste within the wash of the waves upon the beach shall be called the Chase9 of the bridegroom, mourning his ruin and his empty seafaring and her that vanished and was changed to an old witch,10 beside the sacrificial vessels and the lustral water and the bowl of Hades bubbling from the depths with flame, whereon the dark lady will blow, potting the flesh of the dead as might a cook.

1. Paris.
2. Iphigeneia.
3. Neoptolemus, here son of Achilles and Iphigeneia; called “the dragon of Scyrus” because he was reared by Deidameia, daughter of Lycomedes, king of Scyrus. In one version Deidamia is his mother.
4. Achilles.
5. Iphigeneia became priestess of Artemis Taurica in the Crimea, where she had to sacrifice Greeks who came there.
6. Island of Leuce.
7. Danube.
8. When Iphigeneia was being sacrificed at Aulis, Artemis substituted a deer for her.
9. Achilleius Dromus, a strip of land between the Dnieper and the Crimea (Herod. iv. 55).
10. Iphigeneia in Tauris.

[200] And he1 lamenting shall pace the Scythian land for some five years yearning for his bride.2 And they,3 beside the altar of the primal prophet, Cronus, who devours the callow young with their mother,4 binding themselves by the yoke of a second oath,5 shall take in their arms the strong oar, invoking him who saved them in their former woes, even Bacchus, the Overthrower, to whom the bull-god, one day in the shrine beside the cavern of Delphinius the Gainful god, the lord of a thousand ships,6 a city-sacking host, shall make secret sacrifice. And in unlooked-for requital of his offerings the god of Phigaleia, the lusty Torch-god,7 shall stay the lion8 from his banquet, entangling his foot in withes, so that he destroy not utterly the cornfield of men, nor lay it waste with tooth and devouring jaws.

1. Achilles.
2. Iphigeneia.
3. The Greeks at Aulis.
4. Hom. Il. ii. 308 ff. At the altar of Zeus in Aulis a snake devoured a sparrow with her brood of eight. Calchas interprets the omen to mean that the war against Troy will last nine years, and that the city will be taken in the tenth.
5. The earlier oath was taken by the suitors of Helen, who swore to her father, Tyndareus, to support the successful suitor.
6. Agamemnon sacrifices in Apollo’s temple at Delphi.
7. Dionysus. For his cult at Phigaleia in Elis cf. Paus. viii. 39. 4.
8. Telephus, king of Mysia who, when fighting Achilles, was tripped up by the tendrils of a vine, Dionysus thus requiting sacrifices made to him by Agamemnon at Delphi.

[216] Long since I see the coil of trailing woes dragging in the brine and hissing against my fatherland dread threats and fiery ruin. Would that in sea-girt Issa1 Cadmus2 had never begotten thee to be the guide of the foemen, fourth3 in descent from unhappy Atlas, even thee, Prylis, who didst help to overthrow thine own kindred,4 prophet most sure of best fortune!5 And would that my father6 had not spurned the nightly terrors of the oracle of Aesacus and that for the sake of my fatherland he had made away with the two in one doom, ashing their bodies with Lemnian fire.7 So had not such a flood of woes overwhelmed the land.

1. Lesbos.
2. Cadmus = Cadmilus (cf. 162) = Hermes.
3. Atlas – Maia – Hermes – Prylis, son of Issa.
4. The Trojans, related through Electra, mother of Dardanus and daughter of Atlas.
5. Prylis prophesied the taking of Troy by the Wooden Horse. That was best fortune for the Greeks. For tomouros cf. Hesych. s.v., Strabo 328.
6. Priam, whom his son Aesacus advised to kill Hecuba and Paris, because before the birth of the latter Hecuba dreamed that she had borne a fire-brand.
7. Proverbial. Lemnos through the “volcano” of Mosychlos is much associated with Hephaestus.

[229] And now Palaemon,1 to whom babes are slain, beholds the hoary Titanid bride2 of Ogenus seething with the corded gulls.3 And now two children4 are slain together with their father5 who is smitten on the collar-bone with the hard mill-stone, an omen of good beginning; those children which before escaped when cast out to death in an ark through the lying speech of the piper,6 to whom hearkened the sullen butcher7 of his children – he the gull-reared, captive of the nets of fishermen, friend of winkle and bandy sea-snail – and imprisoned his two children in a chest. And therewithal the wretch,8 who was not mindful to tell the bidding of the goddess mother but erred in forgetfulness, shall die upon his face, his breast pierced by the sword.

1. Son of Ino Leucothea, worshipped in Tenedos with sacrifices of children.
2. Tethys (the sea), wife of Ogenos = Oceanus.
3. The Greek ships reached Tenedos.
4 . Tennes and Hemithea (H. Usener, Die Sintflutsagen, pp. 90 ff.), children of Cycnus by his first wife, Procleia. His second wife, Philonome, abetted by the flute-player, Molpos, induced Cycnus to set them adrift upon the sea in an ark. Tennes, who was really a son of Apollo, came to land in the island of Leucophrys, which, after his name, was thence called Tenedos.
5. Cycnus, son of Poseidon and Calyce, slain with his children, Tennes and Hemithea, by Achilles. This was an auspicious omen for the success of the Greeks at Troy.
6. Molpos, who supported the false accusation made against Tennes by his step-mother, after the fashion of Phaedra.
7. Cycnus, who was exposed on the sea-shore by his mother, and was fed by sea-birds until he was taken by some fishermen.
8. Mnemon, who was sent by Thetis to warn Achilles not to slay Tennes. He failed to deliver his message, and Achilles in anger slew him.

[243] And now Myrina1 groans the sea-shores awaiting the snorting of horses, when the fierce wolf2 shall leap the swift leap of his Pelasgian foot upon the last beach and cause the clear spring3 to gush from the sand, opening fountains that hitherto were hidden. And now Ares, the dancer, fires the land, with his conch leading the chant of blood. And all the land lies ravaged before my eyes and, as it were fields of corn, bristle the fields of the gleaming spears. And in my ears seems a voice of lamentation from the tower tops reaching to the windless seats of air, with groaning women and rending of robes, awaiting sorrow upon sorrow.

1. In the Troad, Hom. Il. ii. 811.
2. Achilles.
3. When Achilles leapt ashore at Troy, a spring arose under his footprint, cf. 279.

[258] That woe, O my poor heart, that woe shall wound thee as a crowning sorrow, when the dusky, sworded, bright-eyed eagle1 shall rage, with his wings marking out the land – the track traced by bandied crooked steps – and, crying with his mouth his dissonant and chilly cry, shall carry aloft the dearest nursling2 of all thy brothers, dearest to thee and to his sire the Lord of Ptoön,3 and, bloodying his body with talon and beak, shall stain with gore the land, both swamp and plain, a ploughman cleaving a smooth furrow in the earth. And having slain the bull4 he5 takes the price thereof, weighed in the strict balance of the scales.6 But one day he shall for recompense pour in the scales an equal weight of the far-shining metal of Pactolus,7 and shall enter the cup of Bacchus,8 wept by the nymphs who love the clear water of Bephyras9 and the high seat of Leibethron10 above Pimpleia11; even he, the trafficker in corpses, who, fearing beforehand his doom, shall endure to do upon his body a female robe,12 handling the noisy shuttle at the loom, and shall be the last to set his foot in the land of the foe, cowering, O brother,13 even in his sleep before thy spear.

1. Achilles. The ref. is to the dragging of the body of Hector by Achilles, Hom. Il. xxii. 395 ff.
2. Hector.
3. Apollo, who, in one version, was the father of Hector. He had a famous temple on Mt. Ptoön in Boeotia. Herod. viii. 135.
4. Hector.
5. Achilles.
6. In reference to Hom. Il. xxii. 351, where Achilles says he would not give back the body of Hector for his weight in gold; hence the legend that Priam actually ransomed his body for its weight in gold, an idea which seems to have been used in the lost play of Aeschylus Phruges or Hektoros lutra, and which appears in certain vase-paintings. Cf. Robert, Bild und Lied, p. 142.
7. When Achilles was slain, his body was redeemed for an equal weight of gold from Pactolus (cf. Herod. v. 101).
8. When Dionysus was chased by Lycurgus he gave to Thetis a cup which in Naxos he had received from Hephaestus. In this were put the ashes of Achilles and Patroclus.
9. River flowing from Olympus.
10. Town on east slope of Olympus.
11. Spring in Pieria, near Olympus.
12. When Calchas prophesied that Troy could not be taken without Achilles, Thetis, knowing that if he went to Troy he must perish, disguised him as a girl in female clothes and put him in the charge of Lycomedes, king of Scyrus, with whose daughters he was reared (Apollod. iii. 174). The episode was the subject of a painting by Polygnotus (Paus. i. 22. 6).
13. Hector.

[281] O Fate, what a pillar of our house shalt thou destroy, withdrawing her mainstay from my unhappy fatherland! But not with impunity, not without bitter toil and sorrow shall the pirate Dorian host laugh exulting in the doom of the fallen; but by the sterns running life’s last lap shall they be burnt1 along with the ships of pine, calling full often to Zeus the Lord of Flight to ward off bitter fate from them who perish. In that day nor trench nor defence of naval station nor stake-terraced palisade nor cornice shall avail nor battlements. But, like bees, confused with smoke and rush of flame and hurling of brands, many a diver shall leap from deck to sternpeak and prowneck and benched seats and stain with blood the alien dust. And many chieftains, and many that bore away the choicest of the spoils won by Hellas and glories in their birth, shall thy mighty hands destroy, filled full with blood and eager for battle. But not the less sorrow shall I bear, bewailing, yea, all my life long, thy burial. For pitiful, pitiful shall that day be for mine eyes and crown of all my woes that Time, wheeling the moon’s orb, shall be said to bring to pass.

1. The reference is to the burning of the Greek ships by the Trojans, Il. xv. 704 ff.

[307] Ay! me, for they fair-fostered flower,1,too, I groan, O lion whelp, sweet darling of thy kindred, who didst smite with fiery charm of shafts the fierce dragon2 and seize for a little loveless while in unescapable noose him that was smitten, thyself unwounded by thy victim: thou shalt forfeit thy head and stain thy father’s3 altar-tomb with thy blood.

1. Troilus, youngest son of Priam, loved by Achilles and by him slain at the altar of Apollo Thymbraeus (Stat. S. ii. 6. 32).
2. Achilles.
3. Apollo of Thymbra, whose son, in one version, Troilus was.

[314] O, me unhappy! the two nightingales1 and they fate, poor hound,2 I weep. One3, root and branch, the dust that gave her birth shall, yawning, swallow in a secret cleft, when she sees the approaching feet of lamentable doom, even where her ancestor’s4 grove is, and where the groundling heifer5 of secret bridal lies in one tomb with her whelp,6 ere ever it drew the sweet milk and ere she cleansed her with fresh water from the soilure of childbed. And thee7 to cruel bridal and marriage sacrifice the sullen lion,8 child of Iphis,9 shall lead, imitating his dark mother’s lustrations; over the deep pail the dread butcherly dragon shall cut thy throat, as it were a garlanded heifer, and slay thee with the thrice-descended sword of Candaon,10 shedding for the wolves the blood of the first oath-sacrifice. And thee,11 again, an aged captive by the hollow strand, stoned by the public arm of the Doloncians, roused thereto by the railing curses, a robe shall cover with a rain of stones,12 when thou shalt put on thee sable-tailed form of Maira.13

1. Laodice and Polyxena, sisters of Cassandra.
2. Hecuba.
3. Laodice, on the capture of Troy, was swallowed up by the earth near the tomb of Ilos (Apollod. epit. v. 25).
4. Ilos, Il. xi. 166.
5. Cilla was sister of Hecuba and wife of Thymoets, brother of Priam. On he same day Hecuba gave birth to Paris and Cilla to Munippus, the father being Priam. When told by an oracle to destroy “her who had just given birth and her child” Priam killed Cilla and her child.
6. Munippus.
7. Polyxena, sacrificed by Neoptolemus at the grave of Achilles.
8. Neoptolemus.
9. Iphigeneia, mother, in one version, of Neoptolemus by Achilles.
10. Candaon here = Hephaestus, who gave the sword to Peleus, he to Neoptolemus. This seems to refer the lines to the sacrifice of Polyxena. Otherwise it would be natural to refer ên to Iphigeneia. horkion schasas: cf. Homer's horkia pista tamontes (Il. iii. 73 etc.). Poimandria is another name for Tanagra in Boeotia, and tanagra is an aggeion chalkoun en ô êrtuon ta klea (Hesych. s.v.); hence the use of poimandria = aggeion, in Lycophron's manner.
11. Hecuba.
12. Hecuba is stoned to death.
13. Maira, the hound of Erigone; here hound generally; Hecuba was turned into a hound; cf. 215.

[335] And he,1 slain beside the altar tomb of Agamemnon,2 shall deck the pedestal with his grey locks – even he who, a poor prisoner ransomed for his sister’s3 veil, came to his country devastated with fire, and shrouded in dim darkness his former name4 – what time the fierce-crested serpent,5 seller of the land that bred him, kindles the grievous torch and draws the belly-bands and lets slip the travailing terrible ambush,6 and when the own cousin7 of the crafty reynard, son8 of Sisyphus, lights his evil beacon for them who sailed away to narrow Leucophrys9 and the two islands10 of child-devouring Porceus.11

1. Priam was slain by Neoptolemus at the altar of Zeus Herceius.
2. i.e. Zeus-Agamemnon.
3. Hesione.
4. Podarces, the earlier name of Priam. When captured by Heracles and Telamon, Hesione purchased (epriato) his life with her veil. Hence his name Priamus.
5. Antenor, said to have been a traitor to Troy.
6. The wooden horse.
7. Sinon.
8. Odysseus.
9. Tenedos.
10. Calydnae.
11. Porceus and Chariboea, the snakes which came from Calydnae and killed Laocoön and his sons. For a discussion of the story see Rober, Bild und Lied (Berlin 1881), Excursus I.

[348] And I, unhappy, who refused wedlock, within the building of my stony maiden chamber without ceiling, hiding my body in the unroofed tenement of my dark prison: I who spurned from my maiden bed the god Thoraios,1 Lord of Ptoön, Ruler of the Seasons, as one who had taken eternal maidenhood for my portion to uttermost old age, in imitation of her who abhors marriage, even Pallas, Driver of the Spoil, the Wardress of the Gates – in that day, as a dove, to the eyrie of the vulture,2 in frenzy shall be haled violently in crooked talons, I who often invoked the Maiden,3 Yoker of Oxen, the Sea-gull, to help and defend me from marriage. And she unto the ceiling of her shrine carven of wood shall turn up her eyes and be angry with the host, even she that fell from heaven and the throne of Zeus, to be a possession most precious to my great grandfather4 the King. And for the sin of one man5 all Hellas shall mourn the empty tombs of ten thousand children – not in receptacles of bones, but perched on rocks, nor hiding in urns the embalmed last ashes from the fire, as is the ritual of the dead, but a piteous name and legends on empty cairns, bathed with the burning tears of parents and of children and mourning of wives.

1. Apollo.
2. Aias Oiliades, the Locrian Aias.
3. Athena. Sea-gull as goddess of sea-faring (Paus. i. 5. 3).
4. i.e. the Palladium, heaven-fallen image of Athena.
5. Ilus.
6. Aias Oiliades.

[373] O Opheltes1 and Zarax,1 who keepest the secret places of the rocks, and yet cliffs, the Trychantes,1 and rugged Nedon,1 and all ye pits of Dirphossus1 and Diacria,1 and thou haunt of Phorcys!2 what groaning shall ye hear of corpses cast up with decks broken in twain, and what tumult of the surge that may not be escaped, when the foaming water drags men backward in its swirling tides! And how many tunnies with the sutures of their heads split upon the frying-pan! of whom the down-rushing thunderbolt in the darkness shall eat as they perish: when the destroyer3 shall lead them, their heads yet arching from the debauch, and light a torch to guide their feet in the darkness, sitting at his unsleeping art.

1. Hills in Euboea, in reference to wreck of Greeks on coast of Euboea on way home from Troy.
2. Coast of Euboea; Phorcys, the old man of the sea.
3. Nauplius, king of Euboea, who, in revenge for the death of his son Palamedes, whom the Greeks stoned to death on a charge of treason, lured the Greeks on their way from Troy upon the rocks of Euboea.

[387] And one,1 like a diving kingfisher, the wave shall carry through the narrow strait, a naked glutton-fish swept between the double reefs. And on the Gyrae2 rocks drying his feathers dripping from the sea, he shall drain a second draught of the brine, hurled from the banks by the three-taloned spear, wherewith this dread punisher,3 that once was a thrall,4 shall smite him and compel him to run his race among the whales, blustering, like a cuckoo, his wild words of abuse. And his chilly dolphin’s dead body cast upon the shore the rays of Seirius shall wither. And, rotten mummy-fish, among moss and seaweed Nesaia’s sister5 shall hide him for pity, she that was the helper6 of the most mighty Quoit,7 the Lord of Cynaetha. And his tomb beside the Quail8 that was turned to stone shall trembling watch the surge of the Aegean sea. And bitter in Hades he shall abuse with evil taunts the goddess9 of Castnion and Melina, who shall entrap him in the unescapable meshes of desire, in a love that is no love but springing for him the bitter death-drawing snare of the Erinyes.

1. Aias Oiliades, the Locrian, wrecked by Poseidon on the Gyrae.
2. Cliffs near Myconos and Tenos, where the Locrian Aias was saved after his shipwreck.
3. Poseidon.
4. Poseidon as servant of Laomedon, in building the walls of Troy.
5. Thetis.
6. Hom. Il. i. 396 ff.
7. Zeus in reference to his being swallowed by Cronus. For worship of Zeus at Cynaetha in Arcadia cf. Paus. v. 22. 1.
8. Ortygia = Delos, where the Locrian Aias was buried.
9. Aphrodite.

[408] And woes of lamentation shall the whole land1 hear – all that Aratthos2 and the impassable Leibethrian gates3 of Dotion4 enclose: by all these, yea, even by the shore of Acheron,5 my bridal shall long be mourned. For in the maws of many sea-monsters shall be entombed the countless swarm devoured by their jaws with many rows of teeth; while others, strangers in a strange land, bereft of relatives, shall receive their graves.

1. Greece, especially North Hellas.
2. River of Ambracia.
3. Near Olympus.
4. In Thessaly.
5. Thesprotia.

[417] For one1 Bisaltian Eion by the Strymon, close marching with the Apsynthians and Bistonians, nigh to the Edonians, shall hide, the old nurse of youth, wrinkled as a crab, ere ever he behold Tymphrestus’ crag2: even him who of all men was most hated by his father,3 who pierced the lamps of his eyes and made him blind, when he entered the dove’s4 bastard bed.

1. Phoenix, tutor of Achilles (Hom. Il. ix. 432 ff.). Died on his way home from Troy and was buried at Eion.
2. In Thessaly.
3. Amyntor who, from jealousy of Clytia and his son Phoenix, put out the latter’s eyes (Apollod. ii. 13. 8).
4. Clytia.

[424] And three1 sea-gulls the glades of Cercaphus shall entomb, not far from the waters of Aleis: one2 the swan of Molossus Cypeus Coetus,3 who failed to guess the number of the brood-sow’s young, when, dragging his rival4 into the cunning contest of the wild figs, himself, as the oracle foretold, shall err and sleep the destined sleep; the next,5 again, fourth in descent from Erechtheus,6 own brother of Aethon7 in the fictitious tale; and third,8 the son of him that with stern mattock ploughed the wooden walls of the Ectenes,9 whom Gongylates,10 the Counsellor, the Miller, slew and brake his head in pieces with his curse-expelling lash, what time the maiden daughters of Night11 armed them that were the brothers12 of their own father13 for the lust of doom dealt by mutual hands.

1. Calchas, Idomeneus, Sthenelus, all buried at foot of Cercaphus near Colophon.
2. Calchas, the prophet, hence the swan of Apollo (here indicated by three obscure cult-named), was warned that he should die when he met a superior prophet. Meeting Mopsus, Calchas proposed the problem of telling how many figs there were on a certain fig-tree. Mopsus answered correctly, and in turn asked Calchas to foretell how many young a certain brood of sow would throw. Unable to answer Calchas died of grief.
3. Apollo.
4. Mopsus.
5. Idomeneus, son of Deucalion, son of Minos, son of Zeus, came safely home to Crete but afterwards went to Italy and finally Colophon (Serv., Verg. A. iii. 401). In the Od. l.c. Odysseus pretends to be Aethon, brother of Idomeneus.
6. Zeus.
7. Homer, Od. xix. 191 ff.
8. Sthenelus, son of Capaneus. The latter was one of the Epigoni against Thebes (Ectenes = Thebans, cf. Paus. ix. 5. 1), who boasted that he would take the town in spite of Zeus (Aesch. Sept. 440), and was slain by a thunderbolt.
9. Thebans
10. Zeus. For Zeus Boulaios cf. Paus. i. 3. 5.
11. Erinyes.
12. Eteocles and Polyneices, at once sons and brothers of Oedipus.
13. Oedipus.

[439] And two1 by the mouth of the streams of Pyramus,2 hounds of Deraenus,3 shall be slain by mutual slaughter, and fight their last battle at the foot of the towers of the daughter4 of Pamphylus. And a steep sea-bitten fortress, even Mabarsus, shall stand between their holy cairns, so that even when they have gone down to the habitations of the dead, they may not behold each other’s tombs, bathed in blood.

1. Amphilochus and Mopsus: as prophets they are called hounds of Apollo. When Amphilochus wished to visit Argos, the home of his father Amphiaraus, he entrusted the town of Mallos in Cilicia, which they had jointly founded, to Mopsus for one year. As on his return Mopsus refused him his share in the town, they fought a duel in which both fell. They were buried on opposite sides of Magarsus, a hill near Mallos.
2. In Cilicia.
3. Apollo: cult name from Deraenus near Abdera.
4. Magarsus, foundress of Magarsus in Cilicia.

[446] And five1 shall come to the Horned Isle2 of Wasps and Satrachus3 and the land of Hylates,4 and dwell beside Morpho5 the Lady of Zerynthus.

1. Teucer, Agapenor, Acamas, Praxandrus, Cepheus.
2. Cyprus.
3. River in Cyprus.
4. Apollo. For Apollo Hylates cf. inscription from Egypt (probably Kuft) of third century B.C. Dittenb. Orient. Graec. Inscrip. Select. No. 53 Apollôni Pslatêi Artemidi Phôsphrôi Artemidi Enodiai Lêtoi Euteknôi Heraklei Kallinikôi Apollônios dioikêtês. This specially Cyprian by-name was found also near Magnesia on the Maeander (Paus. x. 32. 6).
5. Aphrodite: cf. Paus. iii. 15. 10.

[450] One1 shall be he that shall be banished by his father’s2 taunts from the cave of Cychreus3 and the waters of Bocarus4; even he my cousin,5 as a bastard breed, the ruin of his kin, the murderer of the colt6 begotten by the same father; of him who spent his sworded frenzy on the herds; whom the hide of the lion7 made invulnerable by the bronze in battle and who possessed but one8 path to Hades and the dead – that which the Scythian quiver covered, what time the lion,9 burning sacrifice to Comyrus,10 uttered to his sire his prayer that was heard, while he dandled in his arms his comrade’s cub. For he11 shall not persuade his father12 that the Lemnian thunderbolt13 of Enyo – he the sullen bull that never turned to flee – smote his own bowels with the gift of his bitterest foe,14 diving in sorrowful leap on the sword’s edge in self-wrought slaughter. Far from his fatherland his sire shall drive Trambelus’15 brother, whom my father’s16 sister17 bare, when she has given to him18 who razed the towers as first-fruits of the spear. She it was that the babbler,19 the father of three daughters, standing up in the council of his townsmen, urged should be offered as dark banquet for the grey hound,20 which with briny water was turning all the land to mud, spewing waves from his jaws and with fierce surge flooding all the ground. But, in place of the woodpecker,21 he swallowed in his throat a scorpion22 and bewailed to Phorcus23 the burden of his evil travail, seeking to find counsel in his pain.

1. Teucer, son of Telamon and Hesione, daughter of Laomedon, was banished from Salamis by his father when he returned from Troy without Aias.
2. Telamon.
3. Prehistoric king of Salamis.
4. River in Salamis.
5. Hesione was sister of Priam.
6. Aias.
7. Heracles’ lion-skin (Pind. I. 5 (6)).
8. Aias was vulnerable in one part only (Plato, Symp. 219 E)viz. his side. The story followed that when Aias was an infant Heracles wrapped him in his lion’s skin, and prayed to Zeus that the child might be invulnerable where the lion’s skin touched him. The quiver of Heracles prevented the skin from touching him at once place, where he was therefore vulnerable. For another version cf. Pind. Isth. v. (vi.).
9. Heracles.
10. Zeus.
11. Teucer.
12. Telamon.
13. Aias, son of Telamon.
14. Hector’s sword (Soph. Aj. 815 ff.).
15. Son of Telamon and Hesione, and so brother of Teucer.
16. Priam.
17. Hesione.
18. Telamon.
19. Phoenodamas, whom Laomedon asked to expose his three daughters to the sea-monster.
20. Sea-monster sent by Poseidon when Laomedon refused to pay him for building the walls of Troy.
21. Hesione: “woodpecker” merely contrasts the feebleness of Hesione with the scorpion, Heracles.
22. Heracles: cf. 34 n.
23. A sea-god, son of Pontus and Gaia.

[478] The second1 who comes to the island is a country-man and a landsman, feeding on simple food, one of the sons2 of the oak, the wolf-shaped devourers of the flesh of Nyctimus,3 a people that were before the moon,4 and who in the height of winter heated in the ashes of the fire their staple of oaken bread; he shall dig for copper5 and from the trench drag the soil, mining with mattock every pit. His father6 the tusk7 of Oeta slew, crushing his body in the regions of the belly. In sorrow, wretched man, he learnt the truth of the saying that the all-devising fate of men rolls many a thing betwixt the life and the draught of the cup.8 That same tusk, all flecked with glistening foam, when he had fallen took vengeance on his slayer, smiting with unescapable blow the dancer’s ankle-bone.

1. Agapenor from Arcadia.
2. Arcadians.
3. Son of Lycaon, king of Arcadia, who was slain and served as food by his father to Zeus, who was Lycaon’s guest. Zeus turned Lycaon and his sons into wolves.
4. i.e. the primeval antiquity (Apoll. Rh. iv. 264).
5. Copper mines of Cyprus.
6. Ancaeus.
7. The Calydonian Boar.
8. Two Ancaei are known to mythology – Ancaeus of Arcadia and Ancaeus of Samos. Of the latter – who is often confused with the other – it is told that when planting a vine it was prophesied that he would never taste its fruit. Just when he was about to drink the wine of its grapes, there came the news of the Calydonian Boar. He went to the hunt and was killed. Hence proverb: polla metazu pelei kulikos kai cheileos akrou. He is the “dancer” (493) either as a warrior or in reference to Hom. Il. xvi. 745 (Holzinger).